This Week Maharashtra: Congress challenged from within and without

As the state Congress prepares for an organisational overhaul and a cabinet rejig,various factions have got the knives out for everybody from Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan and state unit chief Manikrao Thakre

Written by Kavitha Iyer | Published: March 13, 2012 12:12:21 am

Congress challenged from within and without

As the state Congress prepares for an organisational overhaul and a cabinet rejig,various factions have got the knives out for everybody from Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan and state unit chief Manikrao Thakre to ministers in whose home districts the party fared poorly in the local elections. While some are petitioning New Delhi,others have thrown their hat in the ring for the chairs to be vacated. The big fear in the party is that the chief ministerial post may have to be ceded to junior partner NCP in the 2014 election. Meanwhile,the MNS has offered to support the Shiv Sena in the Thane Municipal Corporation. Surprised Congressmen have one more challenge: a reinforced opposition with the Shiv Sena,the BJP and the MNS,alongside the Samajwadi Party’s growing strength in Mumbai’s Muslim pockets.

Better half,equal rights

Among the bills being lined up for the upcoming Assembly session,one is about a proposed law to give women equal rights over her husband’s property. The draft matrimonial Property (Rights of Women upon Marriage) Bill,2012,will make it mandatory to acquire the wife’s consent before any transaction such as sale or lease of a man’s property. The Bill states matrimonial property includes movable and immovable items such as land,the man’s share of a joint family land or business,but excludes his jewellery,insurance money,etc.

Showing the way,again

Maharashtra,which prides itself for laws that are later replicated at the national level,is now set to show the way for strengthening Panchayati Raj institutions. The state’s Yashwant Panchayatraj Abhiyaan,say officials,is the precursor to the Centre’s Panchayat Sashaktikaran Abhiyaan. In addition,Union Minister Jairam Ramesh announced a Rs-12-crore national training facility for Gram Sabha members and other elected representatives from across the country in Hiware Bazaar,the somewhat less prominent ‘model village’ alongside Anna Hazare’s Ralegan Siddhi. Asked to compare Hazare with Hiware Bazaar’s leader,Popatrao Pawar,Ramesh said both villages are models for the country.

One agitation prevented

After incurring a bill of Rs 2,000 crore on a package for cotton farmers forced by Congressmen during the monsoon session of the legislature,the chief minister was quick to react to farmers’ protests after the Centre banned cotton exports. Faced with a bumper crop and slowing demand,Maharashtra’s cotton growers would be deeply impacted,he wrote in a petition to the Prime Minister,adding that a wave of discontent could ensue. The ban lifted,the government can expect one less agitation during the legislature session. Mumbai’s retrenched textile mill workers,though,will hold a mega-emonstration for houses for 1.40 lakh families.

Sportswomen feted

Three women kabaddi players came in for a surprise when the government announced a Rs 1 crore award for each. The girls,members of the side that won the women’s World Cup,have deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar to thank. Pawar,president of the state kabaddi association,had written to the chief minister demanding that the girls be treated on par with the cricket World Cup winning team’s Maharashtra players. Left with no choice,Chavan felicitated them,and promised Class 1 jobs for them besides a proper policy for felicitating sporting heroes.

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