Subsidised cylinder count divides allies
A month after the Union government announced annual cap of six subsidised LPG cylinders per family,the ruling alliance in Maharashtra has not been able to agree on a formula on how many additional cylinders the state government should provide at home. State Congress president Manikrao Thakre has asked the government to provide three additional subsidised cylinders per family while NCP leaders have asked for a total 12 a year. A cabinet meeting was inconclusive and the issue could not be resolved even in a coordination committee meeting. If cooperative banks can be given bailout packages,let the finance minister work out the expenses for extending this subsidy, said a Congress leader. NCP leaders said the CM is not issuing clear orders of what the food and civil supplies or finance department should do.
The All India Majlis-e-Ittehad-ul Muslimeen (MIM),a little-known,Hyderabad-based political party,and its leader MP Asaduddin Owaisi have stunned the Congress with a spectacular rise in the recently concluded Nanded Municipal Corporation polls. Congress ministers who campaigned in Nanded had predicted at least 50 seats but the party managed only 41,while the MIM increased its tally from one seat to 11. The Congress has suffered setbacks in both Mira-Bhayander and Nanded,a wake-up call to try and reclaim its minority vote. We cannot take a radical stand regarding minorities. We can only focus on development issues and we will be making efforts in those lines, said a Congress leader of the minority community. The Thackeray cousins stayed away from campaigning in the region.
Whenever the border dispute with Karnataka hots up,all parties in Maharashtra sing in one voice. The Shiv Sena was the first to urge President Pranab Mukherjee not to inaugurate the Karnataka legislature building in Belgaum. The dispute relates to the status of over 800 villages in the Belgaum-Karvar region. The Sena was soon joined by the chief minister and PWD minister Chhagan Bhujbal. BJP leaders too opposed the inauguration. The state legislature has witnessed adjournments and passed unanimous resolutions asking the Karnataka government to maintain status quo until the Supreme Court takes a decision on the matter. The inauguration took place as per schedule and protesting leaders of the Maharashtra Ekikaran Samiti representing Marathi-speaking residents of Belgaum had to spend a day in jail.
Mill workers housing
Two meetings,a hunger-strike and several months of deliberations to work out a formula to provide houses to mill workers have yielded little,except for Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavans promise of a resolution soon. For over three decades,workers of defunct mills in Mumbai have been fighting for houses. The Shiv Sena and the MNS,who had marched over this issue,were not part of the agitations this time. Earlier this month,a delegation of mill workers met the CM and returned dissatisfied. They decided to stage an indefinite hunger strike and were called for another meeting. It was during this meeting that the workers were assured of a solution soon.