arvind kejriwal charanjeet singh channi

Punjab elections: Tug-of-war for Dalit Votes

Jag Mohan Thaken from Chandigarh Some flag bearers of dirty politics are trying to lay the foundation of a divisive society by destroying the Punjabiyat that has arisen in the midst of the cool and pure waters of five rivers just to win the elections by using fair or unfair means.  Every political party is using religious or caste Brahmastra to grab the bulk of votes by blighting the harmonious fabric of the society. And in this sequence, most of their efforts are being made to woo the Dalit voters to their side. It is worth mentioning that Punjab has the highest number of Dalit voters in the context of the country. According to the 2011 Census of Punjab, the population of Scheduled Caste is 31.9%, OBC is 31.3%, Upper Caste is 30%. First of all, on January 13, Chief Minister Channi had requested the Election Commission to change the date of elections in Punjab from February 14 to February 20 to woo the Dalits. He argued that on the occasion of Guru Ravidas Jayanti on the coming 16th February, about 20 lakh people from Punjab would travel to Uttar Pradesh to participate in the festival to be held in Banaras between 10 and 16 February. In this way, many people of the community will be deprived of their constitutional rights due to not being able to exercise their vote. After this letter, Dalit love started awakening in other parties as well and almost all the parties wrote letters to the Election Commission. The Election Commission also changed the voting date from February 16 to February 20 in the interest of Dalit voters. In this tug-of-war of Dalit love, who will be able to win, who will consume the nectar that comes out of this ocean churning, this will come to the fore only after the declaration of the election results on March 10, but it is certain that the poison generated by this churning will have to be gulped by the society only. In alliance with Bahujan Samaj Party, Shiromani Akali Dal is trying to attract Dalit voters in…

Debate Opinion

Farmers participation in coming Assembly elections: a very sensitive issue

On Punjab elections and farmers participation I have not been very active on Facebook or other social media since few weeks, except sharing links of some good articles/news or sharing some old memories or wishing some friends on their birthday. As I am tied up in submitting a manuscript, whose schedule time has long crossed, so trying to discipline myself. But with all the constraints of time, I do wish to share my views with large number of friends and likeminded people on an issue, which is very crucial in coming days and times. This issue concerns farmers participation in coming Punjab Assembly elections, may be in other states -UP and Uttarakhand too, but primarily in context of Punjab. This is a very sensitive issue and lot many people are concerned about it, who have been supporting farmers struggle for their rightful and just demands and have stood in solidarity with them! These views are subject to open discussion, may be critical too, but not for abusive or irresponsible commentary. The issue is whether farmers should directly contest these assembly elections? As 22 out of 32+2 organizations as part of Sanyukat Kisan Morcha have formed a new platform namely Sanyukat Samaj Morcha (SSM) and decided to contest elections on all 117 seats of Punjab Assembly. While in electoral democratic system or Parliamentary democracy, anyone, fulfilling conditions and eligible to vote has a right to contest. But this right is theoretical or just on paper. The kind of parliamentary system has developed in India from 1952 first Parliamentary elections onwards or even during the British colonial period, it needs to be evaluated objectively and critically, that how much chances of success in this system is there for farmers, workers or lower-income classes or oppressed sections of society. Not only in independent India, some form of parliamentary elections is legacy left by colonial rulers. There was Central Assembly and provincial assemblies during British colonial period as well. Especially after Govt. of India Act 1935, the elections were held all over India in 1937 for eleven provincial assemblies as well as Central assembly….

National News

Is extending the jurisdiction of BSF against the spirit of federalism?

Jag Mohan Thaken Chandigarh The central Home Ministry on October 11, 2021, issued notification regarding the amendment in BSF Act to authorize the Border Security Force to undertake search, seizure and arrest within an extended area of 50 km stretch, instead of the previous 15 km, from the international border in Punjab, West Bengal and Assam. This step of BJP led central government is being opposed tooth and nail by the opposition parties in Punjab and West Bengal and may create a conflict between the union government and these states. The leaders of these two states state these new orders as an attempt to interfere with the federal structure of the country and think that these orders would not only demoralize the state police force but also give rise to unnecessary confrontation with BSF. Allegation of Punjab Leaders Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee president Navjot Singh Sidhu stated this step as an encroachment on constitutional rights of the states and disregarding the democratic powers of the people and alleged that the Centre is weakening the country’s federal structure, by creating “a State within a State”. In his tweets on October 25, Sidhu said, “Without obtaining consent of the state government, the notification amounts to encroachment on constitutional rights of the states, disregarding the democratic powers of the people of Punjab vested in the state legislature and state executive.” Sidhu also alleged, “Centre is weakening country’s federal structure, by creating“a State within a State” BSF means Border Security Force, What is definition of border ? 50 Kms ?? Public order, which connotes public peace & safety is primarily the responsibility of State Govt.” Deputy Chief Minister Punjab Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa, who holds the portfolio of Home, highlighting about the ramifications of this unilateral decision of Central Government in an all-party meeting, said, “The notification which has been thrusted upon the state would not only demoralize our police force but also give rise to unnecessary confrontation with BSF. The law and order is the state subject and Centre has not even bothered to consult us on this sensitive issue which amounts to encroachment…


Prof. Bhim Singh strongly condemned Navjot Sidhu’s assistants’ remarks on Kashmir

New Delhi/Jammu. August 25, 2021. Prof. Bhim Singh, President of J&K National Panthers Party strongly condemned the remarks made by Punjab Congress Chief Mr Navjot Singh Sidhu’s assistants Mali and Garg. Prof. Bhim  Singh who is known for his stand on Jammu and Kashmir said, it is unfortunate that a person of the status of Mr Sidhu, a hero of the people of India for his cricket excellence is using his assistants to make such statements about J&K which can be dangerous for the security and the unity of the State and harm the national security and integration of the people of J&K with the rest of the country. He advised Mr Sidhu to devote more time and his excellence in promoting cricket, the most popular sport in India and abroad. While one of his assistants Mali had claimed that “Kashmir is a country of Kashmiri people”, the other one Garg had taken a swipe at Punjab CM Amarinder Singh for criticising Pakistan. This is a conspiracy hatched by the ignorant people to destabilise Capt. Amarinder Singh for their own vested self-interests. Chief Minister of Punjab, Capt. Amarinder Singh has been a great leader and has sustained under all attacks and anti-people propaganda by BJP. Kashmir is not only for Kashmiri people, it is for all Indians as India is also for all Kashmiris as all Kashmiris are Indians for centuries. When Maharaja Hari Singh decided to go with India during the unfortunate division of the country, all Kashmiris including Sheikh Mohd. Abdullah decided to stand by India because he was an Indian first and Kashmiri later.  Prof. Bhim  Singh hoped that in the future Mr Sidhu would think and not allow his advisors to make such statements against national interest. He said that such statements issued by his assistants who have no locus standi in Punjab or India’s politics will hurt the country. Prof. Bhim  Singh hoped that Mr Sidhu being a patriot will never allow delivering any such statements on any national activity, which has been done by his assistants Mali and Garg. It is below Mr Sidhu’s heroic…

Innovative financing for women's health becomes vital when purse strings tighten

Innovative financing for women’s health becomes vital when purse strings tighten

The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the fragility of weak health systems that were ill-prepared to withstand the onslaught of the pandemic. As documented by the Pulse survey of the WHO, the pandemic has resulted in the disruption of essential health services, including sexual and reproductive health services, in most countries. Weak and perpetually poorly resourced health systems have escalated the woes of the public, more so in low- and lower-middle-income countries. This disaster has reinforced the need for countries to not only increase their public health spending but also explore innovative ways of financing healthcare systems. More than 50% of countries in Asia and the Pacific region come under the category of low- and lower-middle-income countries. While there has been economic growth in the region resulting in corresponding improvements in health service delivery systems, in many countries these gains are unjustly reserved for the elite few in terms of quality and timely services, says Dr Ashish Bajracharya, Population Council’s Deputy Director for global country strategy and regional representative for South and East Asia. Large parts of our populations still have an unmet need in sexual and reproductive health and out-of-pocket expenditures continue to pay for most of the healthcare expenditures. For Dr Bajracharya, it is critical to work towards universal health coverage and to promote sustainable financing strategies, including heightening of commitments of state resources for sexual and reproductive health. Dr Bajracharya was Chairing the sixth session of the ongoing virtual series of 10th Asia Pacific Conference on Reproductive and Sexual Health and Rights (APCRSHR10). Two interesting studies were presented in this APCRSHR10 session from Pakistan and the Philippines. The first study was presented by Dr Moazzam Ali, noted epidemiologist at the World Health Organization (WHO), who shared the results of a research project on “demand-side financing” implemented in two districts of Punjab province of Pakistan to meet birth spacing needs of the underserved. What is demand-side financing? Dr Ali explains that the three key components of any demand-side financing project are (i) a pre-specified target group, like, pregnant women, children under five years of age, poor households, etc; (ii)…