By Rahil Nora Chopra
After West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee asserted that “there is no UPA anymore”, Shiv Sena batted for Wayanad MP Rahul Gandhi to lead the opposition in the 2024 Lok Sabha election. Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut’s back-to-back meetings with the Congress leaders have triggered the speculations of Shiv Sena formally joining the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) amid a challenge posed by the Trinamool Congress (TMC) to the grand old party as regards the leadership of the Opposition alliance. In another development, Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut revealed that his party is pondering an alliance with Congress in the upcoming Assembly polls in Uttar Pradesh and Goa. This agenda came up for discussion during his hour-long discussion with Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra in Delhi on Wednesday. Speaking to the media after the meeting, he stated that they talked about the overall political situation in India as well as Uttar Pradesh, Goa and Maharashtra. The meeting comes against the backdrop of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) polls next year amid the Congress’ assertions of going it alone. Both the Shiv Sena and the Congress are part of the Maha Vikas Aghadi government in Maharashtra. The Shiv Sena is keen to expand its footprint in Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Goa.
JAYA BACHCHAN DISTRIBUTES RED CAPS AFTER MODI’S ‘LAL TOPI’ REMARK
Rajya Sabha MP of Samajwadi Party Jaya Bachchan displayed her aggression when took a jibe at Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Laal Topi’ remark by wearing the party’s red cap while participating in a protest at the Gandhi statue in Parliament called by the opposition MPs over the suspension of 12 Rajya Sabha members from the winter session. Bachchan also distributed red caps to the suspended opposition MPs, though she did not offer the same to the Congress MPs. The MPs of the TMC and Shiv Sena accepted and wore the caps. She said: “Laal topi par garv hain, Kala topi nahi Pehenti hoon.” Jaya Bachchan said she was thankful to the Prime Minister for doing the campaign for her party with his uncharitable remark. She also said that it’s a “red alert” for his party that people have been coming out in large numbers wearing the same red caps. PM Modi, while addressing an event in Uttar Pradesh’s Gorakhpur district on Tuesday, made a scathing comment when he said: “The entire Uttar Pradesh knows that ‘laal topi waale’ [those who wear red caps] have only been interested in red beacons [power] and not the problems of people,” Prime Minister Modi had sarcastically commented.
WILL PRIYANKA-LED WOMEN’S MANIFESTO HELP CONGRESS IN UP?
Ahead of Uttar Pradesh assembly elections, Congress general secretary and party’s UP in-charge, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra on, has once again promised to grant 40 per cent reservation for women in government jobs, while setting aside 25 per cent of jobs in the police for them, if her party is voted to power in Uttar Pradesh. The promises are part of a special manifesto, the ‘Shakti Vidhan Mahila Ghoshna Patra’, which Priyanka released in Lucknow. In it, the Congress has also assured that it will hand more than the previously stated 40 per cent tickets to women candidates for the 2022 assembly elections. The manifesto also promises that 50 per cent of PDS (public distribution system) shops will be allocated to women. Free mobile phones will be given to girls who pass class 12 examination, and electric scooters will be given to those women who complete graduation. Priyanka said that the ‘women’s manifesto’ would empower them.
UTTARAKHAND BJP JITTERY AFTER WITHDRAWAL OF CHARDHAM ACT
After facing tremendous pressure and threat of protests from Hindu religious groups of saints and seers and even the RSS-affiliated Vishwa Hindu Parishad, Uttarakhand CM Pushkar Singh Dhami’s government has repealed the Uttarakhand Char Dham Devasthanam Management Act, just months ahead of the assembly elections. The ‘Teerth purohits’, or the priests of the four main shrines of the state, have been staging protests for the past two years, demanding that the 2019 Act be repealed and the Devasthanam board also dissolved, claiming that the new system went against the tradition of the shrines. Under the law enacted during the tenure of former CM Trivendra Singh Rawat, the board controls the management of 51 temples, including Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri and Yamunotri. Congress leader Harish Rawat said: “It’s a step taken by a Government which is afraid of losing, a step that has been taken under the pressure of temple managements, of people and the Congress party. We had opposed this Act when it was first introduced in the Assembly. We believe that if the Government asserts it made a mistake in having set up the Board in the first place, then they should also apologise to the people of the State”. Former CM Trivendra Singh Rawat, State President Madan Kaushik and Cabinet Minister Dhan Singh Rawat are annoyed with Pushkar Singh Dhami with infighting becoming more prominent in the party.
AAP’S RAGHAV CHADDHA WINS ‘STYLISH POLITICIAN’ AWARD
The Aam Aadmi Party’s youth icon, MLA Raghav Chaddha, was rewarded for his grooming style and was named the “Most Stylish Politician of the Year” at the Indian Fashion Awards 2021. He received the trophy from the BJP MP Maneka Gandhi. Party chief and Delhi Chief Minister congratulated the young leader in a Twitter post saying: “We have the most honest, most dedicated and most patriotic leaders in our party. Now, we have the most stylish too! Congrats @raghav_chadha”. (IPA Service)