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MyVoice is to lift up the voices and experiences

MyVoice is to lift up the voices and experiences
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MyVoice is to lift up the voices and experiences

BJP-NCP Maha sandcastle bound to crumble

Indeed, the Friday midnight coup to clinch power in Maharashtra by the BJP left the State stunned, splitting parties and in the case of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), dividing families.

In a stunning Saturday surprise, the country woke up to visuals of BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis taking oath as the Chief Minister of the State and Nationalist Congress Party's (NCP) Ajit Pawar as his deputy being played out on their cell phones and news channels.

The political coup pulled off by NCP leader Ajit Pawar in Maharashtra is eerily similar to the one scripted by former Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu to dethrone his father-in-law NT Rama Rao in 1995. Both the regional parties — the NCP and the TDP are family-driven and run by their patriarchs with an iron grip.

Like Ajit, who rose under the tutelage of his uncle and party founder Sharad Pawar, Naidu was the backroom strategist of the TDP under the watchful eyes of NTR, a towering personality who strode the tinsel world and Andhra politics like a Colossus.

Both Ajit and Naidu chose the midnight muhurat to spring a surprise on their political godfathers and break away from the party with a major chunk of party legislators supporting them.

It was on the midnight of August 16, 1995 that Naidu, who was then the Finance Minister in his father-in-law's Cabinet, held a secret meeting with the TDP legislators at a luxury hotel in Hyderabad and got himself elected as the party leader while NTR had no clue of the impending disaster.

Overnight, NTR, who founded the TDP in 1982 on an anti-Congress plank and stormed to power nine months later, found himself unseated from power and stripped of the party president's post. Similarly, none in the Shiv Sena-Congress-NCP camp had any inkling of junior Pawar's plans even as the leaders were engaged in a series of meetings, stretching late into Friday night.

What is more intriguing is that Ajit was present at some of these meetings convened to discuss the contours of the government formation in Maharashtra. If Naidu led the revolt against his doting father-in-law to take over the reins of the party and the State, Ajit has engineered a split in the party to share power with the BJP.

Their tactics have been similar — scheming, secretive and waiting for the right moment to strike. So is the equation with their mentors — reverential in public but aggrieved in private.

The news flash is the latest twist in the high voltage political drama that has been ongoing in Maharashtra since October 24, when the Assembly elections results were declared.

Nevertheless, the political jolt seems to have left not only ordinary people of the State reeling under the early morning shock, but even political party leaders are said to be stunned by the overnight political shenanigans behind the events that unfolded with BJP leader Devendra Fandavis back in the saddle, as of now.

The haste, the secrecy, the fact that the Governor did not check whether Ajit Pawar really had the support of 54 NCP MLAs –- all point to another model of power grab that the BJP has perfected over the past few years.

The BJP has used bribery, threats, friendly Governors, horse-trading and a bagful of dirty tricks to seize power in several States despite the people's mandate going against it. The BJP-led Central government has also used various Central agencies like the Central Bureau of Investigation, Enforcement Directorate, Income Tax Department, etc. to threaten and coerce Opposition parties and its leaders into submission.

The party, which claimed that it would root out corruption and provide a different governance than the Congress, has apparently turned out to be much worse.

In the past, the BJP has grabbed power in various States like Arunachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Bihar, Goa, Manipur, Meghalaya, Karnataka and Haryana since 2014 without winning a majority.

Although the BJP claims that it provides stable governments, in many of these States the BJP-led or BJP-participating governments are castles built on sand. In Karnataka, for instance, bypoll results might upturn the new BJP government.

In Maharashtra, the newly sworn in government of two members will need to face a floor test and it is unlikely that they will win it.

Of course, the BJP hopes to somehow wean away some MLAs to join them – or they can adopt the Karnataka model to get them disqualified. Whatever be the case – these sandcastles are bound to crumble sooner than later.

J Lakshmana Rao, NGGOs Colony, Visakhapatnam, AP

Let's wish good luck to Fadnavis, Ajit Pawar

The BJP quietly turned tables on power greedy Shiv Sena and its leader Uddhav Thackeray. Uddhav Thackeray rightly paid penalty for his single-pointed agenda of making his politician son Aditya the Chief Minister, mortgaging the legacy of his father Bala Saheb Thackery.

His filial love knew no bounds and he wanted to grab power for his son who is a greenhorn in politics, joining hands with diabolically opposite ideological parties - the Congress and NCP. Basically it is against the mandate given by Maharashtra voters.

It is good augury and the economic capital of India Mumbai's status and the honour of Maharashtrians is revived with the Devendra Fadnavis taking oath as the Chief Minister for the second time.

Fadnavis' performance as the Chief Minister of the State is flawless against the ever sulking partner Shiv Sena. He was able to complete 5-year rule successfully and won back the majority verdict in the Assembly polls.

He richly deserves to occupy the throne of the Chief Minister of the powerful State. It is now time for Shiv Sena and the Congress to lick their wounds as they are outsmarted by the BJP and the NCP. Let us all wish good luck to Fadnavis and Ajit Pawar.

Rama Krishna M, Kakinada

Horse trading of the highest order

It is rather surprising to hear the overnight developments in Maharashtra politics. The BJP with the help of a sizable NCP MLA's has formed the government. It is a cold-blooded murder of democracy.

It is an assault on democracy and misuse of power. This has come at a time when the Shiv Sena, the NCP and the Congress were coming to terms for the formation of a government. This is nothing but naked horse-trading. People repose faith and elect their representatives.

Deceiving the party and the people, our representatives change their colours like a chameleon according to the highest offer they get. Politics has come to a low ebb. Really Ajit Pawar deceived the NCP. The anti-defection law does not speak well during the time of such a crisis. It is silent and not strict.

No representatives should be allowed to change their affiliation after the elections. Those who want to change their affiliation after the elections must be made to quit their position and seek re-election.

A revisit of the anti-defection law has become a must. Who will bell the cat? Will the political class sign their own death warrant? The apex court should take cognizance of the situation and do the needful to have a meaningful law on defections.

Sravana Ramachandran, Chennai

Jagan should shun his belligerence

It seems that YSRCP is still in the hangover of its landslide victory in the Andhra Pradesh Assembly elections held in May 2019.

There is a mammoth responsibility on the shoulders of that government to set up a proper capital city. Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy, brushing his malaise on his bête noire N Chandrababu Naidu, has to send waves of enthusiasm across his Cabinet and behave like a torchbearer to develop an already framed capital city of (Amaravati) by the previous government of the TDP.

Driving away of investors like UAE's LuLu group, Adani and Reliance, Asia's Pulp and Paper (Indonesia) and not renewing viability gap funding agreements (VGFs) with Indigo Airlines and revoking contracts already executed by the TDP, and doing away with the then government's initiatives, portray his belligerence and negativity.

When a State or its capital is formed amidst chaos and is still in the period of incubation, there needs to be a well-designed plan to help it nurture so as to reap all the benefits that either the national or foreign investors.

Foreign investment is the need of the hour for the capital of AP as such investment creates innumerable employment opportunities and infrastructure. When questioned about his stand in shooing away the investors, AP CM has been vindictive in saying that it all demands a course correction as those policies and schemes are not so approachable.

If unemployment spikes, the government comes forward with doles to satiate the people and counts it as a brownie point to garner appeasement from the public.

It is high time for the all the AP CM's Cabinet of Ministers, supporters and party men to know the peril that is fast approaching to cloud or impede the development of Andhra Pradesh and its capital in terms of unemployment.

Madhulika N, Hyderabad

AP's anti-English medium brigade is anti-poor

At present, there are more than 20,000 private English medium schools in Andhra Pradesh. They are not suddenly erupted. These schools are in existence for many years. Only the number of English medium schools may vary year by year.

But the existence is since the pre-Independent period. All those who argue now that the school education has to be in mother tongue should have opposed whenever the government granted permission to private English medium schools.

Dear protesters, why were you silent all these years? Why did you allow the number of English medium schools to increase? You are silent because the rich are getting benefits out of it.

Now that a similar benefit is extended freely to the poor, you are not able to digest the idea. The existence of about 20,000 English medium private schools is clear evidence that the protesters' problem is not with the introduction of English medium schools but the availability of English medium education to the poor and common citizens of this country.

This is not a new problem. Bh Krishna Murthy, an eminent Telugu linguist, in his essay (1990) on 'The Regional Language Vis-à-vis English as the Medium of Instruction in Higher Education: The Indian Dilemma' explains that "the optionality of medium gave rise to two streams of students, those with the English medium having a definite advantage over the regional language medium students, both in employment and in postgraduate education.

Students from a regional language medium have found it difficult to switch over to English at the postgraduate level. Therefore, instead of becoming an advantage, the regional language medium, in almost all cases, became a handicap to those who had opted for it.

This trend has led to a greater importance being given to English medium right from the primary stage."

W Ronald Langacker an American linguist and professor emeritus at University of California, (1968) argues that "if the child is regularly exposed to two languages, he will probably learn both; moreover, he will, by and large, succeed in keeping the two linguistic system separate, which is a considerably achievement in itself.

It has been observed that adults are not capable of learning a language in the natural, spontaneous way that children are. For the adult, learning a foreign language usually involves great effort and seldom results in perfect mastery of the new idiom".

A K Srivatsava, in an article on "Multilingualism and School Education in India" (1990) powerfully presented the fact that "even though English is spoken and understood by only 2% of the population, it occupies a dominant position in the country as the prestigious language.

Language serves several interests of the people- economic, developmental, scientific and cultural - and it appears that more than any other Indian language, English better serves these interests.

Therefore, English as instructional medium which develops all-round higher competence in the language than its study only as a subject in the curriculum, is well reinforced by society.

The study of English as a MI (medium of instruction) has become a social value, which every schoolchild, if he can afford, aspires to inculcate. And only the children from upper and middle socio-economic status can afford this education, thus perpetuating the elitist tradition and rule in the Indian educational system."

As it is evident from the above arguments by various scholars that a child can learn two languages easily; it is better the dissidents of English medium schools to allow the economically and socially disadvantaged children in Andhra Pradesh to enjoy the benefit of English medium instruction without becoming hindrances to their advantage.

Instead of becoming anti-poor, you shout for a good education system with proper fore-grounding, efficient teachers and favourable conditions. If this is not possible, you may start Telugu medium schools.

The government does not deny permission for Telugu medium schools by private firms. Or else it will be proved that you are worried about the closure of Private English medium schools.

Thummapudi Bharathi, M R Palli, Tirupati, AP

Centre should withdraw NRC Bill

This is in response to the 'NRC across India: Shah tells Rajya Sabha' (THI, Nov 21). It shows how desperate is the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJPs) top brass to make inroads into the West Bengal ahead of 2021 Assembly elections.

The BJP's electoral strategy and tactics may not give the required votes in the State of West Bengal. Apart from its regular religious, identity and polarised politics, the BJP does not have the effective State leadership to put up the challenge in the State.

The recent verbal fight between the Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and Prime Minister Narendra Modi indicates personal over professional and developmental politics.

BJP is heavily banking upon consolidating the Hindu vote share through contentious NRC and Citizenship (Amendment) Bill and special emphasis on Muslims.

Consisting of nearly one third of the State's population, Muslims vote is going to play a key role in the BJP's electoral success.

Although, the political narrative focuses on TMC-BJP as main contestants, but the performance of the Left and Congress parties has the potential to determine and changing the power equations.

The big conundrum is that the NRC exercise in Assam was fired back to the BJP and its poll tactics. Union Home Minister Amit Shah's statement on extending the NRC exercise in other parts of the country needs to be understood from the perspective of State politics.

It is surprising to note that the government has not learnt the appropriate lessons from the NRC exercise in Assam. Rather than leaving back the project, the government wants to extend it in all the States is only to strengthen the consolidation of Hindu votes.

We are living in a democracy with rich experience of seven decades of a beautiful secular Constitution. Without the active involvement and support of all the State governments, how can the elected Union government can take initiatives such as NRC?

This is in contrary to the cooperative federalism which the BJP has mentioned in its election manifesto. The decline in the efficacy of parliament and Assembly is correlated with the rise of majoritarian government.

The government must withdraw the idea of implementing NRC in the country as it not only causes huge loss to the public money but also has the potential to create social divisions as witnessed in Assam.

The people of the country have given a huge electoral mandate for the BJP to do the politics of social transformation but not for sectarian politics.

Nayakara Veeresha, Nagarabhavi, Bengaluru

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