After ruling state for 52 years, Congress struggles to recapture Maharashtra
One of the few states that was once considered a Congress stronghold, Maharashtra slipped out of the Congress grip first in 1995 and then in 2014, and the party now struggles to make a comeback fighting all odds, within and outside.
The Congress has ruled the prosperous west Indian state for 52 years since it was founded on May 1, 1960 — either solo, or through alliances, or via one or the other breakaway factions.
It was in 1995 that the sun first set on the party and the first real non-Congress government of Shiv Sena-Bharatiya Janata Party alliance came to power and governed a full term.
The Congress bounced back in the 1999 Assembly elections, with a reduced majority, formed an alliance with the breakaway Nationalist Congress Party (NCP-1999), and they ruled for 15 years.
During the BJP wave unleashed by Narendra Modi, who became the Prime Minister in 2014, the Congress-NCP government was also washed away.
After five years, in 2019, it rebounded as an ally in the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government comprising Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress, which was toppled after two-and-a-half years, while the party grappled with severe ‘leakages’ at various levels.
“The problems largely started around a decade ago when the BJP took recourse to caste-communal politics, subverting institutions, false narratives, raising irrelevant matters while ignoring the real and burning problems of the economy, inflation, unemployment, farmers, women, youth, etc,” said Congress working President Naseem Khan.
He argued that now the people have realised the hollow claims of the Modi regime and are gradually veering around to clean, ethical, values and issue-based politics that Congress represents.
Khan denies that the state Congress is crumbling and pointed to its growing influence in the past few years at local, state and national levels, indicating how its mass support base remains largely intact.
A former four-time Congress MP feels that the state unit is plagued by infighting — as in other states or even at the national level — for which it had to pay dearly in 2014, and joining the MVA in 2019 was a ‘compromise’ to keep the BJP at bay.
“Many state leaders remain busy on social media, give lousy TV bytes or issue bland statements that are ignored� Instead, they must go for ‘mass-connect’, reach out to understand people’s grievances, open channels with other like-minded parties, take up public-oriented campaigns etc., since modern-day politics is very different from the pre-2000 era,” he said, requesting anonymity.
A present state office-bearer confided how the current AICC Maharashtra in-charge, S.K. Patil, is reportedly adapting “a lackadaisical approach, barely communicates in Hindi or rarely goes beyond Mumbai, cutting himself off from the ‘actual ground problems’ afflicting the party organisation”.
“Earlier, some of the AICC in-charges (like Mallikarjun Kharge) could even communicate in Marathi, would crack the whip during crises, tour different parts of the state, interact with district-level workers, and keep their fingers on the pulse of the party and the people,” he pointed out.
Mumbai Congress North Indian Cell Vice-President V.P. Singh feels many ‘inefficient or disinterested’ persons have been foisted both in the party at various levels, affecting the party workers’ morale and creating more rifts that are exploited by the opponents, citing various examples.
“What we need is to rebuild the party at the booth level with committed activists who will strengthen the district, the state and the national-level organisation. This aspect has been lost as many leaders prefer greenhorn sycophants over experienced performers with mass outreach,” rued Singh.
Khan confidently asserted that the Congress is readying for the Assembly polls, whenever they are held, and is optimistic of regaining its numero uno status soon, both in the Assembly and Parliamentary elections.
Fortunately, most leaders are buoyed by the ongoing Bharat Jodo Yatra led by Rahul Gandhi and the Indian National Congress Presidential elections, with a united chorus that it would do “a sea of good and invigorate the party from bottom to the top” for future challenges.
“The response to Rahulji across the BJY route is phenomenal and has ‘electrified’ the entire party. By the time it is completed, the Congress will re-emerge as a major force to reckon with in the 2024 elections� Already certain actions of the BJP betray their deep worries,” said Khan.
Several other party leaders at different levels echo similar sentiments, and strongly express the need “to rebuild the party on a war-footing”, opening party offices at the village levels (rural) or ward levels (urban), counter or expose the government policies at all levels, aggressively woo the media, and top national leaders should tour different states regularly for feedback.
In conclusion, notwithstanding the conviction by many leaders, the Congress in the state indeed faces a tough challenge to resurrect itself to its preeminent status — before it ‘leaks’ afresh�
Mumbai News: BMC successfully repairs dilapidated pipeline on Khairani Road using CIPP technology
The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has accomplished its mission to stop leakage in a 30-year-old, dilapidated pipeline on Khairani Road at Kurla (West) after three months of dedicated efforts. The repair work took place on Saturdays from March 4 due to the high population density in the area.
With the use of cured in place pipe (CIPP) technology, the work has now been completed, significantly prolonging the life of the 1200 mm diameter and 800 mm long water main.
The Khairani Road pipeline has faced multiple bursts due to its old and deteriorated condition. It is responsible for supplying water to Sangharsh Nagar, Subhash Nagar, Bhanushali Wadi, Kulkarni Wadi, Durga Mata Mandir, and other areas along Khairani Road. The pipeline had severe corrosion at various points, leading to frequent leaks. Replacing the pipeline was not feasible due to the narrow road, heavy traffic, and the presence of various utilities.
A challenging task
To address this issue, the hydraulic engineering department of the BMC opted for the cured in place pipe (CIPP) method to strengthen the inner part of the water channel. CIPP is a trenchless rehabilitation technique used for repairing existing pipelines. The nature of the work made it challenging for the civic team, as the project required 10 days to complete.
However, due to the presence of utilities beneath Khairani Road and the heavy traffic, the BMC devised a plan to conduct one-day isolation on Saturdays over a period of 10 weeks instead of continuous isolation. Each Saturday, an 80-meter stretch of the pipeline was rehabilitated. The entire 800-meter length of the water main was strengthened and completed by March 27, according to a civic official.
Mumbai Weather: IMD predicts party cloudy sky until Tuesday; AQI continues to be good
Mumbai would see party cloudy skies for the next 48 hours with no major hope for rainfall, the India Meteorological Department said in its weather report on Sunday. Since the last few days, the city has been witnessing a pleasant weather in comparison to the earlier days of the month which were sunny and humid.
On Monday, May 29, Mumbai recorded a temperature of 29.2oC and humidity of 79% in the morning hours of the day. However, the forecast noted that the maximum and minimum temperatures very likely to be around 35oC. & 28oC respectively until Tuesday.
Due to cloudy sky and drizzles in the city recently, Mumbai breathed ‘good’ quality air post May 25. Since the last 3-4 days, the city recorded AQI below 50 which made it appear in the ‘good’ category, as per the System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR).
For context, an AQI between 0 and 50 is considered ‘good’, 51 to 100 is ‘satisfactory’, 101 to 200 is ‘moderate’, 201 to 300 ‘poor’, 301 to 400 ‘very poor’, and 401 to 500 ‘severe’.
AQI of different areas in Mumbai
Tragic! Brother-Sister duo drown in Dombivali lake while bathing their dog; pet survives
In a shocking incident a brother and sister drowned in a Davdi lake in Dombivali on Sunday afternoon when they were giving a bath to their pet dog. The incident took place because both were unable to gauge the water level in the lake. The Fire brigade officials and Manpada police officials soon reached the spot after getting the information. Manpada police have taken the body of both the deceased into their custody.
The brother and sister have been identified as Ranjith Ravindran (23) and Keerthi Ravindran (18).Yashwant Ghangale, sub-station officer, Dombivali, MIDC said, “Ranjith Ravindran and Keerthi Ravindran used to live with their father and mother in the Umesh Nagar area of Dombivli West. Ranjith was in his final year of MBBS while Keerthi took admitted to class 12th this year. Parents had gone to the village for personal work. The family have a pet dog and the brother and sister every Sunday used to take the dog for a bath at Davdi Lake near Dombivli on their scooter.”
Ghangale added, ” When Keerthi was giving a bath to the dog her leg skipped and she fell into the lake and started drowning. When she was drowning her brother Ranjith jumped to save her but unfortunately, both drowned in the water. One of the passersby saw that there was a dog and scooter outside Davdi Lake and so he informed the Manpada police station. The police reached the spot and we along with our team removed the body of Keerthi and Ranjith from the lake and handed it to police officials.”
An investigation officer from the Manpada police station said, ” We have registered the accidental death report (ADR) and further investigating the case.”
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