The Indian Express | 3 weeks ago | 12-06-2022 | 05:50 am
Francis Barraud, a native of Liverpool and a painter, had a brother named Mark. Mark died. Francis inherited a cylinder phonograph player, recordings of Mark’s voice and Mark’s fox terrier named Nipper. When Francis played the records, the dog would run over to the phonograph and listen intently with a confused look about where the voice came from. Francis painted the scene and called it “His Master’s Voice”. The Gramophone Company bought the painting in 1899 for £100. The logo became so popular that, eight years later, the company changed its name to HMV. Nipper was immortalised with his own blue plaque in London in 2014.Not FringeLast week, when I read that two spokespersons of the BJP had been subjected to disciplinary action (Ms Nupur Sharma was suspended and Mr Naveen Kumar was expelled from the party), I remembered the story of Nipper. Without meaning any disrespect, let me refer to the duo hereafter as Nupur and Naveen. On June 5, Nupur received a letter that began with the words, “You have expressed views contrary to the party’s position on various matters”. It left me wondering what is the BJP’s position on matters concerning Muslims and Christians who are citizens of India?Nupur and Naveen are loyal foot soldiers of the BJP and they listen to their leaders intently. Like many of you, Nupur and Naveen observe, read and listen. For example, in the 2012 election campaign in Gujarat, they heard Mr Narendra Modi say, “If we raise the self-respect and morale of 50 million Gujaratis, the schemes of Alis, Malis and Jamalis will not be able to do us any harm.” They would have wondered who were the Alis, Malis and Jamalis, who are the “us” and why would the Alis, Malis and Jamalis draw up schemes that would harm “us”?Memorable WordsIn the 2017 elections to the UP state legislature, the Prime Minister summed up his view of sabka saath, sabka viswas in a memorable speech: “If you create a kabristan (burial ground) in a village, then a shamsan (cremation ground) should be created. There should be no discrimination.” The words must have left a deep impression on Nupur and Naveen.🚨 Limited Time Offer | Express Premium with ad-lite for just Rs 2/ day 👉🏽 Click here to subscribe 🚨They heard the words of Mr Amit Shah on 11 April 2019. He said: “We will ensure implementation of NRC in the entire country. We will remove every single infiltrator from the country, except the Buddhists, Hindus and Sikhs… The BJP’s pledge is to get rid of the infiltrators… The illegal immigrants are like termites. They are eating the grain that should go to the poor, they are taking our jobs.” Nupur and Nareen must have been convinced that these were the right words uttered by the right person in the right place.On 15 December 2019, at an election rally in Jharkhand, the Prime Minister said that the people “creating trouble” were “identifiable by their clothes”. Nupur and Naveen probably listened to that speech; and may have resolved to identify people by their clothes.During the campaign in the elections to the UP legislative assembly, Mr Adityanath, the Chief Minister, repeatedly said, “The contest has moved much ahead. The fight is now 80 versus 20.” Nupur and Naveen must have heard these words and it must have been burnt into their consciousness that the “20 per cent” was the enemy.No one is in doubt about the BJP’s position on Muslims that can be traced to M S Golwalkar (‘Guruji’ in the RSS). Muslims are not wanted in India or in India’s Parliament and legislatures. Of the 375 BJP MPs in both Houses of Parliament, there will not be a single Muslim MP by the end of this month. The BJP did not field a single Muslim candidate in the elections to the 403-member UP assembly or the 182-member Gujarat assembly. In 11 states with a BJP chief minister, there is one Muslim minister. There has not been a Muslim as election commissioner in the ECI since Mr S Y Quaraishi retired in June 2012. The list is long.In my view, Ms Nupur Sharma and Mr Naveen Kumar faithfully reflected the positions of the BJP on various matters. They listened to the Master’s voice and spoke in their own way. The BJP is modern India’s The Gramophone Company.Deaf Ear won’t work The Opposition, including the Congress, had repeatedly warned the BJP and the government of the consequences of its anti-minority policies and phobia. They had warned the government on the anti-Romeo squads, the love jihad campaign, CAA, NRC, the abrogation of Article 370, the anti-conversion Bills in state legislatures, the raking up of non-issues like hijab, halal and aazaan, the Uniform Civil Code and many other issues that are clearly Islamophobic. The government turned a deaf ear. Now, when UAE and 15 other countries condemned the utterances of the BJP’s spokespersons, the government is scrambling its defences. The heavy artillery of the Foreign Minister has been withdrawn and the deft draftsmanship of the Foreign Secretary brought into play.The sad truth is that the Prime Minister has not uttered a word of condemnation. He thinks that he can ride this storm too. And life will go on. Truth is, political life will not go on in India to the exclusion of 202 million Muslims. This time, it is not the Opposition, but the world that has forewarned Mr Modi.
GANDHINAGAR: Flagging off the Vande Gujarat Vikas Yatra showcasing the achievements of the government over the past 20 years, chief minister Bhupendra Patel said on Tuesday that development and trust have become synonyms in governance of the state over the past two decades. For a fortnight between July 5 and 19, 82 decorated trucks will pass through eight big cities and all 33 districts where about 2,500 events will be organized. The government will educate people about the welfare schemes that can be availed of, a CMO statement said. At the inaugural function at Sabarmati riverfront, CM Patel said that BJP governments over the past 20 years have delivered on the promises they have made to the people. “Vikas (development) and Vishwas (trust) have become synonyms in Gujarat. BJP governments have consistently pursued development in the state and the people have repeatedly shown their trust by voting BJP to power,” the CM stated. Ministers will visit different districts over the next fortnight and about 2,500 development works will either be inaugurated, or their foundation stones laid, the CM said at the meeting. The CM listed various successful projects implemented in the state over the past 20 years.
Ahmedabad: A man who has filed a petition in the Gujarat high court seeking the proper regulation of slaughterhouses in the state has pointed out to what he says is a discrepancy in the number of licences issued. He said the state government claims to have granted licences to 12 slaughterhouses. But, he said, the animal husbandry department’s documents reveal that 354 food and safety licences have been issued to slaughterhouses dealing with large and small animals and poultry. In his response to the department’s reply to his PIL, the petitioner, Dharmendra Fofani of Banaskantha district, has drawn the HC’s attention to the fact that the state government has 344 registered units, and three state licences and seven central licences have been issued to slaughterhouses under the provisions of the Food Safety and Standards Act. The petitioner has said that the government’s affidavits — filed by the animal husbandry department and the Gujarat Pollution Control Board — are silent on the appointment of eminent persons for monitoring and managing slaughterhouses in districts. He said there is no word either on the non-formation of district-level committees as directed in January 2014 by the state-level committee. The state government had submitted that if any irregularity is pointed out by the petitioner, its departments will take prompt action for the proper regulation of slaughterhouses.In his PIL filed last year, Fofani had sought the HC’s directions to the government to close down slaughterhouses, meat shops, and hotels that are functioning in violation of the provisions of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act and other related laws.
NEW DELHI: The Centre is facing an uneasy situation as three BJP-ruled states — Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh — have demanded the restoration of wheat allocation to them under the national food security scheme, NFSA. The demands have been made at a time when the Centre is struggling to somehow meet the mandatory stocking norms for wheat as on October 1 and March 2023. Following a record fall in wheat procurement, the Centre on May 14 had reduced wheat allocation under the National Food Security Act (NFSA) by nearly 40% for 10 states, including these three, to tide over any shortage while claiming that the decision was taken after “consultation with state governments”. For the Centre, yielding to the demands would be almost impossible as the total stock with the Food Corporation of India on October 1 is estimated to be barely 12 lakh tonnes more than what it requires to maintain as buffer stock. The surplus stock would be similar on April 1, 2023. While the MP government wrote to the food ministry last month seeking to restore its original wheat quota as it’s an important part of the state’s staple diet, food ministers from UP and Gujarat made similar demands on Tuesday at the food ministers summit chaired by Union minister Piyush Goyal. Gujarat minister Nareshbhai Patel said, “In areas like Saurashtra and north Gujarat, people prefer wheat to rice. We request the government to increase the wheat allocation.” His UP counterpart Satish Chandra Sharma said people in western UP are complaining against the increased allocation of rice. “It will be a great favour if the Centre can accept our demand to restore the allocation,” he said. Goyal, in his address, did not refer to these issues. Both the states have written to the Centre seeking change in wheat allocation. Office said while before May 14, each NFSA beneficiary in Gujarat was getting 3.5 kg wheat and 1.5 kg rice under the food security scheme, now they are 2kg wheat and 3kg rice. “We have requested that there should be 3kg wheat and 2kg rice. We expect the government will approve this,” said an official. Similarly, in UP, each beneficiary is currently getting 2kg wheat and 3kg rice while earlier the ratio was 3kg wheat and 2kg rice. The state has sought the Centre to follow the old norm. A food ministry official said there is hardly any room left for accommodating these demands. “When the states could not procure wheat, how can they expect us to allocate?” he asked.
More than 600 workers of the Congress, Aam Aadmi Party and Bharatiya Tribal Party (BTP) from Dahod, Narmada, Chhota Udepur and Vadodara districts joined the BJP Tuesday at Gandhinagar in the presence of Gujarat BJP President CR Paatil.Dahod, which saw over 400 workers from the Congress and a few from AAP and BTP, also had eight councillors from the Jhalod Municipality, including President Sonal Dindor from the Congress, jump over to the BJP.The others include Dala Vasaiya, Khuman Mansinh Damor, Parsinh Damor and independent councillors Bhavesh Katara, Sukhram Milwad, Zakir Kanuga and Shankar Katara, among others. Dindor and Vasaiya were among the Congress councillors who had, in August 2020, voted in favour of the BJP in the election to Jhalod Municipality’s Presidential post, thus causing a furore. Soon, as Jhalod BJP President Hiren Patel was killed in an alleged case of contract killing, Dindor and Vasaiya submitted a memorandum to the district police citing ” threat to life”.A senior BJP leader said, “The party has welcomed strong workers to the fold… This is not just in preparation for the upcoming Assembly polls but also because it allows the BJP to strengthen its ground in these tribal districts, especially Narmada, Dahod and Chhota Udepur, where the Congress has traditionally been on a strong foot. Although the 2021 local body polls were in favour of the BJP in the districts, it will bring a major impact in the Assembly elections to have these strong leaders into the fold.”Additionally, Dahod Taluka Congress president Suresh Baka-liya as well as former General Secr-etary of Youth Congress Nikunj Meda and Vice-President of Dahod district Congress Mitesh Yadav joined the BJP. Valsinh Munia, son of former Congress MLA Virji Munia, along with Sanjeli Sarpanch Mavji Rawat , Singwad taluka Congress member Dipak Parmar and Veena Bhuriya from Garbada also joined the BJP.AAP leader Dhavalsinh Bhuriya as well as BTP President of Dahod Ajay Katara along with leader Nilesh Bamaniya joined the BJP. Nazimuddin Gangardiwala of the Congress city unit also joined the BJP. He even replaced his skull cap with the new saffron topi of the party at the event. Another leader, Sabur Sultan Tadvi, also joined the BJP.In Chhota Udepur, district Congress President Umesh Shah, along with his brother and President of Chhota Udepur Traders’ association, Dipesh Shah, joined the BJP. Former Congress district president Yashpal Rathwa, also the director of APMC, also joined the BJP. From Vadodara, former MS University senate member and trader Bipin Patel, Hitendra Gohil, Sandeep Bhagat, Wasim Malik (Sarpanch of Kia), Indravadan Bhagat and Sudha Patel from Kandari joined the BJP.Membership songGujarat BJP Tuesday launched a song prepared for its membership enrolment drive. The Gujarati song hails the party and its current top leadership.
Pointing out that the two Vande Bharat trains launched in 2019 have travelled 14 lakh kilometres and “proven” themselves, Union Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw Tuesday said the Indian Railways will launch an upgraded second version of the semi-high-speed trains in August 2022.Interacting with media persons at the Entrepreneurship Development Institute of India (EDII) at Gandhinagar, the minister said, “The plan for Vande Bharat trains were given by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2017 and the first two trains started operating in 2019. So far, both the trains have travelled 14 lakh kilometres… Last year, 75 more trains have been approved that are under production.”The Indian Railways operates Vande Bharat Express from New Delhi to Varanasi and from New Delhi to Shri Mata Vaishnodevi Katra.Adding that the second and third versions of Vande Bharat trains will use better technology, Vaishnaw said the Vande Bharat trains currently run at 160 kilometres per hour and the second version will touch 180 kilometres per hour and the third version of the train will travel at 220 kilometres per hour.“We will start the roll out of Vande Bharat-2 train or the second version of the trains in August 2022,” he said adding that five-six trains will be rolled out every month after the launch. “The second version of Vande Bharat will have air springs (between the coach and the wheels) and will improve the ride quality manifold,” Vaishnaw added.The minister said once the first batch of 75 Vande Bharat trains are launched, the Indian Railways will launch more. “Of the proposed 400 trains, about 250 will be the second version of Vande Bharat trains and then the third version will introduced,” he added.The Railway minister who was at EDII for an interaction on start-ups said Vande Bharat trains will be operated on new routes and in some places, it will replace existing trains. “Bullet train takes 55 seconds to reach from 0-100 kilometers per hour. A similar technology has been ised in these trains and it has been designed in India. It takes only 54 seconds to reach from.0-100 kms per hour. It has a good acceleration. Its shock absorbers are also very good,” he added.Bullet train projectTalking about the bullet train project, Vaishnaw said the project will pick up speed with a new government in Maharashtra. “The earlier government in Maharashtra was not in favour of this project. But now that people have changed the government, the progress will happen,” he added.“Good progress is being made in the bullet train project. So far, pillars on 70 kilometres of the route on Vapi-Ahmedabad section, have been built. The work on this section began first, as we got the land. Foundations for pillars have been laid on 160 kilometres in this section,” he said work on the 8-9 bridges and stations were also under way.“The first bullet train section from Surat to Billimora is targeted to become operation by 2026. The first bullet train section made by China was 113 kilometres between Beijing and Tianjing. Our section between Ahmedabad and Vapi is 352 kilometres,” he said.Station redevelopmentThe minister said a masterplan for developing 370 stations have been made and tenders for 45 stations have been issued. He said the learnings from the pilot projects for station redevelopment at Gandhinagar, Bhopal and Bengaluru have been incorporated into new redevelopment. Surat, Ahmedabad, Vadodara, Navsari, Rajkot, Vapi, Bharuch, Bilimora, Anand, Nadiad, Ankleshwar, Udhana, Gandhidham, Palanpur, Jamnagar and New Bhuj will be the 16 stations that will be redeveloped in Gujarat. Apart from this, a new station building has been constructed at Vadnagar station and Chhayapuri is being developed as a new satellite station near Vadodara.The railway minister also said that tenders for installing ingenious anti-collision device “Kavach” have been issued for 3,000 kilometres of railway tracks.