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Freebies Galore: KARNATAKA PLUMS FOR FARMERS By Insaf, 25 April, 2013 Print E-mail

Round The States

New Delhi, 25 April 2013  

Freebies Galore


By Insaf


Come election time, it’s the season for populist freebies galore. Both in Karnataka and Andhra various promises are being bandied around by various political parties to win their vote banks. In Karnataka, where Assembly elections are due on 5 May, taking a cue from Akhilesh Yadav’s UP, the Congress promises to provide free laptops/digital notepads to all Pre University students, make Kannada the medium of instructions compulsory and teach English from the first standard. Not only this. Also on the anvil are interest-free loans up to Rs. 2 lakh to farmers, rice at Re one per kg to BPL card holders, supply of power for eight hours continuously every day and establishing of a Rs 1,500 crore natural calamity relief fund et al.


But trust the-newly formed Karnataka Janata Party of erstwhile BJP Chief Minister and rebel Yeddiyurappa along with former PM Deve Gowda’s Janata Dal (S) to come out with a nouvelle manifesto for India’s IT Capital Bangalore which accounts for 28 of 244 Assembly seats. Both Parties are talking the language of garbage recycling and treatment, offering an arterial roads management body for better traffic management, more water, better distribution of resources and simplifying land registration procedures. Makes sense as the garden city is the cash cow of the State, contributing nearly 60 per cent of its economic output. It remains to be seen which scheme becomes the hot button to garner votes.

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Andhra Woos Minorities

What Karnataka does Andhra can do one better. Every Party is busy wooing the Muslim vote bank which could tilt the winability scales for it. The Congress is trying to get a leg-up over its former ally All India Majlis-e-Ittehad-ul-Musalmeen by reeling out various schemes to capture the minority vote bank. It has proposed to start four Government schools exclusively for Muslims in Hyderabad’s old city to checkmate the MIM’s stranglehold on education institutions for minorities. Along side Chief Minister Kiran Reddy has sanctioned Rs.489 crores for minority welfare and the scholarship fund for them has been increased from 150 crores to 230 crores in this year’s budget Topping this, Reddy has extended the 4 per cent reservation in education for Muslims for ten years and will soon inaugurate a swanky new Haj house near the new International airport. Clearly a win-win for the minorities.

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Modi Raises Hackles In Kerala

Politics enfante terrible Gujarat Chief Minister Modi has raised political tempers in ‘God’s Own Country’ Kerala and sent its politicians in to a tizzy. On a visit to Sivagiri, spiritual leader and revered social reformer Narayana Guru’s headquarters to inaugurate its golden jubilee celebrations, he has elicited a sharp rebuke from the Left and Congress which have attacked the Mutt for inviting him. While the CPM has dubbed Modi’s visit  ‘a black day’ for the State’s secular credentials and declared that the Party would not participate in the Mutt’s function, the Congress Chief Minister Oomen Chandy side-stepped the Modi issue and at his diplomatic best talked of the Guru’s relevance today. Trust Modi to use the spiritual platform to hit out at his ‘secular opponents’. Said he, “in today’s political field, untouchability exists”. Touche!

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Trinimool’s Ma, Mati Aur Saradha

West Bengal is in the throes of a Ponzi-type scheme which is giving Trinamool’s Mamata Government sleepless nights as it faces the worst crisis in its tumultuous two-years existence. All due to the Rs 4000 crores Saradha chit fund scandal which has defrauded the poor and rural masses of their life savings. On two scores, one its kingpin Sudipta Sen in a letter has named several politicians cutting across Party lines including two TMC MPs, journalists etc who “blackmailed him and took money”. Two, Mamata’s pro-poor image has taken a severe beating given the companies close links with her Party. To deflect criticism she has announced a Rs 500 crores relief fund partly funded by increased taxes on cigarettes to compensate the people. Sen’s modus operandi was simple: His 100-odd fraudulent investment companies weaned the poor who were initially paid returns from their own money or the money paid by subsequent investors, rather than from profit earned by the organization. Seizing a perfect opportunity Mamata’s bête noir CPM has demanded a CBI enquiry into the scandal. For once the stormy petrel is speechless and vulnerable in her rural vote-bank.

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Nitish Vs Badal On Modi

With general elections looming large on the political horizon various regional parties are hedging their bets on political formations post poll. The recent meeting between Samajwadi’s Akhilesh Yadav and AIDMK’s supremo Jayalalitha has once again ignited talk about resurrecting a Third Front. Though officials dispelled this and described the interaction as a courtesy call, the Tamil Chief Minister’s confidants did not rule out the possibility of the two leaders discussing cobbling together support for a fresh non-Congress and non-BJP platform. Notwithstanding that the SP extends outside support to the UPA Government. Meanwhile one of the NDA’s staunch allies, Akali Dal has jumped in to the PM name game by hooting for Hindu mascot Narender Modi. Punjab’s Deputy Chief Minister and the Dal’s modern face Sukhbir Badal stated that it was not the job of the allies to interfere in the BJP’s choice of propping a Prime Minister as it was the largest party of the NDA. Thereby not only did Badal debunk JD (U)’s Nitish Kumar’s call for a secular candidate but also praised Modi’s dynamic and decisive development strides in Gujarat. What next?

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Sickening Verbose Hits UP, MP

From hitting a low to sickening verbose is today’s political culture in India’s heartland, UP and Madhya Pradesh, notwithstanding the BJP Tribal Minister being sacked for his double entendre remarks about Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan’s wife. “No SDM or Cop has the guts to sit down without my order.. if they won’t .. they will be stripped of their uniform”,  said UP’s Textile Minister Shiv Beria in an encore. Not to be outshone the MP Industry Minister averred “local MP (Meenakshi Natarajan) is busy giving massage to Rahul Gandhi, so she doesn’t have time to think about people”. Adding fuel to fire, countered the State’s Congress leader Satyadev Katare “No man will harass a women till she looks at him in a suggestive manner”. Leading one to wonder how the States will ensure women empowerment when low male mentality rules the roost. ---INFA


(Copyright, India News and Feature Alliance)

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