The Indian Express | 2 weeks ago | 18-06-2022 | 10:50 pm
◾ Taking yet another step to quell the growing anger among Armed Forces aspirants against the new Agnipath recruitment policy, Home Minister Amit Shah today announced that there will be a ten per cent quota in the Central Armed Police Forces and Assam Rifles across the country for the Agniveers. Meanwhile, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh held a meeting with the chiefs of the three services. There was no official statement about the meeting. However, the Defence Ministry too announced 10 per cent reservation in jobs in the ministry and in the Defence Public Sector Undertakings for Agniveers.◾ As the protests intensified, several Opposition parties as well as the BJP’s biggest ally, the JD(U), has been vocal in its reservations about Agnipath. Congress president Sonia Gandhi termed the scheme “completely directionless”, and appealed to people to engage in peaceful protests. However, the ruling BJP has defended the scheme, urging students not to be “deceived”. In an interview with The Indian Express, BJP’s national spokesperson Guru Prakash Paswan denied rollback of the plan, saying it came up after due consultation with all stakeholders.◾ Ahead of the Presidential elections next month, the Opposition parties are trying to zero in on a consensus candidate for the polls, but without success so far. After Sharad Pawar, National Conference president and former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Farooq Abdullah has declined to be the joint Opposition’s presidential candidate, saying that the Union Territory needs him to “help navigate these uncertain times”. Abdullah said he was “very grateful to Mamata didi (Mamata Banerjee) for proposing my name,” but “I have a lot more active politics ahead of me and look forward to making a positive contribution in the service of J&K and the country.”◾ In the world of crypto, Bitcoin dropped below $20,000 on Saturday to its lowest level in 18 months, extending its slide as investors pull back from riskier assets amid rising interest rates. As the cryptocurrency market is plunging to a new low every day and countries are trying different approaches to regulate digital assets, know how crypto tax works in India and countries across the world, in this week’s ‘Crypto Knight’ column.◾ India’s experimentations with fertility control programmes dates back to the period preceding its Independence. In fact, it was one of the first countries to introduce an official programme of birth control intended to reduce the rate of population growth, but to this day the relative population size and fertility rates remain a contentious issue in electoral politics. In July 2019, a Population Regulation Bill, proposing to introduce a two-child policy per couple, was introduced in the Rajya Sabha. However, the Bill was withdrawn earlier this year following intervention by the Union health minister Mansukh Mandaviya. So does India need a population policy? Experts discuss in this week’s #ExpressResearch.◾ Weekend is here and so are the movie reviews! This week we review Shilpa Shetty’s comeback film Nikamma, Chris Evans’ Lightyear, Cooper Raiff’s Cha Cha Real Smooth, and Sai Pallavi’s Virata Parvam.Political Pulse◾ For the June 23 Rampur Lok Sabha bypoll, the BJP is banking on the Yogi Adityanath government’s policies and development work. But it faces an uphill battle in a constituency that is considered the bastion of Samajwadi Party leader Azam Khan. Though a former Congress MLA from Rampur is also backing the BJP candidate in the bypoll, which became necessary after Azam vacated the seat following his election to the UP Assembly in March, it may not be enough. Asad Rehman reports.◾ Days after the setback of the Rajya Sabha polls, when the BJP cocked a snook at the Shiv Sena by winning the crucial sixth seat, and with a couple of days left for the June 20 elections to the Maharashtra Legislative Council polls, the lack of coordination within the Maha Vikas Aghadi is all too evident with each party working separately to secure its vote bank. With the Sena and NCP set to get the numbers to see their candidates through, the fight is likely to boil down to the Congress and the BJP. Read Shubhangi Khapre’s report.Express Explained◾ The European Commission, the executive arm of the European Union, on Friday recommended that Ukraine be formally granted candidate status in the EU, the first step in the long journey to become a member state of the bloc. The announcement by EU President Ursula von der Leyen came a day after representatives of France, Germany, and Italy, the most powerful member states of the organisation, visited Kyiv for the first time, where they backed Ukraine’s bid to join the bloc. What happens with Ukraine’s application hereon? What is the process of joining the EU? Read here.◾ On many occasions during the trial, it seemed that Amber Heard, who lost the defence case against ex-spouse Johnny Depp’s defamation suit, was expected to be the perfect victim. When survivors open up about sexual assault or domestic violence, one of their biggest fears is that they would not live up to the expectations of “perfect victimhood”. It is a major reason why survivors do not come forward and seek legal help, and one of the biggest myths about sexual violence. What does the term mean? How does perfect victimhood affect survivors? Read here.Weekend Reads◾ Hues of Khurja: The heritage and changing trends of pottery in the ceramic city◾ In Chamor, Sheba Jose looks at the world through a child’s eyes◾ Each poem in The Penguin Book of Indian Poets is history recorded in a language of one’s own◾ Know Your City: How Pune’s Kayani Bakery became a heritage landmark of the city◾ Long Read: ‘I’m like, is my brain stupid? How did it just forget my periods’ICYMI: Here’s a list of best news reports, Opinion, Explained, and features from The Indian Express this week.◾ Express Investigation — Part 1: From Emergency to Gujarat riots, lessons of past deleted from textbooks of future◾ Under fire over Agnipath, BJP’s youth, unemployment headache◾ Explained: What are the ED and IT cases against Rahul and Sonia Gandhi?◾ Explained: Two years after Galwan clash, where India-China relations stand today◾ Prayagraj demolition falls foul of Allahabad HC order, says former CJ◾ Pratap Bhanu Mehta writes: Why Agnipath is not the reform the armed forces need◾ What the US Fed’s biggest rate hike in 28 years means for India and the global economy
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.
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.
It is the first such application in the entire country, claims the BJPAhmedabad: The ruling BJP in Gujarat on Tuesday launched 'President Dashboard', a computer application which a party leader claimed would not only collect and analyze personal information of voters but also predict poll results with accuracy.The application was launched by Gujarat BJP president CR Paatil, and party workers would use it to reach out to nearly 50 lakh households across the state to collect information and seek opinion of voters, a release said."Each booth in-charge would visit households in his area to collect information such as members in the family, birth date, marriage anniversaries and whether they have taken benefit of any government scheme or not. This data will be uploaded on our party's server," said Gujarat BJP's media coordinator Yagnesh Dave."Using the President Dashboard application, the state BJP president can see this data on his laptop or computer. It is the first such application in the entire country. We will also identify each voter. Whether he is a BJP supporter, or a party office bearer, or a supporter of the opposition party or a doubtful one," he added.On voting day, the booth in-charge would sit outside the booth with the same software and tick mark those who come to vote, and this data, by evening, would predict who is winning, Dave claimed.Speaking on the occasion, Paatil said voters will be contacted at booth level and information collected from them will be analyzed using the dashboard application.At present, Gujarat has 1.13 crore BJP members and 67 lakh page committee members. Paatil said, adding that the state unit has started a new enrollment drive.PromotedListen to the latest songs, only on JioSaavn.comHe also launched a theme song for the new enrollment drive. PTI PJT BNM BNM(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)
Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde has said Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah have assured him full support for the development and growth of the state.Addressing hundreds of Shiv Sainiks on Monday night during his first visit to his hometown Thane after taking over as the CM, Shinde said the risk that he took (referring to political developments over the last fortnight) has been appreciated by people, despite criticism from certain quarters.“I am going to undertake a tour of the entire state and allot projects in every constituency. There will be a total transformation of the state. I do not exaggerate much, I do work and then speak,” he said.He said Prime Minister Modi has told him to work for the development and growth of the state.“He (the PM) told me that he and the central government would support me. Even Union Home Minister Amit Shah has expressed his full support. They said I am good work for Hindutva,” Shinde said.Referring to the political developments of the last fortnight when he along with some Sena MLAs left for Surat, later stayed in Guwahati and then in Goa before returning to Mumbai, Shinde said 50 legislators had faith and confidence in him.“We had stood up against injustice and not revolted. (Shiv Sena founder) Balasaheb Thackeray had asked us to rise against injustice, this was his teaching and also of (Shinde’s mentor) Anand Dighe,” he said, adding that it was due to the blessings of the two leaders and good wishes of citizens that he became the CM.“We were out for 15 days, and as much as you wanted to meet me, I was also eager to meet my Shiv Sainiks and activists. Even now I don’t feel like I am the CM. I am one among you. Henceforth also, I will be a ‘karyakarta’ among you all,” he said.Shinde said no matter how big his stature may grow, the Shiv Sainik in him will always remain.The CM also said he has given a commitment to the 50 MLAs who supported him that none of them will face defeat in the next elections.“If I give a commitment once, I never listen to even myself till it is fulfilled,” he said.Referring to some strong critical remarks made by Sena leaders after he had left Mumbai with some MLAs, Shinde said “Kamakhyadevi (the deity of a famous temple in Guwahati) gave her blessings to us.” “Truth always wins. We will make the best use of the golden opportunity we have got now to lead the state,” he said.“We have to make our mission successful and honour Hindutva, which also means respect every religion,” he said.Shinde said every caste, creed, and region will get due respect and everyone, including farmers and the poor people, will get justice in his government.In his speech in the Assembly after the floor test, he said, “Everything was spontaneous, whatever I spoke was an expression of my feelings. I could not believe that I could deliver such a speech.” “I have contributed to the Shiv Sena all my life at the cost of my family,” Shinde said while lauding his supporters who gathered in a large number during his address braving the heavy rain.The CM also visited the BJP office here and was greeted by BJP city president and MLC Niranjan Davkhare.
On Sunday, as office-bearers of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) took oath in Ahmedabad, national convenor and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal launched an attack on the Congress, calling it “a party only on paper” and urging AAP workers to ensure that “not a single vote is cast for it” in the state.The statement indicated that AAP, which had contested 29 seats in the 2017 Gujarat Assembly elections and lost deposits in all, has identified the Congress as its main opponent. And that as the first step in a state ruled by the BJP now for 27 years, is seeking to replace the Congress as the main Opposition.The BJP too seems to be recalibrating its political messaging, ahead of the approaching elections. Its attacks are now increasingly directed at the Congress in a bid to downplay the challenge from AAP – a party that has been causing the BJP some heartburn in several parts of the country.The two-day visit that concluded on Monday was Kejriwal’s fifth in two months to Gujarat, as part of its push in the state, which includes a membership drive, overhaul of the organisation, building of a cadre base, and appointment of Rajya Sabha MP and key strategist Sandeep Pathak as the state in-charge. Sunday’s speech indicated that while AAP’s social media campaign might be aimed at the BJP, it would refocus its energy on the Congress.Addressing some 7,000 new office-bearers, Kerjiwal asked them to conduct door-to-door campaigns, and educate voters on the “free electricity” and “free education” model of AAP in Delhi and Punjab. “We have to tell the people that there is no use voting for the Congress. Last time, they voted for the Congress, and today see how many Congress MLAs have left their own party… They should not waste their votes. The office-bearers of AAP must ensure that not a single vote is cast in favour of the Congress this Assembly election,” said Kejriwal.HISTORIC MOMENT IN GUJARAT POLITICS‼️A Record 6988 office bearers of AAP were administered the oath to serve the people honestly by AAP National Convenor @ArvindKejriwal.This is the beginning of “Change” in Gujarat!🔥#AAPGujaratShapathGrahan pic.twitter.com/95WGX4fZpa— AAP (@AamAadmiParty) July 3, 2022He said that people voted for the Congress as they did not have an alternative in the state if they were angry with the BJP. “On voting day, they see the option of the Congress and are forced to vote for the BJP. The votes of all such people should come to us. If we ensure this, then I say with conviction that the next government is ours,” Kejriwal said.After putting up its best result in 25 years in Gujarat, winning 77 of 182 seats in the Assembly elections of 2017 – wresting 36 of these from the BJP – the Congress has lost as many as 29 MLAs, with the last as recently as May, with most of them defecting to the BJP. Its tally in the House now is 64. Among those to leave was working president Hardik Patel, while its other hope, philanthropist-industrialist Patidar leader Naresh Patel, eventually decided to “not join politics”.The BJP has been wary of AAP since it struck rich in last year’s municipal corporation elections in Surat, the bastion of Gujarat BJP chief C R Paatil, winning 27 seats (all earlier held by the Congress). Last week, the BJP responded in kind to a Delhi team visiting Gujarat schools, by sending one of its own to the Capital, in a bid to bust one of AAP government’s showpiece initiatives.As part of its Assembly poll plan, AAP is expected to zero in first on the 36 Assembly constituencies it took from the BJP in 2017.Speaking to The Indian Express, AAP Gujarat president Gopal Italia said that “the Congress doesn’t have any strongholds in any of the belts of Gujarat”. “We have always maintained that the BJP and Congress behave like the A team and B team of one party… When there are only two runners in a race, then it’s obvious that one of them will come second. But we have come to change that scenario.”Admitting a decision to direct their attention to the Congress, Italia said: “Arvind Kejriwal noticed that the Congress is not doing anything on the ground in Gujarat so he asked karyakartas to target anti-BJP voters. We will tell people who have anger against the BJP that this time they are not helpless as AAP has arrived as an alternative.”Retaliating to AAP claims, Gujarat Congress spokesperson Manish Doshi said it was only helping the BJP. “AAP has been unable to govern Delhi and Punjab where crime and corruption are rampant. Now as an ally of the BJP, they want to enter Gujarat targeting the Congress. But the voters are better educated about AAP and will give them a befitting reply in the elections,” Doshi said.