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The stage was set. The nation was expecting Devendra Fadnavis to return as the Chief Minister of Maharashtra. However, in a surprise turn of events, Shiv Sena rebel leader Eknath Shinde was sworn in as the new CM and Fadnavis as the Deputy CM. What came as a surprise was the about-turn by Fadnavis. Shortly after he told a press conference that he would not be a part of the government, the central leadership of the party said Fadnavis would be joining the government.
But what led to this unusual public display of confusion by a party that emphasises on planning and discipline? Even if Fadnavis appeared to be not in the know, sources said, the BJP kept Shinde in the loop throughout. According to the sources, the party felt that having a strong BJP leader at the helm was the only way to ensure not just better policy-making, keeping a hold on the bureaucracy and pushing the agenda of the government, but also providing a stable government.
However, what did the BJP achieve by giving up the CM’s post? The saffron party killed several birds with one stone by letting Eknath Shinde lead the government. It was a strong rebuff to the Uddhav Thackeray-led group’s contention that the BJP had pulled down “a Sena CM”; it sent a message about the BJP’s largeheartedness in accommodating allies; and it is set to help the BJP in the coming BMC polls.
Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and his deputy Devendra Fadnavis, in their first Cabinet meeting held after assuming power, overturned the previous Uddhav Thackeray-led government’s decision of moving the Metro 3 car shed from Aarey in Mumbai. The move to shift the car shed from Aarey has been a major bone of contention between the Shiv Sena and its former ally BJP. A day after taking over reins of the state, Thackeray, on November 29, 2019, had overturned Fadnavis’ decision to build the car shed at Aarey.
Opining on the shift of power, Suhas Palshikar writes: The fall of the MVA government has broader implications beyond Maharashtra. It has discredited efforts of Opposition unity, underscored the crisis of the state parties and, above all, signalled the expansion of the BJP’s ideological claims.
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Explaining the demolition of the house of Javed Mohammad, an activist and accused in the protests against remarks on the Prophet, the Uttar Pradesh government told the Supreme Court that it did so after receiving a complaint about “illegal construction” — and an office in the building visited by “anti-social elements”. The Indian Express visited the mohalla at J K Ashiana Colony in the Kareli area of Prayagraj and asked 30 residents within a radius of 400m from the demolished house about the complainants. Fifteen of them declined to comment, saying they feared government action. The other 15 responded: all of them said they did not know who the complainants were, and had never heard of them being local residents.
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As the BJP tries to expand the party to states where it has no or little presence, as part of its 2024 Lok Sabha poll plans, the focus of its National Executive starting Friday in Hyderabad, sources said, would be southern states and a message of “dynasty-mukt Bharat”. The three-day conclave will include a meeting of general secretaries on Friday evening and one by office-bearers on Saturday morning, apart from discussions lasting two days on the political and economic agenda of the party.
‘Ecosystem’ has become the BJP’s go-to word both to fend off criticism and for self-praise. The latest instance was on June 5, when Amit Shah used the word to describe what had followed the 2002 riots. “BJP’s political rivals, journalists who came to politics for ideology, and some NGOs together publicised the allegations. They had a strong ecosystem so everyone started believing lies to be the truth,” he said in an interview with ANI. Not just in context of the violence and protests, the BJP across ranks has taken to using the word “ecosystem” in all situations – from introducing the government’s policies to attacking its rivals – including Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Five years after the introduction of GST, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman writes on the rise of the unified taxation system: “GST has eliminated the tax arbitrage that existed among the states under the CST/VAT regime. An intrusive control system, involving border check posts and physical verification of goods-laden-trucks, played havoc resulting in loss of time and fuel. As a result, the logistics chain for the movement of cargo, even within the country, could not acquire scale and efficiency.”
From today, the ban on single-use plastic items announced by the Ministry for Environment, Forest and Climate Change comes into effect. Dr Ravidra Khaiwal, Professor of Environmental Health, PGI, Chandigarh, explains why this step is needed to maintain public health and the ecosystem.
🔴 Why? Single-use plastic is a source of pollution and poses various health hazards.
🔴 What are some of the items being banned? For everyday use, the ban applies to: plastic sticks used in earbuds; cigarette packs; plas- tic flags; candy and ice creams wraps; poly- styrene (thermocol) used in decoration; bal- loons, plastic glasses, cups, plates, cutlery and trays; packaging or wrapping films around invitation cards; sweet boxes; plastic or polyvinyl chloride banners less than 100 microns; and plastic stirrers.
Between the Oval Test in September last year and the Edgbaston Test that begins on Friday, the world, both real and sporting, has changed. The Indian captain is out of the game after testing positive for Covid-19 and a stand-in has been named; eastern Europe has become a battlefield; Australia finally became the T20 World Cup champions; two new teams were formed in the IPL and one of them lifted the trophy; both England and India have a different coach and captain; there is a full crowd in the stands. So vast the changes have been that the Edgbaston Test seems not so much a decider as a standalone fixture.
🎧 In today’s episode of the ‘3 Things’ podcast, while the world debates about the US Supreme Court’s landmark Roe v Wade judgement, we take a look at India’s abortion laws.
Rounak Bagchi and Rahel Philipose
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