It may be noted that with the big elections knocking the door, each party is trying out new way to appease the common mass. Whether it is with their developmental model or by their corruption removal funda, every party has designed their set of strategies to bring out the most number of votes into their bag.
Keeping this flame alive Congress also conducted a new way to increase their vote banks. On January 20, the Union Cabinet agreed to grant the Jain community the status of a 'national minority'. Jains are the followers of an ancient faith that is often confused to be a sect of Hinduism. They lead a life on the path of non –violence towards all living beings. The process of declaring them as minority was firstly pushed by the minority affairs minister K Rahman along with Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi. The Jain Samaj leaders had spoken to Rahul about the long pending demand on the minority status of Jains and had also requested him to look into the matter and support the cause.
A day ago Rahul Gandhi spoke to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh regarding the matter to grant minority status to the Jain community. Soon after the meeting the proposal was passed and Jain community became the sixth religious minority community after Muslim, Christian, Sikhs, Buddhist and Parsis. This minority tag will help the Jain Community to avail benefits in government schemes and various governmental programs under the minority quota.
After the cabinet arrived at the decision, Minority Affairs Minister K Rahman stated that his ministry will issue a notification that will help them to manage and administer their own educational institutions. Under Article 30, the Jains can manage their own educational institute without any interference. Jains are a very small community and have about 50 lakhs of population. They are mostly engaged with business and are very prosperous and cultured people. With this minority status, Jains will promote and protect Jainism as a distinct faith and culture. Under Article 25 and Article 26 any community can propagate their religion and they have the freedom to manage their religious affairs. This brings a self-identity to them. Jains are already enjoying minority status in some states like Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan.
Just before lok sabha elections such a decision has uplifted the benefits of Congress party to the next level. It can be said that this will put an extra advantage on their vote banks easily.
Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) is having a hard-hitting week. Criticism, allegations, lack of experience and major and minor threats have encircled the party entirely. It was just a day ago that Delhi police had received threat alerts from Indian Mujahideen to abduct Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal for release of Yasin Bhatkal. But Arvind Kejriwal was undaunted with such serious threats of terror attacks and decided to sit on a dharna on Monday, January 20 outside Rail Bhavan demanding the suspension of five policemen.
The episode started last week when Cabinet Minister Somnath Bharti conducted a raid on the African residents in Khirki village. The women on whom raid was conducted filed a complaint against Bharti for detaining them and molesting them on the night and used abusive language against them. The government accused the women as a part of the prostitution and drug racket and demanded their arrest. The minister was also charged with passing of racist remarks against the Africans. When asked Bharti who is an active member of AAP about the incident, he clearly denied and stated that he will someday prove them as a part of drug and sex racket of South Delhi. Kejriwal accused the policemen of defying Delhi law minister Somnath Bharti's order to arrest the Ugandan women and to show his protest against it, he went for a dharna.
The dharna drew Delhi chief minister fierce criticism from both Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Congress. BJP called the protest as 'anarchic and a gimmick'; while Congress commented that government cannot be run from the streets. Arvinder Singh, Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee president described the move of Kejriwal as unconstitutional and that he is trying to protect his ministers. He added that Kejriwal cannot draw line between running a government and activism. Union Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde asked Kejriwal to maintain the dignity of the office that he holds and that he should cooperate with the police and wait till the judicial probe is over. BJP leaders also commented on such a move to be a 'mock fight' between AAP and its ally. They admitted that the issues raised by AAP were important but the way it was highlighted was not at all acceptable. All India Congress Committee (AICC) secretary Sanjay Nirupam asked Kejriwal to stop the 'drama' which he is doing for several days and to concentrate on governance.
When asked, Arvind Kejriwal admitted to be an anarchist and that the suspension of five police officials is only what they want. He soon changed his demand from suspension of the cops and asked to grant transfer orders to them. Later changing his decision again Kejriwal stated that he would not settle less than police department being placed under Delhi government. Finally he settled down for paid leave of two policemen till the enquiry report of the incident is submitted by the judicial committee.
It will be interesting to watch that how Kejriwal does a fine balance between activism, populism and governance. Another feature of his poll promise which was regarding Mohalla committees under the sawarj initiative would pan out over the entire country if the mob or vigilante justice would be encouraged by the government itself. Print and TV media are keeping a good watch on each activity of AAP and on Arvind Kejriwal for now.
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Rahul Gandhi has been opted out from the race of PM nominee of the party. The party in its AICC meet has not declared the name of its PM nominee for the next elections and this has raised doubts in the political circle of the nation. BJP has proclaimed that Rahul does not stand in comparison to Modi and thus the Congress has held him back to avoid loss of face for Rahul in the next elections.
Congress on Friday, January 17 came up with the decision of not making Rahul Gandhi its next PM nominee. The decision arrived in the crucial All India Congress Committee (AICC) meet. The party leaders have met to finalize the strategies of Lok Sabha elections of 2014. When every party member was strongly recommending Rahul Gandhi to be PM nominee for the next elections, Sonia Gandhi intervened against it. Later, Rahul Gandhi was appointed as the poll campaign chief to conduct coming general election campaign of the Congress party.
Earlier Rahul Gandhi in an interview to a Hindi daily stated that he is a sepoy of the party and so he will perform efficiently the duties that the party allots him. Such a statement came close to confirmation that the party has decided on its next PM candidate and this meet will officially declare its name. But things changed on January 17, when the party decided Rahul Gandhi not to be the next nominee for PM race. When asked about such a decision, Congress spokesperson Janardan Dwivedi told reporters that though many of the members in the CWC wanted Rahul Gandhi should be the Prime Ministerial candidate, but after a debate Sonia Gandhi interfered in the discussion. She said that Congress do not have any tradition of disclosing the PM nominee, as others have done it.
This decision gave a free hand to r to BJP to comment on it. Rajnath Singh, BJP president said that this Congress decision indicated that they have already accepted Modi to be the next prime minister of the nation. The BJP leader further stated that Congress is aware of impending defeat in the next elections and this has restricted them from naming Rahul Gandhi as its next PM nominee. Rahul Gandhi does not stand anywhere in comparison with Narendra Modi and thus they have stepped back. Arun Jaitley remarked that Congress has assumed that they are not going to form the government and so there is no need to announce a PM candidate.
After a great suspense regarding confirmation of Rahul Gandhi to be next PM nominee, this sudden change in decision by the party and Sonia Gandhi's statement of not accepting Rahul for the position has given rise to lots of doubts in the minds of party people. It is assumed largely that Congress has been affected highly by the increasing popularity of Modi and Kejriwal, and that they find no hope of victory in this session, this fact has made them change the decision. Though Shashi Tharoor, Union Minister is not ready to accept the reason for party's back foot on Rahul's being the nominee and said that Rahul is already in the battlefield and the party expects very good chances of winning.