Tribal min­is­ter in a soup for his ca­sual re­marks on mal­nu­tri­tion deaths What’s the harm in BMC schools in­tro­duc­ing surya na­maskar: HC

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - HT Navi Mumbai Live - - FRONT PAGE - Umesh Raghu­van­shi and Ra­jesh Ku­mar Singh let­ters@hin­dus­tan­times.com Faisal Ma­lik faisal.ma­lik@hin­dus­tan­times.com HT Cor­re­spon­dent ht­metro@hin­dus­tan­times.com

Sa­ma­jwadi Party chief Mu­layam Singh Ya­dav Fri­day forged an un­easy truce be­tween his chief min­is­ter-son Akhilesh and brother Shiv­pal to end a dam­ag­ing power strug­gle in the party five months ahead of the state elec­tion.

The young chief min­is­ter, how­ever, looks de­ter­mined to come out of his pow­er­ful fa­ther’s shadow and have a say in the poll strat­egy, de­cided by Mu­layam -- or Ne­taji as he is known -- and his broth­ers since the party’s in­cep­tion in 1992.

The party plunged into a cri­sis early this week after Akhilesh took away three port­fo­lios from Shiv­pal hours after Mu­layam re­moved the chief min­is­ter as the UP party pres­i­dent and named his brother to the po­si­tion.

“I am ready to re­turn party posts and even port­fo­lios but I must have the power to dis­trib­ute tick­ets be­cause the forth­com­ing poll is after all a test for me and my party,” Akhilesh told In­dia TV.

In the evening, he tweeted, “Port­fo­lios will be given back to Mr. Shiv­pal Singh Ya­dav.”

That as well as tak­ing back cabi­net min­is­ter Gay­a­tri Prasad

State tribal min­is­ter Vishnu Savara’s ca­sual re­sponse to a ques­tion about the death of 600 chil­dren al­legedly be­cause of mal­nu­tri­tion in Pal­ghar dis­trict, just 100km north of Mumbai, has landed the politi­cian in hot wa­ter. Savara’s “let it be”’ re­mark made twice in re­sponse to the deaths came dur­ing his visit to a grieving fam­ily in the dis­trict that had lost their 6-year-old son Sa­gar Wagh to mal­nu­tri­tion.

The re­marks cap­tured in a video clip went vi­ral forc­ing chief min­is­ter Deven­dra Fad­navis to seek a clar­i­fi­ca­tion from the min­is­ter on the is­sue by evening. Savara clar­i­fied later that his re­sponse was only to si­lence some ac­tivists, who were not al­low­ing him to speak with the fam­ily of the vic­tims.

Savara, who be­longs to the tribal com­mu­nity, is also the guardian min­is­ter of Pal­ghar dis­trict. He had gone to con­sole the fam­ily of Wagh, who died on Au­gust 30, but the fam­ily mem­bers had re­fused to meet him. In the en­su­ing ar­gu­ment, Savara also snapped at peo­ple sur­round­ing him, say­ing they tend to ar­gue too much over ev­ery­thing.

The tribal min­is­ter’s state­ment came two days after gover­nor CV Rao ex­pressed his dis­plea­sure over the spurt in mal­nu­tri­tion cases in the state, es­pe­cially in Mokhada tehsil of Pal­ghar.

“How can I say such a thing when I my­self be­long to the same com­mu­nity and have been work­ing in the area for more than 30 years,” Savara told HT. Pra­jap­ati, a Shiv­pal loy­al­ist sacked by Akhilesh, were part of a com­pro­mise worked out by Mu­layam to end the feud­ing in the party, sources said.

The SP pa­tri­arch an­nounced at the party of­fice in Luc­know that there was no rift in the party and that it would “not split” till he was around.

“We have a big fam­ily, dif­fer­ences may oc­cur... There is no fight be­tween Shiv­pal Ya­dav and Akhilesh,” he told party mem­bers.

Dif­fer­ences in the Ya­dav clan have been sim­mer­ing for a while and can be at­trib­uted to a gen­er­a­tional clash.

Akhilesh, who took over as the youngest chief min­is­ter of Ut­tar Pradesh at 38 in 2012, wants to break from the Sa­ma­jwadi Party’s iden­tity pol­i­tics of the past and fight the elec­tion on an agenda of de­vel­op­ment and clean gov­er­nance.

Part of the cri­sis in the party has also been at­trib­uted to Akhilesh’s sour ties with Amar Singh, a close aide of his fa­ther who re­turned to Sa­ma­jwadi Party re­cently and was made a Ra­jya Sabha mem­ber. Ear­lier in the day, Akhilesh took a dig at Singh. “I will no longer re­fer to that ‘out­sider’ as un­cle,” he said in a veiled ref­er­ence to Singh.

What is the harm if the Bri­han­mum­bai Mu­nic­i­pal Cor­po­ra­tion (BMC) makes surya na­maskar — sun salu­ta­tion — manda­tory for stu­dents of civic schools in Mumbai, the Bom­bay high court sought to know on Fri­day.

The query came from di­vi­sion bench of Chief Jus­tice Man­jula Chel­lur and jus­tice MS Sonak after ad­vo­cate An­jali Awasthi men­tioned a pub­lic in­ter­est lit­i­ga­tion (PIL) filed by her on be­half of Kurla res­i­dent Ma­sood An­sari, chal­leng­ing the res­o­lu­tion passed by the gen­eral body of the BMC on Au­gust 26, mak­ing surya na­maskar manda­tory for civic stu­dents.

The bench felt surya na­maskar was a form of ex­er­cise and there was noth­ing wrong if such an ac­tiv­ity was made manda­tory for stu­dents of civic schools.

The judges said there are var­i­ous kinds of yo­gasanas and it will be nec­es­sary to find out which kind is se­lected by the civic body and if it was ap­pro­pri­ate for chil­dren.

Re­spond­ing to a court query, Awasthi said surya na­maskar in­volves 12 dif­fer­ent asanas that are sup­posed to be done on an empty stom­ach, and stu­dents up to 14 years of age can­not be ex­pected to go to school with­out eat­ing any­thing.

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