Air force plane still missing, Parrikar monitors search Anti-Cong mindset of BJP doesn’t go with reforms: Manmohan
Union defence minister Manohar Parrikar visited Chennai’s Tambaram airbase on Saturday before leaving to monitor the ongoing search for the IAF AN-32 airplane missing since Friday.
The Russian-made Antonov-32 plane disappeared about 280km off the coast of Chennai, from where it had taken off at 8:30am. It was due to arrive around midday at Port Blair — about 1,400km away — which hosts India’s only tri-service command. Those onboard included six crew members, 15 personnel from the IAF, Army, Navy and coast guard, and eight civilians who were family members of the personnel.
Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has blamed the NDA government’s “mindset” for the lack of consensus on economic reforms that are crucial to India’s ambitions to grow fast and pull millions of its people out of poverty. Twenty-five years to the day when Singh, as finance minister then, unveiled a historic budget that transformed India from a socialist-style to a market-driven economy, a renewed momentum to address the unfinished agenda of the reforms programme has eluded PM Narendra Modi’s government.
“The two years that this government has had, they could have been used much purposefully to push the reforms process further,” Singh told HT in an exclusive interview. “For various reasons this has not happened. Whether it is the GST, whether it is the landacquisition bill, whatever the differences among political parties.”
As the rape and murder of a minor girl in Maharashtra’s Ahmednagar district last week takes on a caste angle, the state government is on its toes trying to prevent clashes in the region, especially after the unrest in neighbouring Gujarat and anger among the Dalit community over the Ambedkar Bhavan demolition in the city.
The three accused in the case are Dalits, while the minor belonged to the dominant Maratha community in her village Kopardi. Sources in the government said this has sharpened the caste divide in a district that has seen several incidents of caste violence in the past few years.
Stopping political leaders from visiting the village is among the many steps the government has taken. Ramdas Athawale, the Union minister of state for social justice, cancelled his Saturday visit to Kopardi following a request from chief minister Devendra Fadnavis. Athawale said the victim’s parents too had declined to meet him. “The parents sent me a message saying they do not wish to see me, and hence I cancelled my visit. Even the chief minister requested me not to visit the place owing to some tension,” he said.
Earlier this week, the police stopped Dalit leaders Prakash Ambedkar and Jogendra Kawade from going to the village. Ambedkar said the police stopped him saying the villagers had planned to throw tomatoes and onions at him.