A high-level scrutiny committee set up by the Chhattisgarh government has dismissed former chief minister Ajit Jogi's claim of belonging to a Scheduled Tribe. Jogi, in his reaction to the yet-unpublished findings, said they were false, and alleged that the committee was influenced by the Congress government in the state. The high-powered certification scrutiny committee was formed on the order of the Chhattisgarh High Court in 2018. The panel concluded that Jogi had failed to substantiate his claim of belonging to the Kanwar community, a Scheduled Tribe. The committee also authorised the Bilaspur collector to carry out necessary proceedings under the Chhattisgarh Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and other Backward Classes (Regulation of Social Status Certification) Rules, 2013. It has ordered confiscating all caste certificates issued to Jogi in the past.
Recriminations within the Congress have started after party President Sonia Gandhi appointed Rameshwar Oraon as the chief of the party's Jharkhand unit. The state, along with Maharashtra and Haryana, is poll-bound in the next few months. Oraon replaced Ajoy Kumar, who quit earlier this month taking moral responsibility for the party's defeat in the state in the Lok Sabha elections while also accusing local leaders of sabotage. Kumar, 57, had quit the Indian Police Service to join the Congress and is a former Lok Sabha member. The appointment of 72-year-old Oraon has come as a disappointment as he is not in the best of health. Oraon is also a former Lok Sabha member, and was considered close to Rashtriya Janata Dal leader Lalu Prasad. The Congress is facing internal squabbling in Haryana as well, where party leader Bhupinder Singh Hooda wants state unit chief Ashok Tanwar to be replaced, but the central leadership is yet to take a decision. Party leaders are worried about the lack of preparedness in these three states, and say a rout in the forthcoming Assembly polls could trigger its disintegration.
A time bank for MP
The Congress government in Madhya Pradesh is planning to establish a first-of-its-kind time bank in the state. This initiative will help take care of elderly couples and people who live alone. Under the scheme, people who have the time can volunteer to help needy people. The time they spend in helping others would be deposited in their personal accounts under a sort of social security system. When they in turn get old and need help, they can tap the time bank and a volunteer would be assigned to take care of them. Introducing the idea, the minister for religious trust and endowment, P C Sharma, said, "This would be the biggest experiment of its kind if we can agree on it."