The states of the nation: news, headlines, gossip, rumours, things we learnt
In the end, it took a New York Times editorial on his “shameful silence” for Narendra Modi to speak out against cow vigilantism, two days in a row, in two states. But even there, the PM addressed only his “Dalit brothers” flogged in Gujarat, not Muslims lynched in Uttar Pradesh. He also drew a distinction between “fake” and “real” gau rakshaks. The RSS backed the PM’s “great leap forward”, but the VHP refused to play ball. Worthies in different states warned that the BJP would pay a steep price in the 2019 general elections for labelling 80 per cent of “cow protectors” as “criminal”. Modi’s detractors, though, guess it is only votebank politics of a different kind, with polls due in UP, Punjab and Gujarat.
Nitish Kumar seems to have let education and healthcare slide in his state even as he seeks to enforce prohibition, ostensibly for the sake of women. A women’s college in Jamui he had inaugurated in 2012 has shut down because the government provided neither infrastructure nor teachers. Out of 260 colleges in Bihar, only 45 are for women. Many parents in the state apparently hesitate to allow their daughters to study in co-ed institutions.
Bottling holy water in India makes great business sense. For both the unknown bottlers and India Post, it’s a win-win deal with bottlers delivering water—first from the Ganges and now also from the Krishna—to devotees across the country. The water need not be treated either. As many as 3,50,000 bottles of ‘Krishna water’ are being delivered to over 80,000 devotees in Andhra Pradesh at Rs 30 a bottle. Did someone say steal?
“Criminal tribes are cruel and they are rarely caught and punished,” tweeted Lt Governor Kiran Bedi. As a former top cop, felt outraged Adivasi activists, she should have known that the Raj-era law listing ‘criminal tribes’ had long been abolished. While the Adivasis voice their anguish (“I am a Kuruva and I am not a thief,” says an open letter) and the provocation for the tweet continues to be debated, Bedi herself has gone silent on the issue.
US-educated, married to an Ambani and a minister since 2002, Saurabh Patel is credited with the success of not just the annual Vibrant Gujarat summit, but also the remarkable growth of solar energy in the state. So when he didn’t find a place in Vijay Rupani’s council of ministers, it caused quite a buzz in the state’s political circles, with some speculating he would get a plum assignment in Delhi.
Fifty-seven dead and hundreds blinded, and only then did the PM break his silence, while the Centre told the Supreme Court all’s well in Kashmir and the army started doing flag-marches. Meanwhile, think-tank India Foundation, run by NSA Ajit Doval’s son Shaurya, held a conclave at Patnitop resort where it was said the situation is hardly as alarming as “presstitutes” were making it out to be.
Banks can take a leaf from the Bangalore Municipal Corporation on how to deal with wilful defaulters. Unable to recover Rs 31 crore as property tax despite court orders, the corporation threatened to dump garbage at the glass-and-chrome office of chip-maker Intel. Perhaps, banks can now pay the corporation to carry out the exercise at the defaulters’ doorsteps.