RELIGIOUS SYMBOLISM AND DIVIDE IN INDIA

India is a representative democracy. The people of this country together cannot be at a single place at a single time to take part in the decisions that affect us. Therefore, we elect people who would represent us  and engage in policy making on our behalf. As active participants of this nation, we trust these people and support them.

The atmosphere in the Parliament, where our elected representatives ensconce themselves, has to have vibes of a healthy competition. This particular atmosphere should be impartial in its treatment of representatives from different communities.

A rewind into some years, the hyper-fanatic religious chants of ‘Jai Shree Ram’ and ‘Vande Matram’ were a rallying call on the streets of India by the uncompromising zealots. Although Hindutva still remains the ideological bedrock supporting the BJP’s existence as a national party,  these rallies were devoid of the people from the mainstream political party. Rather, the fundamentalist stance were undertaken by Bajrang Dal, one of the most radical and extremist fringes of Bharatiya Janata Party.

The principle of secularism enshrined in our Constitution is emblematic of equal respect to all religions. However, the past few years have been an eye-opener and sent us in a state of shock. This bigotry has penetrated the walls of the Parliament , and religion once again becomes the ingredient of divisive politics.

On June 18, 2019, many ministers went for the swearing-in ceremony in the Lok Sabha . Asaduddn Owaisi was re-elected to the Lok Sabha for a fourth consecutive term from the Hyderabad seat.  We see the sway of majoritarianism when he was interrupted with derisive comments and heckled with chants of ‘Jai Shree Ram’ and ‘Vande Matram’. In response to the age-old, muscular and divisive Hindutva which weighed heavy in the Parliament, president of the All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) concluded his speech with – “Jai Bheem, Jai Meem, Takbeer Allahu Akbar, Jai Hind.”

The BJP is a right-wing political party which stresses on the need for political Hindu resurgence through any means possible. It wrongly constructs an imaginary notion of India, by trying to change the discourse on secularism and exploit religion and caste-based differences for electoral gain.

 The ideology of Hindutva can only survive by homogenizing ideas, history, culture, gods and in this bid, the entire nation. This fascist project, in its process to create a Hindu rashtra, also reins in the multitude and diversity of ideas, cultures, faith and gods within the Hindus.

India is not, and will never be a single, homogenized rashtra. Nor can any particular religion/community predominate its plural landscape. It shall remain a peaceful coexistence of various languages, ideas, sects, religions and schools of thought.

To equate the ideology of Hindutva with the mainstream politics and play the religion card, only delineates how the fundamentalist approach is trying to foment discord and seclusion amongst people. A Muslim representative in this secular nation-state is as much deserving of the honor and respect as a Hindu. But there is no defence for the inclusive and plural ethos India stands for. Rather, democracy in the Narendra Modi government is under attack and facing a political authorization. The chants are symbolic of the majoritarian bullying and the strategic political message from them to the minorities. It is an overt use of religious symbolism that easily legitimizes hate and violence, and a complete disregard of the secular norms that India stands for. Because the BJP thinks itself as the sole custodian of national pride and security, anyone who speaks up for the Muslims, or against the violence in Kashmir, is tagged with the epithet “anti-national”.

The fact that India is wrongly imagined as mono-religious, mono-cultural and mono-lingual becomes the root cause of the polarized environment and the 

emergence of a country divided by hate. A nation-state’s unstable and weakening condition is visible when regionalism and religious oppression becomes rampant.

The constitutional guarantee of freedom of religion seems to be set only in theory as the young generation is blindly imbibing the idea of bigotry and hatred ; thus creating violent, irrational and de-individualised participants. The concept of India is not reducible to a single faith. The complete polarization based on the politics of religion enables the radical elements to marginalize minorities.

India has a religious problem, and  as far as the BJP retains political power, the sectarian line-up of the political conflict is to dominate the political landscape of India.    

BUS AND METRO TRAVEL FREE FOR WOMEN IN DELHI

On June 3rd this year, Chief Minister of Delhi, Arvind Kejriwal, announced free metro and bus rides for women. While this is a new initiative by the Delhi government, it did spark some debate. After a few days of announcement of it, when Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia took a bus ride, enquiring with approximately fifty women regarding the government’s novel initiative, none of them seemed unhappy about it. A strong wave of women, all over Delhi, expressed their ire over the “freebies”, and stated that they can afford their travel expenses. While this surely shows how independent and self-reliant women are, it simultaneously echoes their already privileged position.

The initiative will prove to be a major leg up for women who are poor and underprivileged, who hail from the lowest rungs of the strata of society. These women work as house-maids, labors, sellers of various items on the bursting streets of Delhi, and are engaged in some other petty work of the same ilk, to earn a living and make both ends meet.

Their monthly income nears somewhere to seven to eight thousand, of which they unfortunately spend two to three thousand on travels, either by e-rickshaws or on foot. Metro, to them, is a luxury.

Added to this, metro is also a relatively safer means of commute system when compared to auto or bus rides. By making it free, not only women from deprived classes will be able enough to save some money, but their safety, which else compromised, also shall be guarded. The safety issue springs up for women of all classes, who are a part of late night commuters by metro.

The Delhi Metro Railway Corporation (DMRC) will incur no losses. The funding of the entire initiative is entirely under the ambit of Delhi government. The mere presumption of tax hike and the skepticism that male citizens will eventually have to bear its brunt holds no solid grounds.

Many critique its underpinning, knotting it with a move to bolster AAP’s vote bank for the upcoming Assembly elections which is due for the year 2020. But again, if at all it is a  ‘poll plank’, it is a better strategy than fomenting religious or communal hatred, or hinting at majoritarianism, or disseminating disinformation to the masses through the sheer power of rhetoric.

This maneuver is one of the many affirmative actions that should be taken to empower women, since centuries of neglect and discrimination. Since it came to power, the Delhi government has taken many steps for the overall public welfare of the city.  This new undertaking should not be leveled with gender equality. It is primarily about empowerment; because, say, have we ever seen men get uneasy with or question the unequal pay to women for the same job?

Even when a woman carries the same number of bricks as that of a man, she would be paid less because of the entrenched, stereotyped dynamics that are still linked to gender. So, free metro and bus travels are rather related to emancipation, than equality.

This inventiveness forms a part of a larger framework of enterprises needed to give freedom to women and enfranchise them.

Namo 2.0 or Hindutva 2.0

With election results on the edge today and Modi government on the rise already for the second term, what could be the possibilities of NDA this time? Time again and again in the past 5 years we have seen radical views on the rise of “Hindutva Raj” walking side by side on the streets while also witnessing infrastructural development on a wide scale.

2019 elections hold a really important place as it would decide whether BJP will rule again or Indian National Congress would come back in power.

Let’s have a look at the past and possibilities of Namo 2.0:

 

More of World tours?

In a news article by economic times, Narendra Modi has supposedly taken 165 trips in total and had a total expenditure of 2021 crores. Though the trips were majorly focused on Foreign Direct Investment which did increase in his tenure but do we really need more of FDI and less attention on the root problems of the country such as poverty, unemployment, gender inequality and others?

Compared to Manmohan Singh’s term the total expenditure of his trips were accounted to be 1346 crores in total.

Total number of countries visited by him throughout are as follows according to Wikipedia:

Visited once;

Argentina, Australia, Bangladesh, Belgium, Bhutan, Brazil, Canada, Fiji, Indonesia, Iran, Ireland, Israel, Jordan, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Maldives, Mauritius, Mexico, Mongolia, Mozambique, Netherlands, Oman, Pakistan, Palestine, Philippines, Portugal, Qatar, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, Seychelles, Spain, Sweden, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Thailand, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Vietnam

Visited twice;

Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Myanmar, South Africa, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Switzerland, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, Uzbekistan

Visited Thrice;

France and Japan

He has been to Germany, Nepal, Russia and Singapore four times in total and finally he has visited China and United States for a total of times.

 

MORE OF LYNCHINGS?

India has witnessed almost 63 attacks done by Cow vigilantes which according to Reuters report came on the rise after the “Hindu Nationalist government” came in power in 2014. The report also states that a total of 28 Indians of which 24 of them were Muslims had been killed.

In 2014 itself we witnessed almost 4 violent attacks leading to communal tension from august 2014 to October 2014.

It only kept increasing and the numbers came up to 6 in total where individuals were beaten to death, it led to the extremes where a right wing Hindu mob in Jammu Kashmir “incorrectly” suspected that an 18-year-old had been transporting beef and had to suffer injuries due to gasoline bombs bring thrown at him.

From 2016 to 2017, India had already witnessed 16 attacks resulting from mob lynching due to alleged suspicion of cow smuggling and beef selling. The frequency of the attacks took a different turn in 2017 where the attacks rose up to 11 from 5 in 2016.

From 2018 to 2019, the attacks decreased down to 9 but still had some gory news to it where individuals aged 50 were shot in head or thrown in gutter.

GOING AGAINST THE NORMS OF EC

Twenty-one parties accused Bhartiya Janata Party of “blatantly” politicizing armed forces for vote bank. The joint meeting of the 21 parties equally criticized how the Modi government had been dealing with national security and failing at it.

“National security must transcend narrow political considerations. The leaders observed that the Prime Minister has, regrettably, not convened an all-party meeting as per the established practice in our democracy.”

IMPULSIVE DECISIONS

On November 8, 2016 Prime minister declared a possibly beneficial decision for the country to get rid of black money and corruption, Demonetisation. This impulsive decision was not even discussed with the RESERVE BANK OF INDIA and RBI itself was made aware of the decision 2 hours ago before it was announced.

Later in the report released by RBI annually announced that our economy lost 1.5 percent of GDP in growth terms which was near to 2.25 crores a year.

Apart from the “Monetary aspect” to it which apparently failed majorly, this decision took 100 lives.

COMMUNCAL VIOLENCE NECESSARY WITH INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT?

The country saw the rise of infrastructural development on a wide angle, the rise of metros, cleaner cities, our apparent “ache din”. All these came with a cost of lives especially in the north and rural areas of the country.

There was a 28% rise in communal incidents under BJP rule. Statistical data collected by IndiaSpend showed an increase of 47% communal incidents in UP itself from 133 in 2014 to 195 in 2017.

According to RTI in 2017 itself 822 cases of communal violence were reported in which about 111 people were killed and 2384 were injured. Wherein 2016 702 cases were reported in which 86 people were killed and 1921 were injured.

 

Game of Thrones: “The Things I do for Love.”

“The Things I do for Love.”
Wish Fulfillment, Big And Small
 
In the fifth-to-last Game of Thrones episode ever, Everyone prepares for war. That now includes Jaime Lannister, somewhat ironically, officially rivals Bran for most pronounced character graph. Few have changed as much as Jaime Lannister, and this episode highlighted that at every opportunity, from his apology to Bran, to his knighting of Brienne of Tarth.
 
Game of Thrones Season 8 Episode 2 Review: A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms
 
Season 8’s 2nd episode was yet another build-up, anticipation and the promise of something monumental waiting just over the horizon. It’s not just the Battle of Winterfell we have to look forward to: Dany and Jon didn’t get to finish their conversation in the crypt, and that’s arguably even more important. It’s the story behind the story.
Related image
The episode opens with Danaerys confronting Jaime she talks about how he killed her father and is threatening, despite knowing full well that her father was a murderous psychopath who needed to be killed. She doesn’t trust Jaime, and that makes sense given his past. Sansa doesn’t either, but Brienne vouches for him and she relents. Jon thinks they need every man they can get. And Tyrion says he believes him also. Jaime reveals of Cersei’s Plans of no intention of helping them and has a massive army that can wipe them all out once the Night King is dealt with.
 
Hard-Headed Women in the North
Daenerys takes out her frustration on Tyrion despite having gone along with his plan without question herself. Later Jorah takes her aside in private and speaks for Tyrion. He also urges her to make amends with Sansa though that doesn’t go quite as well as she hoped. When they’re speaking the ice does begin to thaw, but then Sansa brings up the fate of the North, asking Dany what happens when she takes the Iron Throne. Khaleesi inclining towards the madness like his Father does not wish to relieve the North.
Image result for arya and gendry
Arya constantly in pure badass mode. She’s so tough, she’s such a great fighter, she can throw daggers with deadly accuracy, she tells Gendry to take off his own bloody pants because . . . it’s better to be tough than romantic or sexy? I’m not quite sure. It feels a little forced. I miss the old Arya. 
Of the three strong women currently moving and shaking things at Winterfell, the favourite is Sansa. She’s smart and practical, stubborn and eloquent. She’s a good ruler and would make an excellent Queen in the North. I also like the young Lady Mormont, who is always putting someone in their place, this time, her cousin Ser Jorah.
Image result for mormont
 
The Dark Night forever.
Image result for Bran
This episode also revealed some of the Night King’s motivations, which has been a question since the very first scene of the show’s first episode. Bran tells the White Walkers are heading south so the Night King can kill him. “He wants to erase this world, and I am its memory.” Sam concurs with it and says that there would be no history left about anyone and all anyone would know of is the night kings existence.
As we head into the final battle of Winterfell, a plan has taken shape: The non-combatants will cower in the crypts (which might not be so wise if the theory about the Night King resurrecting all the corpses stored down there turns out to be right) while the army of the living holds off the dead long enough for Bran to lure the Night King to the Godswood. 
Image result for sansa and theon
Reunions still..Theon is greeted by Sansa rather emotionally as finally, he is fighting for what he is a Stark, by upbringing. Tormund and  Beric Dondarrian arrive at Winterfell with the Nights watch. 
 
‘One Wish Before Death’
The episode provided plenty of wish fulfilment for longtime Game of Thrones Characters and fans. 
A Girl is Human
Arya actually getting together with Gendry was much anticipated but for me, it was a little eeky. Arya will always be a child for me so maybe I could not accept it. 
Ser Brienne of the Seven Kingdoms
Jamie Knights Brienne, as we found out that a knight can knight another. Sitting around a fire crew of the show’s surviving characters: Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) and Jaime (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau), Brienne (Gwendoline Christie) and Podrick (Daniel Portman), Davos Seaworth (Liam Cunningham) and Tormund Giantsbane. Jaime knighting Brienne fulfils their relationship, although in a very different way. Brienne had inhibitions and denies any of such wish she has. but it all comes a full circle with Podrick’s valedictory nod. With characters present in the room make emotions run high.
 
At this point, Podrick starts singing, Jenny’s Song at the wish of Tyrion. The Song for me is everything about the episode, the dreams & death and it had an eeriness about it.  In the books, all we’ve ever seen of the song is one line: “High in the halls of the kings who are gone, Jenny would dance with her ghosts.” Florence + the Machine performed the song over the episode’s closing credits. 
The song with Pod singing, plays over shots of some of our heroes and the people that matter most to them—Sam/Gilly, Theon/Sansa, Arya/Gendry, Grey Worm/Missande, and, finally, Jon/Daenerys—should make us very worried for our favorites, and for the people who will live to mourn them.
 
“My name is Aegon Targaryen,”
After Jon did his best the entire episode to avoid Daenerys, she finds him down in the crypts. He’s standing in front of Lady Lyanna Stark, and Dany muses about her brother, Rhaegar, and how she can’t reconcile the good man from the stories with someone who could rape Lyanna. “He didn’t,” Jon tells her. “He loved her.” And the truth comes spilling out. He tells her how Rhaegar and Lyanna were wed in secret, and how after Robert’s rebellion was successful and Rhaegar slain, Lyanna made her brother Ned swear to raise their baby as his own bastard in order to protect him from Robert and the Lannisters.
Daenerys doesn’t believe him. After all, it’s his brother and best friend who came to him with this revelation. The conflict between Jon and Dany–the one caused by her life’s only mission the Iron Throne, should be easy to resolve. Where their conversation ended, I can hear what should have been the next line in my head: “But I don’t want the Iron Throne.” For Jon to respond in any other way would be unlikely; he’s always been reluctant to accept power, and quick to give it up once he gets it. Jon probably does not want the crown despite having the best claim, probably making him a better ruler. 
 
Leaving that resolution as an open question throughout the upcoming battle was a fantastic narrative choice. Dany has become annoying, lashing out at Tyrion and exhibiting an alarming unwillingness to consider any alternative to her absolute rule. More than one character has expressed concern that Dany is more like her father and if she goes full Mad Queen or does something extreme in the coming battles, Jon might take the throne for Honor!
 
The Episode ends with the arrival of the whitewalkers outside Winterfell, setting the stage for an epic Battle of Winterfell. The Jenny Song in my head and the cinematography the show makes me feel for the characters. The music sets up the stage for heartbreaks in the next episode. Some dreams will be shattered, some Men will be lost.. Signing off with the song as the episode does… 
 

 
“High in the halls of the kings who are gone
Jenny would dance with her ghosts.
The ones she had lost and the ones she had found
And the ones who had loved her the most.
The ones who’d been gone for so very long
She couldn’t remember their names
They spun her around on the damp cold stone
Spun away all her sorrow and pain
And she never wanted to leave
Never wanted to leave.
Never wanted to leave.
Never wanted to leave.
Never wanted to leave.
Never wanted to leave. “

10 Best Poems Of Atal Bihari Vajpayee Available On YouTube

The death of the legendary Poet Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee came as a shock to all of us. Here we bring to you some of his most famous poems written and recited by him that are available on YouTube for you to relish one more time, or again and again, the beauty of the master orator .

1. Geet Naya Gata Hun

2. Aao Phir Se Diya Jalayein

 

3. Aaye Jis Jis Ki Himmat Ho

4. Doodh Me Darar Pad Gai

5. Sheesh Nahi Jhukega

6. Bharat 

7. Gunji Hindi Vishv Me, Swapan Huaa Saakaar

8.  Maut se Than Gayi

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XzT0GGe3Lbk

9. Kshama Karo tum Bapu 

10. Unchai

Don’t you agree he was one of the best? Watch below, Why we miss him, our obituary for Atal Bihari Vajpayee here.

When Tripura made headlines!

Rarely has this remote state in the hilly North east was successful in making the news, which could be one of the significant reasons of why most Indians aren’t even aware of its existence. But 2018 is unlike all previous years, when the genesis of a new government made the state familiar to a lot more people than previously known.

The events that took place on February 18th 2018 changed the only consistent identity of this state- by removing the bastion of the Left winged or more precisely the CPI. After 25 years of a single party ruling, many expected the similar results of 2013 to remain. Reactions varies on all sides of the spectrum and the probability of the future is being perceived in many variations.

However, avoiding any over exaggerated premonitions, would be best as of now. Being a state where infrastructure is still developing and private businesses stand skeptical about landing themselves there, swift change needs to be the command for faster progress. Unemployment for the youth still remains a titanic challenge that needs to go down as well. These are many other urgent issues that the government would require to face. The changes that CPI was unable to make for more than two decades, people are now hoping will be a reality under BJP leadership.
On March 3rd 2018, CPI was compelled to face the facts and concede to the BJP’s win. Together with Indigenous People’s Front of Tripura, BJP has managed to secure majority wins by having a vote share of 50.5% compared to the 42.80% vote share of CPI.

I am more than certain that the people of the third smallest state in India will be able to get along with this change and will welcome the BJP and its promise to change the perils of this state in terms of jobs and infrastructure.   

The Canadian PM did not only lose a great opportunity to strengthen ties with India but he missed out on warm Modi hugs too!!

The long awaited India tour of the Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his family came to an end this Saturday. Despite trying hard to the point of desperation, Trudeau’s visit could not make any positive impact on the Indians. The viral memes made on him managed to impress India more than the entire ‘Mimic the Native’ theme of the visit could.

Trudeau has been trolled relentlessly over social media for the weird choice of Indian attire during the course of his visit. The Trudeaus tried to strike a positive chord with the Indian people by dressing in traditional Indian attire but ended up looking more Indian than what Indians look like in weddings. The Trudeaus’ outright gaudy and flashy costumes displeased most Indians with some even considering it as an act of cultural appropriation. They even managed to upstage the Bollywood stars at the party they hosted for the Trudeau family. But this is not the first time that he has been in controversy for something like this. In a Toronto Gay Parade, he showed his support by wearing rainbow socks that had Eid Mubarak written on them ( Some Muslim countries are known to violently persecute gay people) to celebrate the month of Ramadan. His critics have stated that his over enthusiastic liberal attitude often misses to address the complexity of the issues. Something similar happened in his recent visit to India. Justin Trudeau’s over the top antics can be used to draw parallels with another fellow Canadian  Justin’s overhyped gig last year. Both failed to live upto the hype.

Trudeau wore Eid-themed socks to a pro-Pride church service.

On the top of that, Government of India left no stone unturned to snub the Canadian PM. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself receives the world dignitaries upon their arrival in India; but this time around, putting the protocol aside, a junior agricultural minister received the Trudeaus at the airport while PM Modi was busy campaigning in Nagaland. Our social media savvy  PM did not even post a welcome tweet for them until five days into the trip. It got even worse when the Trudeaus visited Agra . They were not received by the Chief Minister of the state of Uttar Pradesh or even by any junior minister, but by district officials.

So why did India display this rude attitude towards Canada?

India has often accused Canada of sheltering the Sikh Separatists rooting for the separation of Punjab from India and the subsequent formation of an independent Khalistan. The violent Khalistan Movement in the 1980’s wreaked havoc in Punjab. India managed to suppress the militancy. But after the Indian Army cleared the Golden Temple of militants , PM Indira Gandhi was assassinated by her own Sikh bodyguards in 1984 leading to anti sikh riots in which thousands of Sikhs were killed across the country. The next year the militants had blown up an Air India plane flying from Canada to Mumbai.

Even though a minority group in Canada, Sikhs form a voting block for Trudeau’s Liberal Party. In fact , the sikh vote bank matters so much to the party that he even attended a Khalsa Day parade organised by a radical  Gurudwara in Toronto. Some Gurudwaras in Canada have barred the entry of Indian diplomats .Trudeau publicly boasts of having more sikh ministers than Modi. All four of his Indian origin ministers are sikh who have been accused of having sympathies with Canadian sikh extremists .

Moreover, Trudeau’s attendance at the Canada-India Business Summit was overshadowed by reports that the Canadian High Commission in India had issued an invitation to the businessman Jaspal  Atwal who has been convicted of trying to assassinate a politician in 1980s.

Canada maintains that it cannot curtail the freedom of expression of its sikh citizens whereas New Delhi maintains the stance that while Canadian citizens do have a right to support Khalistan or any group they identify with, the Canadian ministers do have a choice when it comes to associating with them. India demands that Trudeau publicly distance himself from the supporters of the secessionists. The issue had not been resolved till the visit as Canada refused to comply. Hence, the royal snub meted out to the Canadian contingent.

 

The effects of the visit on Canada-India relations:-

As for the outcomes of the visit, India-Canada relations remain frozen in time as Canada has little to offer in terms of assisting India with objectives including China, Pakistan, maritime security in Indian Ocean and in the subcontinent. Canada is reluctant to engage in such issues. Then there are trust issues regarding the Khalistan secessionist groups. India is afraid they might re-instigate Sikh separatism in the country and cannot rely on Canada for it’s prevention.

 

Trudeau’s over the top enthusiasm and sparkly costumes have failed to mask the epic fail that his India visit has been, drawing flak from all over the world. Moreover, Trudeau could not use this opportunity to bring content or continuity into bilateral relations with India. However the final joint statement does indicate that both countries are keen to expand strategic co-operation on several issues like Bilateral Foreign Investment  Promotion , economic partnership, electricity and renewable energy efficiency. Efforts will continue on the civil nuclear front.

Trudeau has said in his statement that Canada supports “One United India” and has been all praises about India’s diversity and Pluralism. This is definitely not going to go down well will the Sikhs back in Canada. On the other hand, the revelation about Canada’s invitation to Jaspal Atwal has proved the linkage between Canadian ministry and the sikh extremist groups. Trudeau and his Canadian contingent’s actions have been suggestive of heir ulterior motif of securing their sikh vote bank through the visit. He has been trying too hard to keep everyone happy. Mr.Trudeau wants to appease his sikh vote bank and India at the same time. He can’t have both. And this time, his visit has been nothing but a messy failure as he has managed to displease  both the Canadian sikh community and India . In an attempt to appease the two opposing parties, he has lost the confidence of both. His image has deteriorated back home as well as internationally. The Canadian PM did not only lose a great opportunity to strengthen ties with India but he missed out on warm Modi hugs too!!

 

Meanwhile, India’s stance on the issue is to be appreciated. India sent out a strong message that it will not be welcoming those who promote secession. It will definitely mount pressure on Canada to stop sheltering the Sikh extremists if Canada hopes on fruitful bilateral relations with India.

Right In, Left Out in Tripura

The results of the Tripura Assembly polls conducted on 18th Feb were released on Sunday and BJP –IPFT alliance has emerged as the winner with a clear majority of 43 out of 60 seats. BJP won 35 seats and IPFT won 8 out of 9 seats that it contested. BJP backed by the Indigenous People’s Front of Tripura handed a crushing defeat to the Manik Sarkar led Left front CPM, who had been ruling over the state for 25 years. BJP rose from a non-entity party to chief opposition party in Tripura in the last four years. With Tripura under its wing, BJP will now rule over six of the seven north eastern states with the exception of Mizoram. The north east which was mostly cut off from the mainland politics until now, has been taken over by the Saffron wave that prevails over the country with the exception of very few states.

Let us have a look at the factors that actually led to the historic victory of BJP in Tripura:-

The people of Tripura voted for CPM in elections after elections for 25 years and still could not see any development or scope of improvement in the conditions of the poor. Despite being in power for such a long time, the Left has not been successful in uplifting the tribal population of the state. Basic facilities still elude a large chunk of the tribal population. They are still poor and many families cannot send their children to school. Drinking water continues to be an issue as tribals still drink water from rivulets. Also, the unemployment rate in the state is one of the highest in the country. Local CPM leaders were accused of providing the benefits of government schemes to their own people only. So basically, the people of Tripura gave up on the Left and were looking for a better option to dislodge the state government. All these years, there was no such strong opposition option available to them apart from Congress. With the extensive BJP-RSS campaigning in the state for the last two years, BJP was able to create a vote base for itself as the population turned in its favour. A lot of Congress supporters too converted to BJP. The Bengali majority of the state was a loyal vote block for the Left but this time, they too got lured into BJP’s call for change.

ROSE VALLEY CHIT FUND SCAM:-

Kolkata company Rose Valley Hotels and Entertainments Limited has been accused of running a scam and cheating investors of more than Rs.17000 crores across the eastern states of Assam, Tripura, West Bengal and Bihar. It is one of the biggest chit fund scams of India. A large number of poor people in Tripura who were among the investors, lost their money in the fraud. BJP used the Rose Valley scam issue to not only intimidate the Left but also gained the confidence of the people by promising them thorough investigation of the scam and justice for the victims on coming to power in the state. BJP also promised to work out a mechanism to compensate the 14 lakh people cheated by the Rose Valley company. In the past two years, BJP has managed to bring out a lot of big names associated with the Manik Sarkar government who were involved in the scam with the help of CBI.

Unemployment in Tripura is a major issue of concern. The state has nearly 7 lakh unemployed youth. The Bangladeshi immigrants managed to infiltrate into the state and somehow procure all necessary documents, taking up the few employment opportunities that are available while the youth of Tripura continue to suffer. The Manik Sarkar government has been suspected of encouraging the Bangladeshi infiltration. With BJP coming to power, the people are hopeful of generation of more employment opportunities and overall development of the state.

The shifting of the loyalties of the tribal and backward class voters (considered the vote bank of CPM) towards BJP turned the tide in its favour. BJP’s masterstroke was the striking of an alliance with the regional party IPFT, an agenda it has followed in all the north eastern states. The common goal of the alliance was the formation of a government with representatives from centre, state and the indigenous community for better addressal of the tribal issues. This move by BJP helped it procure the votes of even those areas which were not aware of the party owing to their trust and loyalties to IPFT.

The Seventh Pay Commission has not been implemented in Tripura yet. State government employees continue to draw salaries on the basis of the Fourth Pay Commission. BJP has promised to implement the Seventh Pay Commission which would lead to an approximate doubling of salaries of the government officials. A majority of the 2.5 lakh government employees of the state voted in favour of BJP.

While large parts of rural Tripura are yet to be provided with electric supplies, the state continues to supply electricity to Bangladesh. This issue is a major source of discontentment among the people.

Post-election Scenario in Tripura:-

Tripura State BJP president Biplab Kumar Deb and BJP general secretary Ram Madhav

After the BJP victory in Tripura, Lenin statues were brought down by the BJP workers. The Left has accused the BJP of violence against its cadres. Currently, section 144 has been implemented in the state. The violent acts have drawn criticism across the country after which BJP issued a warning that any party worker who was found to be involved in such activities would be arrested and expelled from the party. While Biplab Deb, the state president of BJP in Tripura is being considered for the post of the Chief Minister, IPFT has raised demands for a tribal CM for the state and proportionate representation at respectable positions in the ministry. The IPFT continues to stand firm regarding its demand for a separate state for the tribals . It would be interesting to see how BJP manages to handle the sensitive issue.

Battle for Mumbai

Mumbai is voting today to decide which party will control the country’s richest civic body the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation or BMC.

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Image source : Hindustan Times

The on-going elections will be a trial of survival for the ruling Shiv Sena while ally Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP), which is now the dominant partner in Maharashtra, is seeing the electoral battle to take control of Asia’s richest civic body to create space for itself in the city’s political landscape.

Political observers say the election will primarily be a Shiv Sena versus BJP battle.

Let’s check, what makes a municipal poll big enough to shake state & national alliances?

The Fight

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Image source : India Today

Elections to the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) or Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM) the civic body that governs Mumbai happen today i.e. – on Feb 21, 2017

 

Its Pouring BRICKBATS

Like there is tenure of election code, there is tenure of this notice period’

                            -Uddhav Thakeray saying Maharashtra Govt. was on a ‘NOTICE PERIOD”

 

“My Govt. will survive even if the Sena pulls out

                                             -Devendra Fadnavis

 

The Reason

BMC is the Richest Municipal Body of India’s Commercial Capital

 

The Prize

BMC’s budget is more than that of some states

Size of 2016-17 budget in Rupees Cr

 

bmc

 

The Power play

BMC elections are really big and is powerful politically

60

60 of 288 MLAs in Maharashtra assembly come from the Mumbai region

 

11

11 of 48 MPs that Maharashtra sends to parliament are from Mumbai region

 

Friends or Foes?

BJP is the senior partner in Maharashtra assembly but was the junior partner in BMC

 

Assembly :

BJP (122) + Shiv Sena (63)

BJP won 15 of 36 assembly seats from Mumbai, one more than Shiv Sena

 

BMC:

Shiv Sena (75) + BJP (31)

 

Other Teams

The other parties in the fray are Congress, Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP).

There are chances that as in assembly polls, NCP will show up as a potential spoiler for Shiv Sena

Party/ No. of corporators  ( 2012 BMC polls)

MNS- 27

NCP- 7

Independents- 28

Halfway mark – 114

 

Bombay meri Jaan

A hold over Mumbai will allow the BJP govt. in the state to govern more peacefully; but the big question is “WILL IT BE ABLE TO?”

 

Feature image source : http://www.colourentice.com

News Information :-  India Today

 

India needs to burn effigies of these 10 Ravanas this Dussehra

Dussehra is a time when we celebrate the triumph of good over evil.

While we burn effigies of Ravana this year, we must also burn effigies of evils that we need to rid the country of forever

1. Poverty-

172 MN People live below the poverty line- that’s 12.4% of India’s total Population

 [Source: – World Bank estimates for 2015]

poverty-painting-artist-the-muzafar

2. Hunger-

195 MN People are undernourished-that’s 15% of the total population

[Source: – UN Hunger Report 2015]

the-hunger-by-david-r-wetzel-joseph-wetzel

3. Rape-

Every hour 4 Women are raped. In 2015 34,771 Women were raped

[Source: – NCRB 2015]

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4. Illiteracy-

287 MN adult illiterates in India- That’s 37% of the Global total

[Source: – UNESCO Report 2014]

illiterate

5. Corruption-

We are 76th most corrupt country in the world. An average India household pays INR 4,400 as bribe every year

[Source: – Transparency International, National Council of Applied Economic research survey]

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6. Black Money –

152-181 BN USD of Illegal money is hidden in foreign tax havens

[Source: – Bank of Italy estimates, 2016]

1439244920-7319

7. Lack of Sanitation-

595 MN people in India don’t have access to toilets: 2.44 Trillion USD a Year is what inadequate sanitation costs us

[Source: – UN, World Bank]

 

8. Pollution-

1.4 MN people die prematurely due to Air Pollution, which also costs India 8.5% of its GDP

 [Source: – World Bank, American Association for the advancement of Science]

pollution

9. Communal Violence-

During 2005-09 648 people were killed and 11,278 injured in 4,030 incidents of communal violence. Since then, there have been more than 650 Riots every year.

 [Source: – PRS India]

the-nightmare-of-violence-katerina-apostolakou

10. Bigotry

123 Cases of crimes committed against Dalits every day.

[Source: – NCRB 2015]

Article Source:-  IndiaToday.in