BJP’s Tripura govt hangs by a delicate thread
The BJP-IPFT alliance has formed a government in Tripura after getting a wafer-thin majority in the just-concluded election in the state. In the 60-member Tripura assembly, the BJP-led alliance won 33 seats – of which, the BJP bagged 32 seats and its partner, Indigenous People’s Front of Tripura, got one. Sources said that in order to avoid power struggle in the state, the central leadership has asked Union minister Pratima Bhowmik to resign from the state legislative assembly. Bhowmik was considered as one of the candidates for the post of chief minister when the party announced her candidature in the assembly elections. But the party decided to retain sitting chief minister Manik Saha.
According to sources, Pratima is reluctant to return to Delhi but will ultimately put in her papers as an MLA. This will bring down the ruling alliance’s number in the assembly. To give the new government stability, top party leaders, including home minister Amit Shah, party president J P Nadda, BJP’s pointsman for northeast Himanta Biswa Sarma and the state chief minister met Pradyot Debbarma, whose Tipra Motha party won 13 seats in the new assembly. They asked him to join the government and offered him three cabinet berths, including the post of deputy chief minister.
Debbarma has turned down the offer and instead asked the BJP to first consider his party’s demand for greater autonomy for the tribal areas of the state. The Union government has promised to appoint an interlocutor to engage with Debbarma and other stakeholders and give a report on the feasibility of granting more autonomy within three months. Northeast watchers say the next three months will be crucial for the new government as some of the ministers have already started complaining about the portfolios given to them. According to sources, Himanta is well aware of the disgruntlement in the new government and is busy firefighting.
Delhi govt’s policy delay puts operators in a fix
The growth of online shopping in India has seen a phenomenal increase in the use of motorbikes for deliveries. Companies such as Rapido, Ola, Uber, In-drive, Amazon, Zomato, Swiggy, Dunzo, Brozo, besides a number of courier and other operators, use bikes for commercial purposes. Some of these companies are operating bike taxis to carry passengers in a large number of cities. While the central government has an omnibus law governing the operation of taxis in general, states have lately started framing their own laws to specifically deal with the mushrooming of bike taxi services.
According to industry estimates, about 80% bikes used for commercial purposes are used for food and grocery deliveries. The remaining 20% are used as passenger taxis. Passenger taxis in Delhi are doing between seven to ten million trips per week. While some states have framed laws that prohibit use of bikes with white number plates for commercial services, the Delhi government has not come up with such a law. It has, however, started challaning white plate bikes used for commercial service. The operators have protested against the state government’s action. They say the government should come up with a law to regulate the use of bikes, and they will follow it. Sources said the operators may seek legal recourse to stop the government action in the absence of law.