Saturday, 1 October, 2022
HomePlugged InMaharashtra govt: TOI, HT, Express, Hindu confused on alliance; khichdi won’t work—Arnab

Maharashtra govt: TOI, HT, Express, Hindu confused on alliance; khichdi won’t work—Arnab

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Thursday wakes up to Home Minister Amit Shah’s declaration that the National Register of Citizens (NRC) will be implemented across India — the lead story in mainstream papers.

In other major news, the Union cabinet allowed Vodafone and Airtel to defer payments for spectrum purchases by two years. The Modi government is also all set to sell off its stake in five PSUs, including BPCL.

Nationwide NRC: The Hindu’s straightforward headline explains that “Centre plans NRC exercise all over the country: Amit Shah”; The Times of India and Hindustan Times also focus on the repeat NRC in Assam — “NRC will be conducted across India, repeat in Assam: Shah” (TOI) and “Another NRC in Assam with rest of India: Shah” (HT). The Indian Express says that more forcefully with, “Assam rejects NRC, Shah says will do it afresh across nation”.

Express carries two stories on the Assam NRC and the reactions of opposition parties to the announcement.

It notes that the BJP government in Assam said that it would not accept this NRC because “the final list excluded over 19 lakh people” and much to the “dismay” of the BJP “many were Hindus”. In the other report, it writes that “opposition-ruled states and parties spoke out against any pan-India NRC move”. Express quotes West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee saying “nobody can take away any person’s citizenship and make him or her a refugee”.

Vodafone & Airtel get lifeline: TOI, in a lead story on the flap, writes that the “beleaguered telecom industry” was given a Rs-42,000 crore “lifeline”. The news is not given as much prominence in other papers. HT, in a box report, provides the detail that the move follows “the Supreme Court’s October 24 ruling that directed the telecom firms to pay at least Rs 92,000 crore in past dues to the government”.  Oddly, Express chooses not to carry the news on page 1.

Stake sale: “The NDA government… decided to privatise three big PSUs — downstream oil major BPCL, cargo mover Container Corporation of India Ltd and shipping company Shipping Corporation of India Ltd”, reports Express.

Hindu adds that “the government will sell its entire 74.23% stake in THDCIL and its 100% stake in the North Eastern Electric Power Corporation”.

Maharashtra: The reports on Maharashtra are confusing and contradictory, rather like the present situation in the state. TOI writes that the Congress-NCP-Shiv Sena alliance might be formalised Thursday. Hindu, however, notes that differences have arisen among the three parties over the common minimum programme. Express says that NCP chief Sharad Pawar called on Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Amit Shah met the PM immediately thereafter, even as leaders of both Congress and NCP expressed confidence that “they would form a ‘stable’ government soon”. HT writes that the CM will be from Shiv Sena and a “big announcement” is likely to be made Friday.

Kashmir: Home Minister Amit Shah claimed in the Rajya Sabha that normalcy had been restored in Kashmir and “not a single person had been killed in police firing” since the revocation of Article 370, reports Hindu. Express writes that, according to the government, there were 5,161 preventive arrests after 4 August. In its headline, Hindu notes that the Centre said that the detentions were made in “national interest”.

Others: HT reports that hospitals threaten to stop “cashless treatments of millions of beneficiaries under the central government’s medical care schemes for its employees, pensioners and their families until timely reimbursements are made”.

In an odd choice for the front page, HT reports on soccer news from England: “Jose Mourinho, one of the most successful managers, was appointed… at Tottenham, with a brief to revive the fortunes of the club languishing in the lower reaches of the Premier League”.

Opinion

The Times of India: The government needs to carefully weigh the pros and cons of extending the NRC, writes TOI. A nationwide NRC could result in large-scale disruption as has been evident in Assam, where it created a mess and forced some individuals to even commit suicide. While Assam has a history related to NRC, other states don’t. Further, despite a limited context, the implementation of NRC has hardly proven successful, notes the daily.

Expanding NRC is akin to “asking 125 crore Indians to reapply for citizenship which is unprecedented anywhere in the world”. The government needs to tread with great caution over what could become a humanitarian crisis, suggests TOI.

The Indian Express: A teaser of a “political blockbuster” from Rajinikanth and Kamal Haasan has caused a stir in Tamil Nadu, writes Express. The idea of them joining hands has a potential to “turn the assembly election for 2021 into a gripping show”, which was predicted to be a boring affair in the absence of J. Jayalalithaa and M. Karunanidhi.

Express states that the two actors, who have usually offered issue-based politics, have been “vague about ideology” but neither of them has rejected the goals of Dravidian Movement, social justice and Tamil pride. However, speculations is rife that BJP may align with Rajinikanth and he can be projected as the face of a non-Dravidian coalition, it suggests.

Prime Time

Prime time news went all over the place Wednesday evening. CN News18 debated the potential Rajinikanth-Kamal Haasan alliance in Tamil Nadu while India Today discussed the Banaras Hindu University row over a Muslim professor teaching Sanskrit. And NDTV 24×7 continued with its interest in electoral bonds.

NDTV India, meanwhile, returned to Jawaharlal Nehru University and protests on fee hikes with students as panelists on the show. Zee News assessed the situation in Kashmir 100 days after Article 370 was revoked: anchor Aman Arora welcomed it as “Naye Kashmir ki century”.

Times Now: Anchor Padmaja Joshi asked who muddied Delhi’s waters on #DelhiPaaniPolitics after allegations surfaced about doctoring of water samples that were collected by the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution and then examined by the Bureau of Indian Standards. The agencies had found that Delhi had the poorest water quality among all Indian cities.

BJP spokesperson Aman Sinha said, “After Aam Aadmi Party has miserably failed in providing Delhi clean air and water, they’re now indulging in blame game.”

AAP claimed that some of the areas in the study were fake addresses.

Times Now also visited the residence of Consumer Affairs Minister Ram Vilas Paswan, whose address was mentioned in the 11 samples collected — the water was found to be clean. An exasperated Joshi asked, “Study hua ya nahin hua (did the study take place or not)?”

AAP spokesperson Jasmine Shah said, “This is an unprecedented event in the history of the Bureau of Indian Standards.”

Republic TV: Anchor Arnab Goswami returned to Maharashtra and the efforts to form a government. In #KhichdiWontWork, he asked if 17 Shiv Sena MLAs were about to quit the party.

BJP spokesperson Rajeev Panday reply was quite eloquent: “Shiv Sena na bhaag sakti hai na theher sakti hai… voh ab phas gayi hai.”

When panelists started to speak at the same time, Goswami called them to order: “Let me at least anchor my show.”

He then asked Shiv Sena’s Sanjay Gupta if National Congress Party leader Praful Patel had links with Iqbal Mirchi. “I cannot comment on this,” replied Gupta.

A shocked Goswami exclaimed, “What? You cannot comment on Iqbal Mirchi, Dawood Ibrahim’s right hand man?”

Aaj TakBHU students’ protests against a Muslim Sanskrit professor agitated panelists on “Dangal” with Rohit Sardana.

BJP’s Anila Singh came out in support of the students with a rather unconvincing analogy: “If I learn all the verses of the Quran… would I become a maulvi?”

Author Manoj Muntashir sarcastically asked Singh if she tried to discover a doctor’s religion before medical treatment.

Zafar Sareshwala, former chancellor of Maulana Azad National Urdu University, reminded everyone that the professor had been chosen by a selection committee under the University Grants Commission and the Ministry of Human Resources and Development.

“In many prestigious foreign universities, the department of Islamic studies mostly (has) teachers who are either Christians or Jewish,” he claimed.

ABP NewsLike Zee News, ABP News also celebrated “Kashmir mein shanti ka shatak (100 days of peace in Kashmir)”.

BJP’s Sudhanshu Trivedi reiterated that normalcy prevailed in Kashmir.

“More than 99 per cent students appeared for the board exams, recently… It has been the most peaceful curfew… No civilian has been killed by guns of security forces.”

J&K Muslim Personal Law Board’s Ahmed Ayaz was unconvinced by his observations: “If everything is fine then why is a large number of security forces deployed there… Why are shops closed by the evening… Why is attendance in schools still low?”

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