Are the Samajwadi Party (SP) and the Pragatisheel Samajwadi Party Lohia (PSPL) ready to bury the hatchet? SP President Akhilesh Yadav hinted as much when he said in a recent meet that all party leaders and family members who had parted ways were welcome back. The SP and the PSPL, floated by Yadav’s estranged uncle Shivpal, had fought the 2019 Lok Sabha polls separately, but ended up doing each other more harm than good. Although the PSPL has denied rumours of Shivpal's “ghar wapsi” — which might also entail disbanding his outfit — attributing them to those who were responsible for causing the spilt in the family, it has caused a flutter among senior leaders of the two units.
BMS takes on government
The Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS), the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh affiliated trade union, has upped the ante against the Narendra Modi government in the last couple of weeks. On Thursday, the BMS offered support to the strike by the Airports Authority of India (AAI) employees against privatisation of airports. It said it opposes the Centre's announcement to privatise profit making airports of Varanasi, Raipur, Indore, Bhubaneswar, Amritsar and Trichy. It called upon the government "to stop the process of handing over Trivandrum, Guwahati and Jaipur airports and restrain" from privatising the rest. The BMS said it believed further privatisation of airports "may lead to declare AAI as a sick PSU". The union also rejected the new amendment to the Employees' Provident Fund law to convert Employees Pension scheme, or EPS, to the National Pension Scheme (NPS) at a consultation meeting with the union labour ministry. It said NPS is a "risky market linked" scheme and return in EPS is much more than NPS according to the study of EPFO and has more benefits to family members of employees.
While some leaders of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party are working hard to popularise the use of Hindi as a primary language of official communication, things might not be moving in the right direction in some of the BJP-ruled states. During a function in Lucknow organised by the Uttar Pradesh Hindi Sansthan, which was being attended by Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and Union HRD Minister Ramesh Pokriyal 'Nishank', the very first word (yugpravartak) on a banner that formed a backdrop for the speakers on the dais had a glaring spelling mistake. The event in question was a three-day national conference on "Mahayogi Gorakhnath", whose teachings form a key part of the canons of the Nath community. Adityanath is also the chief priest of the Gorakhnath temple.