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Maharashtra: Oppn urges Guv to declare ‘wet-drought’ in flood-hit areas



 A delegation of Opposition leaders led by Leader of Opposition Ajit Pawar on Tuesday called on Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari and urged him to declare a ‘wet-drought’ in many of the flood-ravaged Vidarbha and Marathwada regions.

The delegation submitted a memorandum to the Governor with a list of demands to expedite relief to the farmers and villagers hit by the fury of floods.

“The government must announce an assistance of Rs 75,000/hectrare to all farmers affected by heavy rains or floods and immediate aid of Rs 1.50 lakh/hectare to all farmers who have suffered damages to their fruit orchards,” said Pawar.

The Opposition demanded waiver of education fees for all students in traditional and professional colleges in these areas for the academic year 2022-2023.

Since a large number of farm labourers in Vidarbha-Marathwada region are on the verge of starvation due to lack of work and wages since the past two-three weeks, the government should consider their plight and provide a one-time help to them.

Pawar said that paddy is the main cultivation of the people in the tribal areas and the erstwhile Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) had extended subsidies to the tribals last year, and urged the present government to provide similar subsidies on priority even this year.

The Leader of Opposition recounted his experiences during the 4-day tour of the flood-hit regions when he witnessed farmlands eroded or washed out and covered with silt, making the lands infertile and unfit for agriculture for several years and concrete measures must be taken restore these lands at the earlier with adequate financial assistance.

The flood waters accumulated in fields and orchards has led to massive damage to cash crops like soyabean, sugarcane, bananas and other fruits resulting in a crisis of sowing this year and the farmers must be given options for re-sowing in a short span during the current crop season, said Pawar.

Many drinking water and agriculture wells have collapsed, washed out or got exhausted due to clogging and they must be allowed repairs under the government scheme of MNREGA.

Ditto is the situation with drip irrigation with the irrigation sets washed out in the floods, many have been damaged and the farmers should be given subsidies to reinstall them on an urgent basis.

Besides a large number of domestic and farm animals have been washed away or perished, and help must be given to their owners on priority.

There has been a huge damage to the roads and bridges infrastructure in the Vidarbha-Marathwada regions with most rural, district and other major roads in a terrible condition that has left many villages cut off from the local administration and urged these roads to be repaired by the government.

The Opposition delegation also demanded urgent repairs to the collapsed power distribution system, the crisis arising out of loans availed by the farmers for the Kharif season and demanded a complete waives of these debts, rebuilding the damaged or destroyed homes and barns of the villagers, plus the schools, colleges or government buildings that have been hit in many areas.

Pawar has also slammed the government of Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis for the huge delay in expanding the cabinet that has left the state administration paralysed and neglecting the immediate needs of the flood-hit farmers and villagers.


Maharashtra ATS to enforce further crackdown on PFI after Centre’s ban




The agency has so far conducted raids in 12 districts in Maharashtra, arresting and detaining scores of people linked to the Islamist organisation
Following the central government’s imposition of a five-year ban on the Popular Front of India (PFI), the Maharashtra anti-terrorism squad (ATS) is planning to enforce a further crackdown on the organisation in the state, a senior officer said on Wednesday.“Relevant action has been initiated against the PFI in Maharashtra in accordance with the Centre’s ban this morning. We are getting details of their offices, members and bank accounts,” the officer said.

The agency has so far conducted raids in 12 districts in Maharashtra, arresting and detaining scores of people linked to the Islamist organisation. Sources said that more arrests are likely to happen in the days to come based on interrogations of the accused arrested so far.
The Union home ministry’s move banning the PFI and its affiliates under Section 3 of the stringent Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act will be referred to a tribunal for adjudication, whether or not there is sufficient cause to declare the organisation “unlawful association”, people familiar with the procedure said.

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Uddhav vs Shinde: SC allows EC to decide which faction is real Shiv Sena




In a big setback to Uddhav Thackeray’s faction, the Supreme Court on Tuesday declined to stop the Election Commission from deciding the claim of Eknath Shinde group to be the real Shiv Sena.

After a day-long hearing, a constitution bench headed by Justice D.Y. Chandrachud dismissed the interlocutory application filed on behalf of Thackeray’s faction. The apex court’s decision is very significant in view of the impending Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation elections, where both Shinde and Thackeray factions would like to contest the poll.

The bench — also comprising Justices M.R. Shah, Krishna Murari, Hima Kohli, and P.S. Narasimha — said there would not be any stay on the proceedings before the Election Commission on intra party dispute and ‘bow and arrow’ symbol of the party. “We direct that there would be no stay of the proceedings before the Election Commission of India,” it said.

Senior advocates Kapil Sibal, A.M. Singhvi and Devadatt Kamat represented the Thackeray’s faction. Sibal submitted that Shinde cannot approach the EC once he has incurred disqualification, saying “I challenged the very locus of the person who moved the EC”.

Sibal clarified that Shinde has incurred disqualification as his various acts amounted to “voluntarily giving up membership of the party” under the Tenth Schedule, and he also violated the party whip, which is also covered by the Tenth Schedule.

The Thackeray camp vociferously argued that since disqualification of Shinde and the MLAs supporting him was pending, therefore EC cannot consider their application over the party and the symbol. However, the top court declined to entertain this contention.

Senior advocates Maninder Singh, Neeraj Kishan Kaul, and Mahesh Jethmalani, assisted by advocate Abhikalp Pratap Singh, argued for the Shinde faction.

Senior advocate Arvind Datar represented the Election Commission.

Shinde’s faction counsel argued that under Article 324 of the Constitution, the EC possesses plenty of powers to deal with any situation which arises in relation to political parties and several party members have sent their representations to the EC supporting the Shinde group.

Kaul submitted that the nature of enquiry under Tenth Schedule and the Symbols Order are different.

Shinde’s faction counsel claimed a hopeless minority sought to remove him from the party, and contended that the Speaker, under the Tenth Schedule, has to exercise power to determine disqualification of a member and he cannot decide on the split or merger within a political party. Shinde faction counsel vehemently argued that a party member’s right to move the EC cannot be taken away.

The EC counsel argued that it worked independently, and its functions are different when compared with the Speaker. The counsel added that it can decide who held the majority in the party.

Shinde and his faction had rebelled against Thackeray, which forced him to resign as Maharashtra Chief Minister.

Shiv Sena’s General Secretary Subhash Desai had moved the apex court saying that Shinde and other MLAs, have purportedly initiated proceedings under para 15 of the Election Symbols (Reservation and Allotment) Order, 1968 (Symbols Order) seeking to be recognised as the “real Shiv Sena” by the EC. Desai added that they are also claiming the right to use the election symbol of “bow and arrow” allotted to Shiv Sena.

Thackeray faction claimed that since the disqualification matter is pending in the apex court, Shinde faction are trying to illegally cobble up numbers and fabricate an artificial majority in the organisation.

The apex court, on July 11, asked the newly appointed Maharashtra Assembly Speaker not to go ahead with proceedings on the disqualification petitions.

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Both Shiv Sena groups welcome SC decision




Both Shiv Sena factions – led by ex-CM Uddhav Thackeray and Chief Minister Eknath Shinde – welcomed the Supreme Court decision on Tuesday allowing the Election Commission to decide on the ‘real Shiv Sena’ and the allotment of the iconic bow-and-arrow symbol.

In his first reaction, Shinde said he humbly welcomed the apex court decision and reiterated that his faction is the “real Shiv Sena”.

“In a democracy, the majority counts and we have that majority in the assembly, a majority of the MPs are supporting us. All decisions taken in the country are based on the Constitution, laws and procedures. We have not done anything to flout any laws and we have formed this government also on the basis of the laws. We were expecting this decision,” he said.

Shiv Sena ex-Minister Aditya Thackeray said that “this is not a relief” as claimed by the Shinde group leaders, while MP Arvind Sawant said that this decision is part of the legal procedures, and the whole country has witnessed the court proceedings.

“This is neither a shock nor relief to any side. The SC has now asked the ECI to take a decision in the matter. The ‘traitors’ have not got any victory as they are claiming. Now we shall present our case before the ECI. We have full faith in the judiciary,” said Thackeray Jr.

Terming it as “the first blow to Uddhav Thackeray” with more to come, Shinde said that they had full faith in the EC, even as several other leaders his Group hailed verdict rejecting the Sena’s plea for a stay on the ECI on the rival group’s claims before it.

Nationalist Congress Party state President Jayant Patil, Sena leaders like Anil Desai, ex-Minister Anil Parab and others also said that they accept the SC verdict and will now present their case strongly before the EC.

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