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Showing posts from January 26, 2020

Arvind Kejriwal & I

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By Vijaya Pushkarna It was a couple of days after Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal decided to gift women free rides in buses run by the Delhi Transport Corporation ( DTC) . I want to take a bus and see what it feels like, I told the husband. You won't have to buy the ticket; otherwise the ride will be like before, he told me, trying to talk me out of it. He was doing that because he would have to buy a ticket while I won't have to, I said, almost throwing a tantrum. We got into the bus. The conductor was attending to some men who were buying their tickets. I jostled my way through them, asking for my pink ticket. “Mujhe ek pink ticket dijiye please" I said twice in ten seconds. I could not wait to lay my hand on the ticket I had read about. These men were looking at me like they had never seen a woman claiming her right to a pink ticket before, I whispered to the husband. They have not, this is new, he said, in a tone I did not quite like

Food for Thought

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By Vijaya Pushkarna When Chief Economic Adviser Krishnamurthy V Subramanian called a  chapter on prices of food items, “Thalinomics”  in the Economic Survey 2019-20, he was not doing something economists  before him have not done. And it is not just economists who have used food as the idea and tool to make people understand something that could have been complex otherwise. Perhaps that is why the phrase, food for thought! The Economic Survey has  looked at  food prices through the lens of the multi-dish plated meal called "thali" across India during the last 15 years.  A few years ago, former RBI Governor Dr Raghuram Rajan used the humble and ubiquitous dosa that has gone,global to explain inflation.In the course of the C D Deshmukh lecture he was delivering at the National Council of Applied Economic Research, he called it " dosa economics".  Rajan said he got letters from many pensioners asking him how they would  manage  their food expenses

Take a 10-day break, Shaheen Bagh

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By Vijaya Pushkarna Should the Ladies of Shaheen Bagh give themselves  a break till voting for Delhi assembly ends on Feb 8? The  Thursday incident at Jamia where a 19_ year old shot at protesting students, could be a  sneak  preview of what could happen at Shaheen Bagh in the coming days. His battle cry was "Yeh lo Azadi" . Fortunately no one was killed. Such violent incidents  will give the Home Ministry reason to cite failure of law and order , dismiss the AAP government, impose President' s rule and most importantly postpone elections that don't seem to be going in BJP' s favour. The BJP has made the sit in that has become __ to borrow from union law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad' s  description  of Shaheen Bagh __ a text book case , its only issue in the Delhi assembly elections campaign.  Without an alternate and better vision for the capital territory, and unable to discredit the AAP' s work on the ground effectively, the saffron pa

An amendment that was required

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By Vijaya Pushkarna Remember the heart wrenching story of the   10-year old in Chandigarh? She complained of tummy ache, and the doctors told her mother that the child was 30-weeks pregnant. Her two uncles had raped her for months without let up. Let us call her Nikki –in Punabi it means little girl, and is a common pet name for girls. The Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act,1971 (MTP) did not allow   her an abortion on many grounds–she was underaged, not married, and above all, she was more than 20 weeks pregnant. The story of the 12-year old who does not know that she is the mother of a two and a half year old baby given away in adoption, is not rare, said the Supreme Court of India. Since Nikki’s is not a one off story, the Union Cabinet’s approval on Wednesday, of an amendment to the 50-year old abortion law, will address a human issue as much as gender issue. The amendment will also place the law in the context of real and contemporary Indi

BJP's Dangerous, Divisive Slogans

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By Vijaya Pushkarna The BJP's efforts at polarising communities ahead of the Delhi elections, has a larger design to it.The hate speech by  Minister of State for Finance, Anurag Thakur, at a rally  on Jan 27 has been taken note of by the Election Commission of India. But the next day, things only got more crass, with other BJP leaders speaking hate, in their own language. My take on Thakur and his party's strategy

BJP's polarising tactics to win Delhi

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By Vijaya Pushkarna Union Home Minister Amit Shah is the lone star in the Bharatiya Janata Party   skies as fierce campaigning for the Delhi assembly elections on Feb 8 gathers steam. The party has no tall leader from the Capital territory in the contest, and though confident of   victory, and it has shied away from projecting a possible chief minister. The reason for Shah and not the current BJP President Jagat Prakash Nadda leading the charge against incumbent Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal and the Aam Aadmi Party, is a no brainer. In the past whenever the saffron party worked to throw out opposition parties in state assembly elections, a recurring assertion would be – if the state and the Centre have the same party in office, coordination becomes easy, funds will flow etc. The party, after all , could not tell the voters that if they elected a non-BJP party, the Modi government would not coordinate, would obstruct flow of development funds etc. This time

Shaheen Bagh celebrates Republic Day

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By Vijaya Pushkarna Some moments will always be remembered long after they have gone deep down into history.Some moments of this morning belonged to that category. All roads have been leading to Shaheen Bagh in Delhi , the last six weeks. But today even the bylanes and service lanes led to Shaheen Bagh , the protest site was the venue. It was where  the real Republic Day celebrations could be seen. People watching the Tricolour unfurl  neither needed security, nor had to be screened for anyone's security. The flag pole was taller than any other in the city. And visitors did not have to buy a ticket either! The spirit of democracy, the celebration of India's Constitution, and the oneness of our people shone through and through. The flag was hoisted by three "dadis" of the place and Radhika Vemula, mother of Rohit Vemula The celebrations included a mass pledging of allegiance to the Constitution of India. The video was shot and voiced over by senio