Days after Rahul Gandhi completed his Kisan Yatra in UP, his party has gone back to the drawing board, this time planning a mega campaign targeted at the most backward castes. Rahul and other top leaders, including CM candidate Sheila Dikshit and state Congress chief Raj Babbar, will be back in UP soon to highlight the party’s promise of reservation for most and extreme backward castes within the 27 per cent OBC quota. It may not be a yatra but, sources said, the campaign would be extensive. The idea is to woo non-Yadav, non-Kurmi backward castes. The party plans to give tickets to a large number of candidates from these castes.
Minister of State for Social Justice Ramdas Athawale has been trying to do the balancing act between placating the politically powerful Maratha community by supporting their demands for reservation and maintaining his Dalit vote base in Maharashtra. In the backdrop of the ongoing agitation by the Maratha community, the RPI(A) leader had scheduled a Dalit-Maratha unity meet on October 19 in the temple town of Shirdi. However, Shirdi happens to be less than two hours’ ride from Nashik, which has been on the boil since the alleged rape of a Maratha girl. Athawale, who had planned the unity meet weeks in advance, has now been forced to call it off fearing a backlash.
The Committee of Privileges of Lok Sabha has received notices from several MPs against senior bureaucrats. The Haryana chief secretary has been asked to appear before the panel on Tuesday after Congress MP Deepender Singh Hooda alleged that an invitation to him for a government event in Jhajjar was withdrawn. The panel has also called NHAI officials over the privilege notice of another Congress member, Rajiv Satav, who alleged his name was not included in the list of guests on the official invitation card for a function organised by NHAI in his constituency. Another privilege notice is by Bihar’s Madhepura MP Rajesh Ranjan a.k.a. Pappu Yadav against Patna’s SSP. Yadav, who alleged that the SSP made a prejudiced statement in the media against him, has been called to appear before the panel for evidence on Monday.
For A ‘Regular Head’
After the Supreme Court last month took exception to repeated extensions granted to acting Enforcement Directorate chief Karnal Singh and directed the government to appoint a “regular head” of the agency, the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet has now approved Singh’s empanelment for appointment as Additional Secretary or equivalent posts at the Centre. This clears the decks for the government to formally elevate Singh, currently special director with additional charge as ED director. A PIL filed in the SC had alleged the appointing authority had flouted the letter and spirit of the CVC Act and had made ad hoc appointments or extensions since January 2015 to avoid appointing a full-time director so that the ad hoc appointee was at the beck and call of the government.