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Ajit Jogi: Clever, confident and ever controversial – Obituary

However, the Congress could not retain the state in the state’s first Assembly polls in 2003 and the BJP, under Raman Singh, began a three-term stint.

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Raipur, May 29 : Ajit Pramod Kumar Jogi (1946-2020) will always be remembered as one who could have put his immense political and administrative acumen to better use to give Chhattisgarh a head-start as its first Chief Minister.

For his intellect and his communication skills in English, Hindi and Chhattisgarhi, he had few peers among the natives — the tribals and the Satnamis — who form the core population of the state. Chhattisgarh was essentially carved out as a new state in 2000 to catalyse the growth of the backward classes. His name did not figure among the contenders for the Chief Minister till ten days before the state was formed. He sprang a surprise by outsmarting the fancied players.

Jogi’s chequered political career was preceded by brief spells as an engineering college lecturer in Raipur and an IPS officer and a long spell as IAS officer.

His 1968 graduation batchmates from Bhopal’s Maulana Azad National Institute of Technology (then known as Maulana Azad College of Technology) remember him as a brilliant student who took his Mechanical Engineering degree, winning the University Gold Medal and never needing the reservation quota except while entering the engineering course.

His stints as IAS officer were marked both by innovative ideas and controversies. Almost after each posting, he faced charges of irregularities. He served as District Collector at Sidhi, Shahdol, Raipur and Indore. During his stint at Sidhi, he cultivated veteran Congressman Arjun Singh who mentored him for many years and guarded him against adversities.

The first case of financial impropriety was filed against him in 1980-81 when the Kodar dam was under construction during Jogi’s stint as District Collector in Raipur. He wriggled out without any damage. Arjun Singh happened to be the Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh then. But the case dragged on till the next decade before he was exonerated.

As District Collector in Indore in 1981-85, he was accused of amassing wealth and there was a raid by the Lokayukta. Arjun Singh was alleged to have played an important role in getting Jogi a Rajya Sabha nomination and a reprieve from the probe. Then Chief Minister Motilal Vora was too much in awe of Arjun Singh to resist him.

He subsequently left the IAS for politics, and had a long stint in the Congress organisation and a Member of Parliament before he rose to the helm in newly-carved out Chhattisgarh.

His confidence was exemplary. He would keep consulting media persons about the reforms to improve the lot of the socially oppressed classes.

As Chief Minister of Chhattisgarh, a significant contribution was to secure the interests of migrant labour force. He brought legislation to help the labour force headed to states like Punjab and Haryana during paddy transplant season. He wanted the landlords to insure the workers and see that they lived some dignity.

However, the Congress could not retain the state in the state’s first Assembly polls in 2003 and the BJP, under Raman Singh, began a three-term stint.

In June 2007, Jogi and his son were arrested in connection with the murder of NCP treasurer Ram Avtar Jaggi, who was shot dead in June 2003. But, five years later, the CBI said Jogi could not be prosecuted under any law. The BJP then alleged the UPA government misused the CBI to protect Jogi.

Jogi’s Scheduled Tribe status certificate issued by a Pendra tehsildar in 1967 kept haunting him till recent times. The issue has remained unresolved. Jogi challenged the adversaries both in the Congress and the BJP who would not let him wriggle out.

Jogi’s penchant for intrigues sometimes left a hilarious trail. In the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, he was contesting against Chandulal Sahu of the BJP in Mahasamund. In a close contest, Jogi lost by just over 100 votes. Surprisingly the second, third and even the fourth runners up were all named Chandulal Sahu. They were all independents.

The second and third runners up, between them, polled 28,000 votes. It was easy to guess who set them up to baffle the supporters of original Chandulal Sahu. Such smart moves did not always yield the desired result, though.

In 2015, some audio tapes were found featuring a year-old conversation showing Jogi prompting his own party candidate to pull out of the contest to help the BJP win the Antagarh reserved seat. Then Chief Minister Raman Sngh’s son-in-law Puneet Gupta allegedly brokered the pay-off. Congress office-bearers expressed shock over Jogi and his son’s involvement in the act. Congress had smelt a rat when party candidate Manturam Pawar had withdrawn from the contest.

On June 6, 2016, Jogi announced ending his association with Congress in the presence of his wife and son in Chhattisgarh. The party eventually had to jettison Jogi, who set up his Janta Congress Chhattisgarh. However, his party’s performance in the 2018 elections – in which the Congress swept back to power with a thumping majority – was sub par and it has little to brag about its status now.

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Aatmanirbhar Bharat: Tribal Affairs Ministry to ink 2 MoUs with KVIC

A Tribal Affairs Ministry source related to development said that the two MoUs will be signed later this week.

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Employment Generation programme

New Delhi, Jan 17 : Giving a major thrust to the government’s ambitious Aatmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan, the Tribal Affairs Ministry is all set to sign two MoUs with the Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) for procurement of Khadi fabric for tribal students and for partnering with KVIC in implementing the flagship employment generation scheme – Prime Minister’s Employment Generation Programme (PMEGP).

The ministry will purchase over 6 lakh metres of Khadi fabric worth nearly Rs 15 crore for uniforms of tribal students studying in Eklavya residential schools across the country.

As part of the second MoU, National Scheduled Tribe Finance Development Corporation (NSTFDC), an agency of the Tribal Affairs Ministry, will be roped in as KVIC’s partner in implementing PMEGP scheme. NSTFDC is an agency that provides concessional loan schemes for economic development of tribals in India for funding entrepreneurial ventures of aspiring scheduled tribes in all sectors of the economy.

A Tribal Affairs Ministry source related to development said that the two MoUs will be signed later this week.

The MoUs are in line with the government’s Aatmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan by creating local and self employment for Khadi artisans and the tribals. The huge purchase of Khadi fabric will create additional employment and income for artisans, a government official said. Similarly, roping in the Tribal Affairs Ministry with PMEGP will increase its ambit and also include more entrepreneurs from the ST community with local manufacturing.

Officials said the first MoU for purchase of Khadi fabric will be between NESTS and KVIC while the other one one will be between NSTFDC and KVIC.

The source said that the Tribal Affairs Ministry, which runs Eklavya residential schools where at present 75,000 students are studying, proposes to establish a total of 750 schools by 2022. He said that with 750 more schools, a total of 3.6 lakh students will be enrolled in these schools, which has been envisioned by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The source said that each school will have 480 students.

He further explained that the ministry has recently standardised school uniform design for the students in the schools with a distinct logo in partnership with National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT) based in New Delhi.

The source said that keeping in view the focus of the government and the call of the Prime Minister to embrace Khadi as a philosophy and recently as a critical component of the Aatmanirbhar Bharat strategy, the Tribal Affairs Ministry felt it appropriate to source the fabric for uniforms of Eklavya residential schools from KVIC after several rounds of discussions.

He said that current requirement of around 6 lakh metres will increase in subsequent years as enrolment in the schools will go up.

“In order to take this forward, the Ministry through NESTS shall be entering into an MoU for procuring the fabric at an approximate cost of Rs 14.77 crore for 2020-21.”

The source further said that as two dresses are given each year and number of students will increase every year with establishment of new schools, this would be an annual affair and procurement is likely to multiply every year and expected to be of Rs 50 crore by 2022.

He also said that it would not only give quality dress material to the students but also give employment to thousand of artisans and workers across the country.

The source said that based on the success of school uniform initiative, other requirements of schools like bedding, towels, ‘dari’, and others can also be procured from KVIC in future.

“Therefore the proposed MoU between NSTFDC and KVIC will formalise this arrangement and will be a landmark initiative to bring synergy between NSTFDC and KVIC in reaching out to tribal entrepreneurs under the larger ambit of PMEGP scheme,” the source added.

The source further said that the MoU will be signed in presence of Union ministers Nitin Gadkari and Arjun Munda.

(Anand Singh can be contacted at [email protected])

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Horror of Jan 1990 continues to haunt migrant Kashmiri Pandits

For a common Kashmiri, both Muslim and Hindu, world has never been the same after January 1990.

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Jammu, Jan 17 : The world for 70-year-old Autar Krishan Raina has never been the same place, not after he left his home in Srinagar in the aftermath of that horrifying night in January 1990.

“I never believed that old wounds could hurt so hard. I have often been jolted out of sleep as if those frightening slogans are still going on outside my home.

“We lived peacefully among our Muslim neighbours in Aaali Kadal area of downtown Srinagar. I had grown up alongside my best friend, Afzal, who would sit beside my mother like her second son.

“My mother loved Afzal like she would have if I had a blood brother,” Raina recalls the good old days walking down the memory lane to identify his home in Aali Kadal which today is a half-fallen ruin.

He now lives in Jammu city where his son and daughter grew up.

The daughter is a doctor while his son is working in Mumbai as a software engineer. Raina lost his wife two years after the family migrated with hundreds of other Kashmiri Pandits to take shelter away from home.

“My tragedy is that I did not only lose my home and friends. I have lost faith in the goodness of humankind,” he recalled with moist eyes requesting not to be pushed to relive the horror he has been through.

The exodus of Kashmiri Pandits has haunted both local Hindus and Muslims. For centuries, the two communities had co-existed with intertwined destinies. Eid and Maha Shivratri had been common festivals.

The shrine of Sheikh Humza Makhdoom atop the Hari Parbat hillock in old Srinagar city has wonderfully blend with the neighbouring temple of Sharika Devi.

Muslims and local Pandits have paid obeisance at these two places of faith to pray for brotherhood, love and mutual respect. Their societal interests have been common. Imagining life without each other was impossible till 1990.

All that was shattered and lost during the January of 1990. Slogans of ‘Azadi’ (Freedom) had achieved just one objective, Kashmiri Pandits lost their home and hearth while the local Muslims lost their innocence.

For a common Kashmiri, both Muslim and Hindu, world has never been the same after January 1990.

Local Muslims have suffered immensely at the hands of those who hated their lofty traditions and the ideals of religious tolerance. Local Hindus have become refugees in their own country.

“We lost our homeland. Living as refugees in your own country is perhaps a tragedy only the Kashmiri Pandit has suffered. The future of my children is safe, but they have lost their roots,” Raina ends his story as he closes the door of his house away from home.

Will Kashmir ever be the same as it was before January 1990? Might be it will, but the wounds in the hearts and minds of those who suffered the horror of those days and nights will continue to fester because some wounds are never fully healed.

(Sheikh Qayoom can be contacted at [email protected])

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Congress’s women wing to observe ‘Mahila Kisan Diwas’ on Monday

Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi and former party chief Rahul Gandhi joined the protest march here on Friday to show solidarity with the protesting farmers.

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Mahila Kisan Diwas

The women wing of the Congress has decided to observe “Mahila Kisan Diwas” (Women Farmers’ Day) on Monday, to show solidarity with the thousands of farmers’ protesting against the three controversial farm laws.

All India Mahila Congress president Sushmita Dev said: “The All India Mahila Congress which has been at the forefront of the fight for women’s rights wholeheartedly welcomes this and will support this call to observe Mahila Kisan Diwas.”

The Congress’ women wing said that the farmers have played a critical role in the fight for justice and have shown the country the importance of women in agriculture and in revolution.

They have not only left their homes to protest against the farm laws, but also worked to ensure more awareness amongst people on how these legislations will destroy their livelihood.

Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi and former party chief Rahul Gandhi joined the protest march here on Friday to show solidarity with the protesting farmers.

Speaking on the occasion, Rahul Gandhi said: “Prime Minister Narendra Modi did not respect the farmers… the party is in farmerss support till these laws are withdrawn.”

Slamming the BJP, the Congress leader said the government is working for businessmen and these laws are not in favour of the farmers.

The Congress on Friday staged protests at all Raj Bhavans (Governor’s House) across the country and demanded the withdrawal of the farm laws.

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