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Sunday, May 31, 2020

Delhi confidential: Tightrope Walk

After MHA guidelines on the next phase of lockdown came out, there was a buzz in Railways over whether there was enough leeway to run more trains. Voices from within the system favoured running some 500 regular, multi-class trains daily as commercial services so that those stranded could go home in larger numbers.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi | Updated: May 18, 2020 5:51:50 am
The BJP is struggling to accommodate interests of both groups to facilitate an early expansion soon.

Almost four weeks after a clutch of ministers were inducted into the Shivraj Singh Chouhan government in Bhopal, fresh pressure is being mounted to expand the council of ministers. The pressure is coming from Jyotiraditya Scindia loyalist MLAs who quit their seats to facilitate the BJP government. They need to be in positions of power to deliver results before going for re-election. But this has got the BJP in a quandary. Their induction would mean a virtual announcement of them (ex-Congress MLAs) as candidates, leaving the BJP candidates up in arms. The BJP is struggling to accommodate interests of both groups to facilitate an early expansion soon.

Not Yet On Track

After MHA guidelines on the next phase of lockdown came out, there was a buzz in Railways over whether there was enough leeway to run more trains. Voices from within the system favoured running some 500 regular, multi-class trains daily as commercial services so that those stranded could go home in larger numbers. While more special trains are likely to start soon on select routes, there were doubts in some sections on whether the guidelines prohibited suburban train services along with metro. States like UP have requested electrical multiple units to be run locally to ferry migrants over shorter distances. The official decision, however, was that regular resumption of services would have to wait.

Reading the Meeting

State-level secretaries came out of a meeting with Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba at 9 pm on Sunday none the wiser for the purpose. Gauba had called a meeting after the MHA issued guidelines for lockdown 4.0 two hours prior to the meeting. But one secretary said that it mostly consisted mostly of reading out the guidelines that were already distributed. “Perhaps they have decided that come what may, there must be a video conference on Sunday,” one secretary said.

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