States Diary

Arvind Kejriwal

Kejriwal Wants Paper Ballot in Delhi MCD Polls

Amid growing chorus questioning the reliability of electronic voting machines (EVMs), Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal has directed chief secretary MM Kutty to write to the state election commissioner asking him to hold the upcoming municipal elections through ballot papers.

“The state government recommendation comes following requests from several political parties to hold local body polls through ballot paper, as is done in many states,” an AAP functionary said. Delhi Congress chief Ajay Maken also wrote to Kejriwal earlier today demanding the use of ballot papers instead of EVMs. “Serious doubts have cropped up in the minds of voters as to the free and fair nature of electoral process. We demand that these elections should be held using the traditional ballot system,” he wrote.

Aadhaar For Mid-Day Meal? Mamata Says No Way, Left Agrees

No Aadhaar card, no mid-day meal. That is set to become the new battle ground between Mamata Banerjee and the Centre. The West Bengal Chief Minister has described the move as “shocking” — her party hit the streets of Kolkata and her lawmakers will raise it in Parliament. Maneka Gandhi, Union minister for women and child welfare, has said there will be no problems but the Congress and the Left, for once, agree with Banerjee.

It is an emotive issue — the food on the plate for school children and those who benefit from the Integrated Child Development Services. Trinamool’s Mahila Morcha held a protest rally in Kolkata, which they said was the first of many to come. Party leader Chandrima Bhattacharya said, “The decision must be withdrawn immediately. Will children starve because of this anarchic policy of Modi government?”

BJP, Sena to Share Almost Equal Office Space at BMC

The Bharatiya Janata Party that got almost the same number of corporator seats in the civic body as the Shiv Sena did is likely to get a nearly equal-sized office space at the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) headquarters.

In March 2016, the civic administration had proposed that the new party office spaces be based on the number of corporators each party had.  “Now, the office space will be allotted based on the party’s current strength in the civic body. While work on the ground floor of the main building is near completion, we will have to redesign some office spaces based on the parties’ strength,” said an official from the city engineer department that looks after the maintenance of the BMC headquarters building, a Grade I heritage site.

Vaghela Raises Issue of Gangster Threat to Congress MLAs

Shankersinh Vaghela, the opposition leader in the Gujarat assembly has claimed that four Congress MLAs and party leader Gurudas Kamat were getting extortion and threatening calls from a gangster in the last two months. Vaghela, who raised this in the state assembly, told reporters that several Congress legislators, including senior leader Shaktisinh Gohil, CK Raulji, Amit Chawda and Meraman Ahir were receiving threats from notorious gangster Ravi Pujari.

Showing the text of message he received, Raulji claimed he had been asked to cough up Rs 10 crore or face the consequences. Anand councillor Pragnesh Patel was apparently shot by members of the Ravi Pujari gang. Vaghela said the Gujarat party incharge Gurudas Kamat received a call from Ravi Pujari in Mumbai. Minister of State for Home Pradeepsinh Jadeja told the assembly that the police were looking into the allegations made by Congress leaders.

Helpline for Fair Sex Soon in Himachal Pradesh, Says CM

Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh has said that the government would soon launch a women helpline number for their safety. Addressing a state-level function to celebrate International Women Day organised by the Department of Social Justice and Empowerment here, he said violence against women was an affront to the foundations of human rights, human decency and human dignity and the state government was committed to putting an end to it.

He said 20 percent posts of woman constable and sub-inspector had been mandated in the police force and there were five women police stations, besides four anti-trafficking units comprising women police force at Shimla, Mandi, Sirmaur and Kangra. “The State Women Commission and Nari Seva Sadan are working efficiently for ensuring security and justice to the womenfolk,” Virbhadra Singh added.

Lotus Blossoms in Manipur, Viren Singh Named New CM

Nongthombam Biren Singh, a former national level soccer player, is the BJP’s choice for chief minister in Manipur, the party announced, ending two days of speculations and a string of closed-door meetings since a split verdict in the northeastern state. A former minister in the Congress government, 56-year-old Biren Singh will be the first BJP chief minister of Manipur if the party forms the next government.

Manipur will be the third state in the region under the BJPsince its victory in Assam last year and underline the party’s growing acceptance in the northeast, for long a Congress stronghold barring Tripura, a Left bastion. “After extensive consultations and discussions….N Biren Singh has been elected unanimously as the leader of the party,” senior party leader and Union minister Piyush Goyal told journalists