Onions on bhujbal political plate
Political parties,whether in or out of power,have been expressing solidarity with farmers hit by the onion export ban,as this has come at a time when they are preparing for local body elections. Possibly the most jittery among leaders are those of the Bhujbal family of Nashik. Guardian minister Chhagan Bhujbal,his MP nephew Sameer and MLA son Pankaj had won a hard-fought victory in 2009,countering a hostile atmosphere created against them by the Maratha lobby. Now firmly entrenched in Nashik,they cannot afford to invite the wrath of farmers. Sameer has worn garlands of onions and led protests of agitating farmers,while his uncle has visited the PMO with a request to revoke the ban. Sameer has also written letters to NCP chief Sharad Pawar and other Union ministers on the issue.
A few storms in Rane lull
Over the past six years,former chief minister Narayan Rane has impressed many with his transformation from a Shiv Sena rabble-rouser into a diplomatic Congressman. Flashes of the Rane of old,however,do show now and then. When Ashok Chavan was made chief minister,for instance,Rane made no bones about harbouring his own ambitions of occupying the chair again. Now,he has taken up Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavans alleged lack of speed in taking decisions. Rane made it formal,handing Chavan a letter requesting that the Mumbai-Goa highway through Konkan (which includes Ranes turf) be repaired before the Dussehra-Diwali festive season. He sought Chavans intervention and prompt release of funds.
Patekar and Raj
Nana Patekar is known for shooting his mouth off and,at times,relenting afterwards. Some years ago,he had criticised Shiv Sena Chief Bal Thackerays autocratic style of functioning and then made up with him. Recently,it went the other way round. During the Ganesh festival,Patekar said Thackerays son Uddhav and estranged nephew Raj should unite for the sake of the Marathi manoos. Raj,in his usual style,promptly dismissed the idea,saying Patekar knew nothing about politics and should not get into such things. Later,however,Raj appeared to have second thoughts and visited Patekars house for a darshan of the latters Ganesh idol. It might have been the realisation that Nana was voicing a popular sentiment of the Marathi manoos.
more equal than others
Here is yet another manifestation of how those in power follow the maxim,all are equal,but some are more equal than others. For implementing various schemes under the Gramin Dalit Vasti Sudhar Yojana,Rs 30 crore was spent by 28 MLAs from various parties. The average allocation was Rs 50 lakh per MLA,but ministers including Rajendra Gavit,Manohar Naik,Hasan Mushrief,Padmakar Walvi,and influential MLAs like Sunil Kedar,Dilip Sananda and Ramesh Bagwe got Rs 1 crore each. The highest allocation of Rs 5.50 crore was claimed by Social Justice Minister Shivajirao Moghe,followed by Rs 2 crore by Youth Congress chief Rahul Gandhis aide Rajiv Satav,MLA from Kalmanuri (Hingoli).