Following the reverses it suffered in by-elections for Gorakhpur and Phulpur Lok Sabha seats, the BJP is taking no chances in Kairana.
UP chief minister Yogi Adityanath, who had the mortification of seeing his home constituency of Gorakhpur won by a joint opposition candidate, has stepped up campaigning and is addressing public meetings on almost a daily basis.
Kairana Lok Sabha constituency, along with the Assembly seat of Noorpur, will have election on May 28.
The CM’s campaign will be topped by a meeting by Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself. Just a day before voting takes place, after the campaigning comes to a halt on May 26, PM Modi will address a meeting in Baghpat nearby, while inaugurating the Eastern peripheral expressway. The poll code does not apply in Baghpat and opposition’s objections to Modi’s program have been dismissed.
BJP’s candidate for Kairana is Mriganka Singh, whose father Hukum Singh’s death has led to this bypoll. Apart from Adityanath and his deputy, the BJP has thrown in at least five other state ministers into the fight for Kairana: Dharam Singh Saini (minister of state for Ayush), Suresh Rana (Sugarcane Development) Anupama Jaiswal (Basic Education) Surya Pratap Shahi (Agriculture) and Laxmi Narayan (Religious Affairs, Culture, Minority Welfare, Muslim Waqf and Haj).
Dharam Saini and Rana are MLAs from Nakur and Thana Bhawan assembly segments of the constituency. Anupama Jaiswal is the minister in charge of Shamli district, while Surya Pratap Shahi is the minister in charge of Saharanpur. “Laxmi Narayan Chaudhary has been roped in, since he hails from a farming background,” media reports quoted a senior UP BJP leader as saying.
Apart from this, BJP MPs Sanjiv Baliyan, Raghav Lakhan Pal, Vijay Pal Singh Tomar and Kanta Kardam are also actively campaigning for Mriganka Singh.
Opposition parties too are going all out for victory. Efforts are on to present a larger united front on a national level against the BJP for the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, an exercise that received a boost after the Congress-JD(S) alliance in Karnataka.
In the 2014 parliamentary elections, Hukum Singh bagged 5,65,909 votes, defeating SP’s Nahid Hasan who got 3,29,081 votes. In the 2017 UP Assembly elections, Nahid Hasan defeated Mriganka by 21,162 votes.
Now, all eyes are on these by-polls. The joint opposition candidate in Kairana is Rashtriya Lok Dal’s (RLD) Tabassum Hasan. Her party’s national vice-president Jayant Chaudhary has been regularly visiting the constituency since the announcement of the polls and is likely to remain in Kairana for the remaining few days till the end of the campaign.
Tabassum, wife of former BSP MP Munawwar Hasan, is being backed by the Samajwadi Party, Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), Congress and Nishad Party to take on the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Kairana.
On Thursday, May 24, the opposition got a boost when Lok Dal candidate Kanwar Hasan, who was contesting against his sister-in-law and RLD nominee Tabassum Hasan, withdrew from the contest. Kanwar Hasan also announced his support for the Tabassum.
This could help unite the minority vote in favour of the RLD, could make the going tough for Mriganka Singh, the BJP candidate.
While the BJP has thrown in a host of leaders and ministers into the campaign, the opposition is projecting this as a sign of the jitters in the ruling party, which recently lost Gorakhpur Lok Sabha seat vacated by Yogi Adityanath himself when he became chief minister.
“By sending so many ministers to a parliamentary constituency during a bypoll, the BJP has clearly displayed its nervousness,” SP spokesperson Sunil Singh Sajan said. “Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav is likely to hold one election meeting during the bye-elections, and his one meeting will prove to be quite enough for the BJP,” he boasted, according to a media report.
Apart from Akhilesh Yadav, SP’s UP chief Naresh Uttam is extensively touring the constituency. “The party has deputed leaders and workers up to the booth level in these bye-elections,” Sajan said.
UP Congress spokesperson Ashok Singh also took potshots at the BJP over the party’s deployment for the campaign. “Sending five ministers for campaigning in a single parliamentary constituency during the bye-elections only display a lack of confidence among the BJP leaders and workers ahead of the election,” he said.
“I feel that a strong anti-BJP message will go to the entire country from here for the 2019 Lok Sabha polls,” he added.
Reports from the ground in Kairana says communal polarisation is palpable in the area where BJP ran a campaign alleging mass exodus of Hindus due to Muslim aggression, a charge refuted by several independent reports.
Historically, caste and farmer’s mandate have been the two main factors impacting Kairana’s electoral outcome. A media report estimated that of nearly 16 lakh voters in the constituency, 5.5 lakh are Muslims, 2.5 lakh are Dalits (mostly Jatavs), 1.5 lakh are Jats, 2 lakh are Kashyaps, 1.4 lakh are Gujjars, 1.2 lakh are Saini and the remaining are constituted by voters from the communities of Brahmins, Banias and Rajputs.
The BJP is aiming for the upper castes — the vote banks of Brahmins, Banias and Rajputs and the wider ‘Hindutva’ vote.
Give the BJP’s track record in fomenting communal riots in the region, the Muslims could choose against the BJP.
Sugarcane prices and farmers’ dues from sugar mills are a major issue. The opposition parties are alleging that the government failed to clear the pending farmer’s dues with the sugar mills: the six sugar mills in the constituency, which reportedly bought sugarcane worth Rs 1,778.49 crore at the UP government’s State Advised Price (SAP) of Rs 315-325 per quintal, have pending arrears of Rs 807.22 crore, as of 18 May, according to media reports.
With Lok Sabha polls due next year, the winning candidate would serve as MP for less than a year. Yet, the electoral outcome here is seen as crucial in the build-up for the main battle.
AAP Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Singh arrested in connection with money laundering case linked to Delhi liquor policy
The Enforcement Directorate has mentioned Sanjay Singh’s name in its charge sheet. According to the investigating agency Dinesh Arora a middle man said he had met Singh during a party in his restaurant. The name of the restaurant is Unplugged Courtyard.
The Enforcement Directorate on Wednesday arrested Aam Aadmi Party Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Singh after searches were conducted at his residence in connection with the Delhi liquor policy case. The central investigating agency questioned Sanjay Singh for 10 hours before arresting him.
Houses of several people close to the AAP MP were also searched. The Enforcement Directorate had named Sanjay Singh in its charge-sheet. According to the investigating agency, Dinesh Arora, a middle-man, said he had met Singh during a party in his restaurant, Unplugged Courtyard.
Before leaving his home with the ED officers, Sanjay Singh touched his mother’s feet to take her blessings. Sanjay Singh’s father said they would cooperate fully with ED officials. He added he told his son Sanjay not to worry. He said the future was positive for them as the government will change soon.
AAP convener and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said the move showed BJP’s desperate measures as it stares at defeat in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections. Delhi Education Minister Atishi tweeted the BJP’s fear of losing to the INDIA alliance is clearly visible. She said Sanjay Singh worked for the people of Delhi and wondered why they don’t open an ED office in the AAP headquarters itself. Atishi added the BJP is surviving by making false allegations against AAP.
The Enforcement Directorate had arrested then Delhi Deputy Chief Minister and AAP leader Manish Sisodia in connection with the Delhi liquor policy case. Large number of comments from different political leaders of different parties started coming immediately. BJP MP Manoj Tiwari said the way the AAP leaders used to write letters it seemed there was no one as honest as them. Tiwari added the AAP leader’s co-accused have turned approvers. He said the flame will not end with Sanjay Singh, Manish Sisodia and Satyendar Jain but will reach Arvind Kejriwal as well.
Government hikes subsidy for Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana beneficiaries from Rs 200 to Rs 300 per LPG cylinder
Ujjwala beneficiaries are paying Rs 703 per 14.2 cylinder as against the market price of Rs 903. After this announcement they will pay Rs 603.
Union Minster Anurag Thakur announced the Central government has hiked the subsidy amount for Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana beneficiaries from Rs 200 to Rs 300 per LPG cylinder on Wednesday. Anurag Thakur said the subsidy will bring an additional financial implication of Rs 7680 crore for the financial year 2023-24.
Ujjwala beneficiaries are paying Rs 703 per 14.2 cylinder as against the market price of Rs 903. After this announcement they will pay Rs 603. The decision has been made one month after the central government reduced the price of the price of cylinders for domestic cooking gas by Rs 200 for all customers.
The Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY) was launched by PM Modi on May 1, 2016 in UP’s Ballia. The scheme aims to provide cooking gas like LPG to the people of rural India. The scheme focuses on offering LPG connections to women from disadvantaged groups, forest dwellers, Antyoday Anna Yojana (AAY), Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY), SC/ST communities and BPL households.
The Union Cabinet has approved the extension of PMUY for release of 75 lakh LPG connections over three years from the financial year 2023-24 to 2025-26. The 75 lakh additional Ujjwala connections take total number of PMUY beneficiaries to Rs 10.35 crore.
The decision to give additional subsidies for Ujjawala beneficiaries has come ahead upcoming elections in Telangana, Chhattisgarh, Mizoram, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan. Congress has repeatedly attacked the BJP government at the centre as it is an important issue. It was also a part of BJP’s election campaign in 2014 when Congress was in power at the centre. The decision has been taken by the Union government at a time when domestic LPG cylinders are available at a retail price of Rs 1103 per LPG cylinder.
Rasabali: Famous sweet dish of Odisha’s Kendrapara district gets GI tag
Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik took to X (formerly twitter) and said it is a matter of pride for Odisha to get the GI tag for Kendrapara Rasabali. Patnaik added Rasabali has special importance to tradition and food culture of Odisha.
The Geographical Indications Registry, Chennai under the ministry of Commerce and industry gave the GI tag to the sweet dish, which is known as Kendrapara Rasabali. Kendrapara Rasabali Mistanna Nirmata Sangha and the rural infrastructure development and employment department had applied for GI tag for Rasabali. They had submitted the supporting documents to the registry.
Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik took to X (formerly twitter) and said it is a matter of pride for Odisha to get the GI tag for Kendrapara Rasabali. Patnaik added Rasabali has special importance to tradition and food culture of Odisha. The origin of the sweet dish is from the 262 year old Sree Baladevjew temple. The presiding diety of the shrine is offered Rasabali as bhog. Rasabali finds its place among the chappan bhog at Shree Jagannath Temple in Puri.
The tag is a matter of pride for the sweetmakers. The recognition gives the product its own identity and image. Baishnab Panda, president of Kendrapara Rasabali Makers association was delighted and said the sweet will get better exposure now. Kendrapara’s Rasabali is one of the most delicious sweets in India. But it is not getting marketed properly due to poor export facilities and poor promotion.
Kendrapara Rasabali Mistanna Nirmata Sangh had prepared a dossier in the year 2021 in order to claim geographical identification tag for the sweetdish. Basudev Das a researcher of Kendrapara said the request had been submitted to the state government. The government further forwarded the request to the office of Geographical Indications Registry in Chennai.
The GI tag will help Kendrapara Rasabali to get more prominence in the market. This will in turn help the makers to fetch a better price for the sweetdish. According to NandaKishore Parida This GI certification will help in stopping the adulteration of Kendrapara Rasabali. As a result the sweet dish will fetch better prices in the market.