President Ram Nath Kovind is known to be a compulsive workaholic. Sunday was his birthday, but the President did not take leave from his official duties. Instead, he flew to Maharashtra on the state government’s invitation for the inauguration of the Shirdi airport, and then to Mumbai for a function where Maharashtra was declared open defecation free. Savita Kovind, the First Lady, accompanied the President on his birthday.
Politics Of Disaster
When disaster struck the Elphinstone Road railway station, politicians from across parties scrambled to be on the scene, realising the stakes involved. Some of them, including ministers, even took a tour of the KEM Hospital wards where medical aid was being administered to those injured in the tragedy. Medics and families of some patients were heard complaining how this “disaster tourism” had hampered relief work.
The Wounded Minister
Word in the corridors of power is that Pankaja Munde is furious over the Ahmednagar district administration denying her permission to hold the annual Dussehra rally at the Bhagwangad shrine, a tradition started by her father Gopinath Munde in 1993. While the district administration cited law and order measures for the denial of permission, Munde’s close aides see it as “an attempt by the chief minister to clip her wings”. Pankaja and Namdeoshastri Sanap, the mahant at the shrine, have been at loggerheads over holding a rally, in what is widely perceived as a struggle for supremacy over the Vanjari community. Pankaja reportedly feels slighted that she was denied permission despite being a minister.
Former chief minister Narayan Rane has an uncanny ability to weather controversies. So, on Sunday, when he announced his own political formation that is expected to extend support to the NDA, an intense debate ensued in the political circles over the fate of the inquiries in which his name figures. While a couple of allegations against him have been raised after the Devendra Fadnavis government was elected to power, there are whispers in the corridors of power that inquiries in these matters would now go cold.
Left In The Cold?
Anganwadi workers in the state have been on a strike since September 11. Infants and lactating mothers in tribal and slum settlements are facing the brunt of the strike. But apparently, netas couldn’t care less. Since the strike broke out, no minister in the Devendra Fadnavis cabinet has cared to visit the impacted belts for a first-hand account of the gravity of the crisis. The same goes for senior bureaucrats overseeing departments responsible for administering the anganwadis. This has led to questions being raised over the government’s seriousness in fixing the crisis.
September 30, the chief minister’s deadline for completion of the probe inquiring into the allegations of graft and irregularities against senior bureaucrat Radheshyam Mopalwar, has elapsed. But sources confirm that the inquiry headed by former Maharashtra chief secretary Johny Joseph is nowhere near complete. Devendra Fadnavis has recently appointed on the inquiry panel IPS officer R D Shinde, who is incidentally from Nanded, the same place Mopalwar comes from.