Does PM Modi not care for the Indian Mother?

Rahul Gandhi rocks Times Square!

After his captivating speeches at the University of California, Berkeley and Princeton University, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi once again showed his interactive side at New York Times Square.

Rahul Gandhi addressed the Indian National Overseas Congress there, at the end of his two-week long tour of the United States.

Rahul Gandhi reminded 30 million Non Resident Indians that the original Congress movement for Indian Independence was spearheaded by NRIs. Be it Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru, Chandrashekhar Azad or Sardar Vallabhai Patel, a vast majority of India’s founding fathers used their exposure to the world beyond India to return with transformative ideas to transpose into our cutting edge democracy.

The Congress vice-president urged NRIs to participate with the Congress, given the grand old party is the best organisation in terms of recognising powerful ideas on their own strength and in greatly amplifying individuals’ elasticity of impact.

Rahul Gandhi said India’s reputation as a country of peace and harmony is in danger abroad because of divisive forces at work at home and urged the NRIs to stand up against “those dividing the story.”

NRIs were called upon by Rahul Gandhi at this important crossroads in world politics to nurture India’s most important asset, which is that 1.3 billion people are allowed by the Congress’ ancient inclusiveness to live together peacefully and be stakeholders in India’s success.

With his characteristic commitment to consensus building across party lines, Mr. Gandhi calls on Prime Minister Modi to eschew the politics of hate to come together with him to solve India’s most pressing problem that only 450 of India’s 30,000 new jobseekers every day are able to find employment.

For Mr. Gandhi, the crisis we face whereby 40% of India’s food rots also presents an opportunity for at least a million new jobs in agriculture if the right linkages are created in agriculture and farmers are empowered rather than ridiculed by the Modi Sarkar.

Mr Gandhi spoke about how colleges are Knowledge networks and Indian institutions must build these networks as a means of furthering competitiveness worldwide. This will only happen if premier Indian institutions like IITs and IIMs networks are connected to international industries and businesses.If there is one thing the Congress Vice President has left us with, it is this: India cannot give youngsters a vision without giving them a job.

NDA states obstruct 50% quota for women in panchayat elections

While reports have been doing rounds of the NDA Government introducing the Women’s Reservation Bill, the Centre has rejected a move to provide 50 percent quota to women in all three tiers of rural local bodies, gram panchayats, panchayat samitis and zilla parishads.

Last year, Former Rural Development and Panchayat Raj Minister Chaudhary Birender Singh had opined of bringing in a Constitution Amendment Bill to reserve half the seats in Panchayati Raj institutions for women. ‘

However, Ministry of Panchayati Raj has left it to the states to bring in their own legislation, following opposition from the BJP-ruled states.

When this proposal was put forward by Birender Singh last year, 16 states had already introduced the reservation for women in rural local bodies. Post that, four states, including Punjab, have enacted the law. In Punjab, the law was enacted in July, four months after Congress Chief Minister Amarinder Singh assumed his post.

However, BJP-ruled states such as Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Goa and Jammu and Kashmir have still not introduced the legislation.

For the unversed, it was the UPa-II which introduced the Constitution (110th Amendment) Bill, 2009 and the Constitution (112th Amendment) Bill, 2009 to reserve 50 per cent seats in all rural and urban local bodies for women. It, however, lapsed with the dissolution of the 15th Lok Sabha.

Saffron groups now targeting one of the peaceful states, Uttarakhand?

Uttarakhand, a state which prides on the lack of violence in its culture, is witnessing a rise in the incidents of religious violence since the BJP came to power earlier this year.

Starting from July, the Bajrang Dal attacked a shop owned by a Muslim boy in Satpuli, after accusing him of posting a photo having “objectionable references” to Kedarnath temple. Then in August, in Satpuli again, a shop was vandalised and shut down was observed after a Muslim man was accused of having sex with a cow.

In August again, the Bajrang Dal beat up a Muslim man in Dehradun, for “harassing” a Hindu woman. It later turned out that the couple had gotten married a couple of months back and were living together. However, the elders from both the communities, after a street clash broke out, forced the couple to separate and return to their parents’ homes.

In this month as well, in Chamba, two Muslim boys were beaten and seven arrested for allegedly harassing girls. The boys were then sent to judicial custody.

These might seem to be small incidents as no deaths have been reported and no major property damage took place, but this, happening in a peaceful state like Uttarakhand is worrisome.

Organised groups targeting people of a particular community indicates towards a manufactured design. Beating up people, burning goods, damaging property is by any means criminal. Above it, no reported action from the government encourages such acts of violence.

The attitude of the government sends the message that mob violence is justified. It is this impunity which is causing a rise in such crimes.

Concerned about the situation, the state’s opposition parties jointly staged a protest and demanded for the rule of law to be restored and severe punishment for those indulging in such violence.

Another such protest in this regard is to take place today i.e. September 23.

BJP’s another tool for Gujarat campaign: Narmada Dam Project

First, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s visit to Gujarat, and now, the Narmada Dam Project, BJP is rubbing its heels to mark victory in the upcoming Gujarat Assembly polls.

The foundation stone of the project was laid down by former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru in 1961, and later under the leadership of the then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, all stumbling blocks were cleared and 90 percent of the work was given successive nods for completion. After that, although the BJP was in power for nearly 22 years, the construction work remains incomplete till date.

Now, keeping in mind the upcoming elections, BJP has launched another yatra—Narmada Mahotsav Yatra, covering 10, 000 villages in 24 districts. When development fails, it is always identity politics that BJP resorts to.

If we see the facts, they are quite dismal. 43,000 Km of proposed canal networks are not completed. Further, the Narmada Dam project was intended to provide irrigation facilities for nearly 19 lakh hectares of land. But in real terms as far as the project’s status is concerned, it can only irrigate 3.70 lakh hectares of agricultural lands. The dam water has reached less than 12 percent of the total 17.92 lakh hectares of land.

It may be noted that Gujarat state government has also reduced the length of canal network plan—key for agriculture sector—to 71,784 Km from 90,389 Km as originally planned.

In response to questions, the government has said that it will construct 3,856 Km of canal network in 2017-18. At this pace, it will take another eleven years for the project to complete! In addition, the project cost was originally estimated at Rs 9,000 crore, but due to the delay in its completion, it has since swollen up to Rs 56,286 crore.

Gujarat faces various issues related to water avaiablity and problema faced by the Agriculture sector. By organising Narmada Mahotsav Yatra, BJP is only trying to move people’s attention away from these problems.

Farewell to the welfare of the farmers

When Modi announced the demonic demonetisation on November 8, he asked for only 50 days to bring things back to track. Also, he kept on ranting that the move was aimed towards the betterment of the common man. However, the after effects of demonetisation were disastrous and struck the masses hard, especially the farmers.

Today, across the country, from Madhya Pradesh, to Maharashtra, to Tamil Nadu and Haryana, the crisis in India’s agrarian economy is severe, owing majority of it to demonetisation. And it is fast-spreading.

In Mandsaur, Madhya Pradesh, protesting farmers clashed with police forces and in the ensuing violence 6 farmers were killed as the police resorted to opening fire on them. Next door in Maharashtra, there were reports of wholesale markets shutting down and farmers throwing their produce out onto the streets because of the glut.

Similarly, the image of farmers from Tamil Nadu, a state that is in the throes of severe drought, protesting in New Delhi has become a media sensation. With shaved heads, carrying skulls and holding dead rats in their mouths, the farmers demanded that some sort of response from the government be shown towards their plight.

As a direct result of demonetisation, for instance, tomato and onion farmers were deeply affected as prices fell by 60- 85%. The shortage of cash subsequently went on to affect other agricultural commodities, de-stabilising agricultural markets across the country and prompting fire sales.

The RBI acknowledged the same, admitting in June that “Incoming data suggest that the transitory effects of demonetisation have lingered on in price formations relating to salient food items, entangled with excess supply conditions with respect of fruits and vegetables, pulses and cereals”.

The crisis has led more farmers in India to turn towards sources of credit and has conversely increased the number of indebted farmers in the country where on average, roughly 52% of the country’s farmers have some form of debt.

Debt in turn is a well established and documented cause for farmer suicides, a situation which the country has struggled to solve. Farmer suicides in 2015 registered 8,007 cases, an increase by a significant 41% from the previous year.

All the distressed farmers want is government’s attention towards their plight, but this government appears to be happily flying blind.

Ulterior motive of Modi not hosting Japanese PM in Delhi

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s recent visit to India was more of a state visit than a nation visit. Abe landed in Gujarat and his two-day visit was made to be devoted to only Gujarat. It is rare for foreign dignitaries to spend their visits to India entirely in a regional capital and not New Delhi.

If we get deep into it, this move can be seen as BJP’s desperation to focus on optics ahead of the Assembly polls.

It is important to mention that the Prime minister hosted his Japanese counterpart in Ahmedabad to prematurely unveil a bullet train project before elections in Gujarat. However, During Mr Abe’s 2013 visit, he and then PM Dr Manmohan Singh signed a Joint State Agreement to develop its first-ever high-speed-rail corridor in India. The present regime’s attempt to appropriate an already in-the-works Bullet Train Project is just another example of unstatesmanlike behaviour by Mr Modi.

Modi, misused his position in order to favour a particular state, Gujarat, of which he was the CM for many years. The September timing of the ceremonial inauguration is clearly aimed to a get a jump on the model code of conduct that the Election Commission of India enforces during the campaign period ahead of polls.

Since Gujarat will see the polls in the coming months, PM taking Shinzo Abe to the state seems part of the BJP’s poll efforts than any meaningful engagement with a major world power. This is a rare moment in Indian politics when a prime minister is using a state visit by another prime minister to help his party in polls to a state Assembly.

Along with gaining brownie points ahead of the Gujarat polls, this is government’s way of distracting attention of citizens who are struggling from rocketing fuel prices. It reveals how a Prime Minister has no compunctions to misuse his constitutional position and divert all the benefits coming out of an international treaty to his own home state.

2017, prime year for cow-related hate crimes

Modi and BJP’s love for cows is known to all. Their obsession with cows can be seen with them going to the extent of proposing to make UID for the holy animal.

In the past eight years, starting from 2010, cow-related hate crimes have been the maximum this year. According to IndiaSpend database, out of a total of 78 cow-related hate crimes since 2010, 35 have been reported to have taken place this year.

The first incident of 2017 was reported on April 1, when Pehlu Khan, resident of Haryana, was beaten by cow vigilantes in Rajasthan’s Alwar district. Two days later, Khan succumbed to his injuries.

The unfortunate part being, despite of Khan mentioning names of six persons in his statement, those men were acquitted on September 1.

On September 6, 2017, the Supreme Court ordered the appointment of a “nodal officer” to address such hate crime in each district. Prior to this in April, days after Pehlu Khan’s death the apex court sought responses from the Centre and six states— including BJP-ruled Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Jharkhand and Congress-run Karnataka — and called for action against cow-protection groups.

What draws attention is the majority of Muslims being attacked or killed in bovine-related hate crimes across India.

Muslims were the target of 53% (42 of 75) incidents of violence centred on bovine issues in 2010-17 and comprised 87% (26 of 30) killed in 78 incidents, data show.

The database also shows that 97% (76 of 78) of such incidents were reported after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government came to power in May 2014.

More than half or 52% of the bovine-related violence–39 of 75 incidents–were reported in states governed by the BJP at the time, revealed IndiaSpend’s analysis of violence recorded until August 31, 2017.

We think, we don’t need to opinionate this article, as the facts and study reveal everything on its own.

Uttar Pradesh slipping into jungle raj under Adityanath?

The most populous state and politically significant Uttar Pradesh is becoming a hub of all crimes and is becoming the harbinger of total suppression of human rights.

The Yogi Government has been vocal and violent since the beginning. Anything that stands against the agenda of the government is dealt with fiercely. The state machinery has completely failed in maintaining law and order and protecting innocent lives. Law enforcement agencies, primarily the state police, and moral policing in the name of voluntary force, are given a free hand in UP.

As per the latest data, loot cases stood at 1,352 till August this year as compared to 992 in 2015 and 1,186 in 2016. Murder cases stood at 1,364 till August as compared to 1,395 in 2015 and 1,513 in 2016. Rape incidents also rose from 849 in 2015 to 1,030 in 2016 and 1,266 till July this year. Instances of riots have gone up from 1,608 in 2015 to 2,539 till August this year. Data from last few years substantiate that crime rate has gone up in Uttar Pradesh after Yogi Adityanath became the Chief Minister. In the first two months of his government, 803 incidents of rape and 729 of murder were reported. Between March 15 and May 9, 729 murders, 803 rapes, 799 loots, 2,682 kidnappings and 60 dacoities took place.

Data illustrates the BJP government’s apathy and failure to check crime rates in the state ever since coming to power.

Adding to all the agony, is the death of more than 1500 children in the state in the last six months due to lack of oxygen in various hospitals.

In the midst of alarming crime rates, farm distress and poorly performing social development indicators, it is unfortunate to see Yogi Adityanath busy preparing for seasonal festivals and blowing bugles for Mr. Modi.