Rajyaguru wants to be CM

Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani is seeking re-election from Rajkot West. His rival is Congress’ Indranil Rajyaguru, a builder and hotel owner, the richest among all Congress candidates in the state, with a declared property worth over Rs 141 crore. Rupani has declared Rs 3 crore.

Rajyaguru, the sitting MLA from Rajkot East, has been brought to Rajkot West to exploit the caste combinations, trying to make it tough for Rupani. Rajyaguru is a Brahmin, one of the largest communities among 3.17 lakh voters. The Patidars are 65,000, Brahmins 35,000, Dalits 25,000 and Muslims 22,000. Then there are Baniyas, Sindhis, Bharwads and Jains. Rupani’s Jain community is around 3%. The Patidars, who the Congress have wooed through Hardik Patel, will prove decisive.

It is presumed that Rupani may be retained as the CM in the event of the BJP victory. His opponent Rajyaguru is spreading the word that the party
has “promised” to make him the CM if he is elected and Congress voted to power.

Dhariwal wool mill on deathbed

The 137-year-old Dhariwal Woollen Mills in Dhariwal (Gurdaspur) Punjab, which produced the My Fair Lady brand of knitting wool, is about to be closed. The NITI Aayog has recommended to the Union Textile Ministry that the plant should be shut down. The mill’s title, New Egerton Woollen Mills, is a relic of the British Raj. The mill’s parent company was the British India Corporation (BIC) Limited, a subsidiary of the Union government. In 2010, the mill building was granted heritage status by the Archaeological Survey of India. The mill was declared sick two decades ago. It could not be revived despite repeated attempts over the past few years. Anytime now, the death knell may be sounded to close the plant forever, rendering 325 full-time employees jobless. The government has been paying the employees “idle wages”. Employees sign their attendance and spend time playing cards.

Late Gurdaspur BJP MP Vinod Khanna’s wife Kavita Khanna and current Congress Rajya Sabha member Partap Singh Bajwa did their best to revive the factory. Bajwa even got a grant of Rs 315 crore sanctioned from the Board of Industrial and Financial Reconstruction, but it never reached the factory because of bureaucratic tussles. Kavita Khanna, the industrialist wife of Vinod Khanna, met the NITI Aayog chairman and discussed a revival plan with him. She also met top officials of the Textiles Ministry. She claims that she has the experience of reviving a Mumbai-based sick unit. Kavita is keen to nurture her late husband’s constituency in hope of getting the BJP poll ticket in 2019.

Gonsalves receives ‘Alternative Nobel’

The 65-year-old senior Supreme Court advocate Colin Gonsalves returned from Stockholm on Friday after receiving the prestigious 2017 Right Livelihood Award, widely known as the “Alternative Nobel Prize”, on 1 December. Gonsalves is known as a fighter for the rights of the poor and the underprivileged for decades.

In the 1980s, he established the Human Rights Law Network which helps some of the most vulnerable people. He is appearing in the SC on behalf of 7,000 Rohingyas living in 23 settlements in Jammu & Kashmir for the past 10 years.

Gonsalves has made great use of Public Interest Litigation to achieve many social reforms. “The PIL is a myth devised by the judiciary,” he feels. “Still, remarkable results have been achieved through this medium. Unfortunately, the government sees all the PILs as anti-establishment. Politicians, multinational companies, manufactures, fake NGOs created to win tenders for social and public welfare schemes and whosoever feels threatened jumps into litigation to crush it,” he told this newspaper.

62-year-old couple becomes parents of twins

At the age of 62, Balbir Singh and his wife Gurwinder Kaur of Nangal Kalan village in Punjab’s Mansa district, have become the proud parents of twins—a boy and a girl. The couple lost their only son to some illness two years ago. Upset, they decided to become parents again. “We are extremely happy as we did it,” Balbir Singh told The Sunday Guardian over telephone. Past her menopause, Gurwinder Kaur gave birth to the twins through in-vitro fertilisation (IVF) procedure at a Muktsar private hospital.

“As we are getting old, we felt the need for a son who can look after us as well as our 10 acres of agriculture land. Our daughters requested us to opt for the IVF procedure,” said Balbir Singh.

Dr Gagandeep Garg, of Ludhiana Children Hospital and Nursing Home, said that they had used husband’s sperm for the procedure. “It is a rare case that an aged woman has delivered twins through IVF.”

Rahul is now a ‘Pandit’

Several Congress leaders have put up hoardings near the AICC headquarters at 24, Akbar Road to congratulate Rahul Gandhi for his imminent elevation to the post of party president. One such hoarding describes him as “Pandit Rahul Gandhi”. It has been put up by Jagdish Sharma, who has been putting up hoardings on the birthdays of the Nehru-Gandhi family. Is an attempt being made to portray Congress “prince” Rahul Gandhi on the lines of his great grandfather, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru?

Tribute To Wildlife Photographer

Well-known wildlife photographer Rakesh Sahai’s passion was tigers. He died in the land of tigers, Pench wildlife sanctuary near Nagpur, on the first morning of 2016. This writer knew him since his teenage days. Lala, as he was popularly known, left a small army of young amateur photographers, whom he trained, taking them to jungles to teach them how to shoot animals, especially tigers, and birds.

Eleven “students”—Taarine, Dhruv, Sharmila, Manoj, Abhinav, Amit, Ajit, Ruchir, Shashank, Kashish and Gagan—organised a weeklong exhibition of their wildlife photographs, along with their iconic guru Rakesh’s memorable shots, at India Habitat Centre, from December 1 to 7. The rotational exhibition, which featured works of different mentees on different days, gave nature lovers a platform to get close to the elements. It was curated by Lala’s daughter Rashi, wife Ritu Sarin, a print journalist, and elder brother, Kamal Sahai, also a well-known wildlife photographer.

“Guru Dakshina: A Mentor’s Memorabilia” showcased 58 frames shot by the mentees of Rakesh.

“It is our unique tribute to a legend,” says Taarine (16), a participant at the exhibition. She fondly remembers how she was initiated into wildlife photography by Rakesh. The teenager, who now confidently flaunts a D7100 Nikon, was just nine when she started venturing into the wild with her late guru.

The number of pictures on display had been carefully kept at 58, the age at which he passed away. “My father would have turned 60 on 20 November this year,” says Rakesh’s daughter Rashi.

Some of the pictures on display included the master’s landscape shots from Ladakh, Deproa Tal in Uttarakhand, a chameleon from the Desert National Park in Rajasthan and tigers in the Rajaji National Park between Haridwar and Dehradun.

Man Mohan can be contacted at rovingeditor@gmail.com


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