NATIONAL POLITICS: BJP gears up for Bharat Bandh – national resentment grows against the Congress regime which has caused record inflation, starting with food ?!! GJM supports BJP & joins in – Hills also to remain closed on Monday !!
From The Times of India
(Syntax slightly remixed for clarity and context)
Jaipur City, Jul 3, 2010, 05.43am IST (TNN): With the Opposition parties organising ‘Bharat Bandh’ on July 5 to protest against the recent fuel price hike, the state unit of BJP is gearing up to make it a success. Party leaders are holding meetings in every block to mobilise the workers and supporters in their respective districts for the protest.
National president of BJP’s minority cell Tanvir Ahmed, who was here on Friday, said that all its units across the country would participate to make the bandh successful.
“Inflation affects one and all. The fuel price hike has only further added to the financial burden of the common man,” he said while ad-dressing a press conference.
He added that the UPA government has failed in governance, especially in controlling inflation. State president of the cell Mumtaz Bhati was present on the occasion.
Ahmed said the party is now focusing on strengthening the cell. “We are concentrating on increasing our strength at the grassroots level and aiming at more participation from the minority community at the block and district levels,” he said.
Chief minister, Ashok Gehlot directed the education department not to raise the fees of B Ed colleges on Friday. He asked the department to submit the factual report to him before they consider the proposal. Sources said there were some media reports that B Ed colleges are all set to hike fees. Gehlot asked the education department on the status of fee hike.
Ahead of July 5 bandh, parties work on Opposition unity – Congress and UPA now face a rising National Storm for inept mismanagement & undisclosed corruption, starting with Sarad Pawar’s food & IPL ?!!
From The Financial Express
By The Financial Express Bureau
New Delhi, Saturday, Jul 03, 2010 at 0156 hrs IST: The BJP today tried to assert its ownership of the July 5 bandh call by the Opposition to protest the fuel price hike announced by the government last week. Party president Nitin Gadkari said that all BJP-ruled states were geared up for the bandh on Monday, which would be a historic one, but remained cagey on the extent of Opposition unity over the bandh.
The July 5 bandh was sprung on the BJP after it announced its own protest programmes on July1 and 2 across the country. The party then decided to join in with the rest of the Opposition’s plans for a bharat bandh.
The Left parties, Akali Dal, Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) and even parties like the SP, RJD and the LJP which ditched the rest of the Opposition during the cut motion against the fuel price hike in Parliament will be participating in the bandh albeit in autonomous ways. “This is an Opposition-led bandh, and we are all organising it in our own way,” said Gadkari.
NDA convenor Sharad Yadav, who has co-ordinated some bits of Opposition unity over the issue said that the bandh would be a “historic” one. Harking back to the Opposition’s unity during the Emergency, he said that this bandh would be just as effective.
There appeared to be some confusion over the role of state governments ruled by the Opposition parties and the level of their participation in the bandh. “The bandh in BJP-ruled states will be run by the workers and the governments have been asked to carry on working. We do appeal to all sections of the population to join the stir as the effects of the fuel price hike will be disastrous on the poor,” said Gadkari.
“I want to know from the Prime Minister (Manmohan Singh) why he appears to be so concerned with the fiscal health of oil companies and not of the poor. I also want to ask Congress president Sonia Gandhi and AICC general secretary Rahul Gandhi why an economist Prime Minister has failed to check price rise,” he said.
When asked whether BJP-led state governments would cut the state tax on fuel to provide relief, Gadkari remained evasive. “The way taxes are structured, they are largely centrally driven. What I want is a policy change on fuel with promotion of bio-fuels and ethanol blending,” he said.
Hema wades into muddy waters – and the all Indian conscience unashamed and India’s “pawitra” Ganga getting murkier by greed ?!!
FROM THE TELEGRAPH
BY TAPAS CHAKRABORTY
Lucknow, July 2: Hema Malini wowed Varanasi by dancing on the Ganga’s ghats a few years ago. But her recent appointment as the face of BJP-ruled Uttarakhand’s “clean Ganga” project has led many to see only the muddy waters of politics behind the move.
“Getting rid of the garbage in the Ganga is not the job of a fashionable actress,” said Suryanarayan Joshi, a Ganga pollution activist in Haridwar.
Hema, a former MP from the BJP, was on June 27 named brand ambassador for the Sparsh Ganga campaign, launched in May.
Some Congress leaders wondered half-jokingly why the job was not handed to actress Mandakini, heroine of Raj Kapoor’s 1985 hit Ram Teri Ganga Maili which touched on the theme of Ganga pollution. Mandakini is also the name of one of the Ganga’s tributaries, but the actress has been tainted by her alleged links with Dawood Ibrahim.
The Union minister of state for labour, Harish Rawat, who happens to be from Uttarakhand, was quick to fire a salvo. “Why Hema Malini? I thought the chief minister wanted to keep pollution issues above politics, but she is a politician,” Rawat said.
Senior BJP leader Sushma Swaraj, however, said: “Uttarakhand is fortunate to have a committed person like Hema Malini as brand ambassador. This will ensure success of the campaign.”
Environment activists differ. They cite how a series of ashrams in Rishikesh have encroached on the riverbed with the state’s connivance. These ashrams are a favourite destination with VIP politicians from across India.
“Will Hema dare antagonise them?” said Pradip Negi, an activist.
It’s anyone’s guess if Hema knows what a cesspool she has waded into. “Roughly 800 million litres per day (MLD) of untreated sewage is directly discharged into the river from 26 cities on its banks in Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh,” a report of the central pollution board says.
By 2025, this is likely to more than double to 1,600MLD, it says, adding: “The capacity of existing sewage treatment plants is around 385 MLD and.. would be increased to 1,039 MLD in the next 15 years.”
Sources said Uttarakhand’s Ganga campaign was actually a race with Uttar Pradesh to get funds from the Centre. Uttar Pradesh recently received the Union environment ministry’s approval to launch its Rs 1,689-crore Nirmal Ganga project in a phased manner in the next 2-3 years.