Congress in Maharashtra is planning to expand its vote bank and, therefore, has started many programmes. One of these programmes is to celebrate a “Samata Year” to reach the downtrodden society, i.e., Dalits, and inform them about the welfare schemes of the Maharashtra as well as the UPA government. In this celebration, Congress is also planning to commemorate the contribution of legends such as Dr Ambedkar, Mahatma Phule and Chhatrapati Shivaji in the development of the society. At one meeting, emphasising the need and importance of remembering these eminent personalities, the CWC member and state in-charge Mohan Prakash said that why only the chacha-bhatija (uncle-nephew) duo should be allowed to remember them. We can also tell the people about Shivaji Maharaj etc. Many NCP leaders became upset on his quote of chacha-bhatija. They thought that he was indicating towards Sharad Pawar and Ajit Pawar, Deputy CM of Maharashtra. Sensing the situation, Prakash clarified his stance saying that his indication was towards Bal and Raj Thackeray, the chacha-bhatija of Shiv Sena and MNS.
Bhakta Das And His Green Kalahandi
Politics makes strange bedfellows, and chameleon changes occur all too frequently. Bhakta Charan Das, the Congress MP from Kalahandi heads an NGO, Green Kalahandi, which was spearheading the anti-Vedanta movement in the area. It was the same Bhakta Das who had, during a debate in November 1996, said in the Lok Sabha: “The Government of India and the Odisha government should take keen interest to set up at least a large alumina plant because we have got a heavy deposit of bauxite in Niyamgiri and Sijimalli of the Kalahandi district.” Little wonder that Green Kalahandi lost its steam after Das’s electoral victory, he only used it as a platform to get elected. The incumbent Balabhadra Majhi of the BJD rued the fact that he did not take the anti-Vedanta stand and blamed this for his defeat.
Today, Bhakta Das opposes Vedanta on the grounds that it will affect tribal culture and identity. The four consecutive defeats he had in the hustings earlier, have made him wiser. Rahul Baba’s double whammy visits to Niyamgiri were his strategy, and the PCC president Bhupinder Singh and he have locked horns on many occasions. That both do not see eye to eye is well known in the Odisha Congress circles. The rift is due to the fact that Das did not get a ministerial berth in the union cabinet in spite of proving his leadership as the working president of the OPCC for Western Odisha during the last elections where the Congress won four out of the five seats. Das has always felt that it was Bhupinder Singh who scuttled his chances and batted for Srikant Jena. According to informed reports Das is patiently waiting for payback time.
Jharkhand has increased troubles for the BJP. Land encroachments are being removed on the orders of the High Court, causing inconvenience to many who have been living on the land for ages. But the state government seems almost inactive. There is wide-spread public anger on the issue and a lot of clashes are causing unrest in the state. But Chief Minister Arjun Munda is completely ignoring the issue. However, other state BJP leaders are very agitated and many senior leaders, including Yashwant Sinha, Raghuvar Das, Ramtahal Chaudhury, have demonstrated against their own government because Munda is not paying any attention to anyone. A senior BJP leader commented that Munda was completely hijacked by JMM leaders and he was not attending to any state BJP leader. Recently, he didn’t answer Yashwant Sinha’s phone call. A furious Sinha called up national president Gadkari and only after his intervention did Munda talk to Sinha.
What is the connection between present CBI Director and the UPA government? Apart from the administrative connection, there is a lot hidden behind the curtain. It is said that Dr Shabnam Singh, wife of present CBI Director AP Singh, is a very close relative of the wife of Ahmed Patel, political advisor of Sonia Gandhi, UPA chairperson. With a strong allegation from the Opposition about the misuse of CBI, does this revelation indicate something?