The Centre’s assurances that it will bring an ordinance to strengthen the Prevention of Atrocities Act has cut no ice with Dalit and Adivasi groups, who are now gearing up for a Bharat Bandh on August 9 — on a scale bigger than the one held in April. While the promises had been made by two Cabinet ministers — Thaawarchand Gehlot and Ram Vilas Paswan — the Social Justice Ministry, headed by Gehlot, has not yet come up with an ordinance. The minister has also indicated that it has no plans to bring in any Bill to this effect in the upcoming Monsoon Session of Parliament and will wait for the Supreme Court ruling.
Keep your friends close and your enemies closer, goes the saying. The National Health Agency — secretariat of Ayushman Bharat — has gone ahead and done exactly that by reaching out to the Indian Medical Association (IMA). Officials met IMA office-bearers who have been critical of the Ayushman Bharat package rates. The two sides agreed to differ on the rates but to work together.
New And Leaking
Less than five months after it was inaugurated, the BJP headquarters seemed to have failed to stand the first test of Delhi’s monsoon. Leaks emerged in different spots of the building’s ceiling within an hour after the spell of sharp showers began on Friday. The cleaning staff were busy wiping and mopping as water came down through staircases — on the ground-floor corridor, they placed buckets to avert any mishap. The leak had apparently hit the plant room, and the centralised air condition system could not be operated to prevent any short-circuit issues. The staff brought in a handful of pedestal fans to the hall where a press conference was held.
The Congress’s talks with the BSP and other parties to arrive at a seat-sharing understanding for the forthcoming Assembly elections in Madhya Pradesh has not reached anywhere. The party is keen to have a tie-up in Chhattisgarh as well, but BSP supremo Mayawati surprised the Congress by meeting Ajit Jogi instead. Rajasthan Congress president Sachin Pilot believes the party does not need any alliance to defeat the BJP in his state. Amid all this, Congress president Rahul Gandhi has called state unit presidents and AICC leaders in charge of these three states to Delhi for a meeting on Saturday to take stock of the party’s election efforts and sort out the alliance issue.