From the Urdu Press: ‘Rare outsmarting of Sharad Pawar’, ‘UCC as ploy against Opp unity’, ‘need for bipartisanship on Manipur’


The stunning political developments in Maharashtra, which has been witnessing a ruthless game of thrones since 2019, seem to have set the tone for the crucial election season in the lead-up to the 2024 grand battle. The Urdu Press did not miss any of the dramatic scenes as the NCP plunged into an unprecedented crisis — like the Shiv Sena a year ago — with Ajit Pawar splitting the party founded and helmed by his uncle Sharad Pawar, one of the country’s shrewdest politicians. Decoding its implications for the state and national politics, especially with regard to the Opposition unity against the BJP, the Urdu dailies have kept the focus on the riveting Pawar versus Pawar saga.

Days after the Law Commission’s move seeking public views on a Uniform Civil Code (UCC), Prime Minister Narendra Modi made a strong pitch for a UCC from a BJP event in Bhopal, even as the minority and tribal communities have underlined their strong opposition to the proposal. The Urdu dailies have marked their front pages for continuing coverage of this unfolding story.

Commenting on the move by NCP supremo Sharad Pawar’s nephew Ajit Pawar to join the Eknath ShindeBJP government along with eight senior party MLAs, the multi-edition Roznama Rashtriya Sahara, in its editorial on July 3 headlined “Maharashtra mein phir power game” (Another power game in Maharashtra), writes that this marked the second time in one year that the Opposition alliance Maha Vikash Aghadi (MVA) — comprising the Uddhav Thackeray-led Shiv Sena (UBT), NCP and Congress — saw a split in its constituents, with Chief Minister Shinde breaking away from the Sena earlier. The editorial points out that Maharashtra has been seeing an unrelenting power tussle marked with twists and turns since 2019. “What is surprising is that even the state’s most astute politician Sharad Pawar seems to have been outmanoeuvred by his nephew Ajit, who has thus made a bid to split the NCP and join the BJP government twice… But this time nobody can say how things will play out.”

The daily states that the NCP developments dealt a blow to the MVA too, with the Uddhav Sena still reeling from its division. “Besides Ajit whom he appointed as the Leader of Opposition (LoP) in the Assembly, Pawar was played by his most trusted lieutenant Praful Patel.”

There had been rumblings in the NCP in recent weeks that saw Pawar appointing his daughter Supriya Sule as well as Praful as the party’s national working presidents, the editorial notes. Ajit was then also making ripples, indicating his preference for the state party chief’s post over his LoP position, it adds.

The daily says the BJP was outsmarted by the MVA following its failure to form a government with the then undivided Sena after the October 2019 Assembly polls. The saffron party has since engineered a split in two major MVA constituents to further marginalise the Opposition while tightening its grip on the Maharashtra government and boosting its prospects in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections. “The Pawar NCP could mirror the Uddhav Sena’s plight. The party that Pawar has been running for 24 years might slip away from him. Ajit could prove to be another Shinde. And the game played against Uddhav might befall Pawar too. If this happens, it will be another success of the BJP,” the edit adds.


Referring to the raging debate on the UCC issue, the Hyderabad-based Siasat, in its editorial on June 28, writes that just ahead of elections some quarters always start mounting attempts to vitiate the country’s communal atmosphere by stirring up divisive issues. “In the run-up to the 5 state Assembly elections this year and the Lok Sabha polls next year the BJP’s central dispensation is now itself stepping up bids to clinch these polls through polarising tactics. So, in the wake of rows over hijab, halal, haram, beef and triple talaq, the UCC issue is being stoked now,” the daily writes. “The BJP is known for raising divisive issues like kabristan and shamshan during elections. The party also succeeds in securing the public mandate most of the times, although sometimes it also gets rebuffed by the people.”

Noting that the 22nd Law Commission has sought the views of public and religious organisations on the UCC proposal, the editorial says, “The UCC issue is also a poll stunt, which has been raked up in the backdrop of the Opposition parties closing their ranks in order to create a common front against the BJP (for the 2024 Lok Sabha elections)… The BJP seems to be bent on fuelling the UCC row while pushing people’s basic and real issues to the margins.”

The daily says, “The minorities should however not ignore the UCC issue by dismissing it as just a poll stunt.”

The edit underlines that “Significantly, it is not only the country’s Muslims and other minorities which are against the UCC, but tribals and several other communities are also opposed to it,” adding that it is another matter that the reservations of tribals and other non-minority sections against the UCC are not being reflected in the media. “The Opposition parties and social organisations should remain watchful and oppose the UCC resolutely within the legal and constitutional boundaries.”


Referring to senior Congress leader Rahul Gandhi’s visit to Manipur, which has been roiled by ethnic clashes, the Bengaluru-based Salar, in its leader on July 1, points out that the Manipur strife has continued to simmer for the last two months, flaring up periodically. It notes that Rahul is the first prominent Opposition leader to visit Manipur and meet victims in various relief camps since the violence erupted in the Northeastern state. During his two-day Manipur tour Rahul invoked humanity and highlighted the plight of victims while maintaining that the state needs healing and that peace should be its only priority. The daily says Rahul also flagged some shortages in relief camps, like those of medicines and food, drawing the government’s attention towards it.

The editorial states that UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi had earlier, in a video message, made an emotional appeal for peace in Manipur and said the violence in the state has left a “deep wound” in the nation’s conscience. “Although the Congress and other Opposition parties have questioned Prime Minister Modi’s silence and criticised the government’s handling of the Manipur crisis, they have refrained from unleashing a barrage of allegations against the government in view of the tense situation in the state,” the edit says.

At the all-party meeting on the Manipur crisis, held by Union Home Minister Amit Shah, the Opposition parties had demanded the resignation of Chief Minister N Biren Singh, but the BJP dispensation has still not conceded it, the daily writes. “However, the Manipur tragedy is one of those issues on which both the ruling and Opposition sides must stand together and reach out to the affected people to reassure them that the entire country shares their pain and is ready to do everything to restore peace and normalcy in the state,” it says, adding that in this bipartisan spirit Rahul steered clear of any blame game during his Manipur visit.


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