On Saturday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is addressing a public meeting organised by the Madiga Reservation Porata Samithi (MRPS) at the Parade Grounds in Hyderabad as part of the BJP’s outreach to Scheduled Caste (SC) communities ahead of the November 30 Telangana Assembly polls.
The MRPS has been demanding a separate numerical survey of Dalit castes and the provision of quotas commensurate with their numerical strength.
According to the MRPS, some SC sub-caste groups like the Malas have more political influence and have “cornered” the quotas, leaving the more populous Madigas on the sidelines. During the meeting, Modi is expected to speak on the plight of the Madigas and woo them with the assurance of looking into the community’s demands.
This is Modi’s second visit to Hyderabad in a week. On November 7, the PM had addressed the ‘BC Atma Gourava Sabha (backward classes self-respect meeting)’ in Hyderabad, where he continued the BJP’s outreach efforts towards Backward Class (BC) communities and reiterated the party’s promise to name a BC Chief Minister if it came to power, as reported by Sreenivas Janyala.
“I can sense that Telangana is ready for a BC CM as the BJP will come to power in the state. The winds of change have started blowing,’’ Modi said. His statement came 10 days after Union Home Minister Amit Shah first made such a declaration in the state.
The BC event was also attended by actor-turned-politician K Pawan Kalyan, who heads the Jana Sena Party (JSP), an NDA ally. The bonhomie displayed by Modi and Kalyan is a possible signal that the JSP may be accommodated in a seat-sharing arrangement for the polls.
BJP’s Madhya Pradesh campaign
In Madhya Pradesh, where voting for the Assembly polls will take place on November 17, the ruling BJP is set to release its manifesto on Saturday. Party president J P Nadda will release the document along with CM Shivraj Chouhan, state unit chief V D Sharma and Union Minister Narendra Singh Tomar, who has been named as a candidate from Dimani.
The BJP will hope to match the Congress’s manifesto, which was released on October 17. In its ambitious manifesto, the Congress had promised Madhya Pradesh’s own Indian Premier League team, an artificial intelligence centre, a promise to conduct the caste census, 27% OBC reservation, and sops for women, farmers and the unemployed youth, as reported by Anand Mohan J.
In particular, the Congress had focused on women and farmers. Mirroring the pro-women policies of the Chouhan government, the Congress promised to provide women a monthly stipend of Rs 1,500, LPG gas cylinders for Rs 500, and Rs 2.51 lakh to girls from birth to their marriage under the ‘Meri Bitiya Rani Yojana’.
For farmers, the Congress promised loan waivers, free five horsepower electricity for irrigation, waiver of electricity bills, and support price of Rs 2,600 for wheat and Rs 2,500 for paddy, promising to increase it up to Rs 3,000.
As the BJP launches its manifesto, Amit Shah is expected to address several rallies in the state’s Malwa region. His visit will cover four Assembly constituencies – Manawar, Gandhwani, Badnawar, Dhar and Depalpur. Shah’s last visit to the state was on October 28, for a three-day tour of the state to steer the party’s MP campaign, and assuage leaders and party workers unhappy over ticket distribution.
Pro-Palestine rallies in Kerala
The ruling Left Democratic Front’s CPI(M) is set to organise a series of Palestine solidarity events across the state on Saturday. While CM Pinarayi Vijayan is expected to attend the event in Kozhikode, the party has also invited several Muslim organisations, including the Samastha Kerala Jem-iyyathul Ulama, an influential body of Muslim scholars.
The CPI(M) had also extended an invite to the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML), a leading ally in the United Democratic Front, but the party has declined it given that it’s a member of the Congress-led Opposition. The CPI(M) has used this to build a narrative that the Congress is increasingly at odds with the Muslim party, as reported by Shaju Philip.
The CPI(M) also used the announcement of the rallies to attack the Congress, saying the party does not have any intention of organising any Palestine solidarity event, which was evident from the show cause notice issued by it to its leader Aryadan Shoukath, who took part in such an event recently. On Thursday, though, the Congress announced its own solidarity rally on Kozhikode on November 23.
Also read: The Neerja Chowdhury column. Chowdhury, contributing Editor, The Indian Express, has covered the last 10 Lok Sabha elections. She is the author of the recently published How Prime Ministers Decide.
– With PTI inputs