BMC elections that were

Coming to the recently held BMC and Maharashtra, both the Shiv Sena and BJP strategically aligned together. Then Sena broke off, but at the end it seems like a scripted finish. The huge void of no opposition, both the parties traded accusations & counter accusations, as a result the public focused only on these 2 parties- Sena & BJP. Nobody spoke of Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) or worse still Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS), which in order to keep itself in public domain made a few personal and other mentions. Eg: the Son’s illness, which Raj Thackeray courageously hinted, but his son refuted. Then the friendly overtures with his cousin, which were ignored even by media, but few still give that party a platform.

Congress has been a disaster where its image is concerned. But mind you, winning 31 seats is NO joke. How they won, is a miracle. In-fighting, bickering, bitching the party has been reduced to worse than AAP. One has lost track of the number times Gurudas Kamat has quit the party in a huff & rejoined claiming massive demand & popularity. He only issues releases & nobody questions. The party next time he quits should tell him sternly, accepted & simply move on.

Milind Deora, a fine person, truly nice guitarist & what is he doing in politics he needs to ask. Wish he had learnt many things from his father, Murli bhai. Well, except for that surname else he would have had zero chance of getting into the party. Then Priya Dutt, another who is a daughter of former MP late Sunil Dutt. Now this very issue has destroyed Congress, the nepotism and dynasty rule. These all MPs NEVER step out of their airconditioned homes & cars, have never given surprise visits, walking in the heat, checking if the roads, gutters & footpaths in their constituencies are fine. Instead they complain they are MPs and such civic issues are brought to them. Exactly, so at the time of BMC elections they need to SHUT UP and allow the MRCC president, even if they consider him an outsider to do his job. But the petty politics they play & myopic visions they have they will dabble in the party politics at lowest civic level and instead of tackling the issues, winning over the voters & their trust they complain the voters have no understanding.

If these endowed & privileged off springs of veteran politicians & even Gurudas ever understood then the Congress did have a fine chance of bettering their seats. I am nowhere hinting that they would have outshone Sena-BJP, that is no chance, but they had chances of doing better. The NCP as a party is worse than Congress. It was started on a negative note, to oppose Sonia Gandhi wanting to PM and then the party president, Sharad Pawar, true to his behavior promptly went in alliance with Congress. The one strong factor he looks for in his cadre, that is loyalty, is something he himself lacks. The number of times he has extended support to Modi & number of times he has denied & gone back to praising him is no joke. Everyone knows he has been awarded Padma Shree and that is where his story ends. The party foundation is only family based. So It is shocking when Ajit Pawar recently criticized Bhujbals and regretted giving the reigns of Nasik in the hands of Bhujbal’s family. NCP is born out of Pawar family. Imagine the misfortune of political journalists first one has to chase Senior Pawar, then they have to chase his nephew, Ajit & then daughter Supriya. All so full of themselves as if the journos are dying to chase them. The party members will do Maharashtra a favour by merging with other parties then they will know their true standing in politics. The fact is this arrogance and pompousness of Ajit Pawar led to his severe loss in Pune, Pimpri-Chinchwad elections Municipal Corpns and local bodies polls.

After all the fighting and bickering the CM Devendra Fadnavis was called by the PM and after over an hour’s talks he was adviced to give up claim on BMC. His last Press Conference was complete anti-climax. He not only gave up claim but extended support to the Sena.

The entire elections have been a gimmick and a sham. The 2 saffron parties consolidated majority of seats between themselves. Life is not likely to change drastically. But that also does not mean that the Congress leaders have the right to be thankless to the voters. Deora tweeted out of frustration & lacked graciousness in the loss. He wished the voters potholes, malaria problem ridden BMC. The larger picture he missed, that the voters have REJECTED him in 2014 & moreover his party. If this is the point he has not learnt it’s a huge loss to the party. They need a better leader than him.

There are many new faces, smart ones, but the sad part is they are with the leading parties and then voters like face a moral dilemma, thankfully we have been given the right of NOTA.

Coding trees

After a long time my friends M, R & I decided to go on our morning walk for old times sake. Considering M & I have joined gyms & exchange notes on weight loss, food to eat, we were looking for the old fun we used to have on our walks.

Our walks were for exercising, yes, but to keep our boredom at bay & not get psyched by the fitness part we added fun element to our lives. Everyday we’d go to a new place. Malabar Hill itself has scores of places around. And we’d do fun things, like try & pluck jackfruits, try to steal them, as there are really huge sized ones hanging from the trees at Malabar Hill. And ofcourse try & learn about the trees & birds.

This time on May Day, we decided to walk to the entrance of Tower of Silence road. And I was simply amazed to see the number of trees that just align the main road, forget the forest part of the hill and I am sure either the BMC or BNHS knows exactly the kind of trees that we have and if there are other such around the city.

While our country battles UID, I-D for humans, I think it is time we introduced coding our trees. Our trees too need a bar code. We saw some trees were numbered inside Kamla Nehru Park. It is rather more green than other places & better maintained.

Firstly we do not know the amount of trees that are there in each neighbourhood. And I really think we must know. The save the tree committee with the BMC instead of reacting and shouting everytime someone tries to destroy or cuts a tree, can do something more concrete. With a bar code, you have ready data. You know which trees are rare, need special care.

Once and for all we get computerised data. At a finger tip we’ll know are there such varieties around, which are rare, rarest and hence need to be replanted or can we cut some branches and re-grow the branches…giving birth to a new tree. I really think this is essential. If we recollect 3 super rare ‘monsoon trees’ are bang in the middle of the road on Cadel Road, Shivaji Park. Students and tree lovers went there to cling to them & prevent them from being cut. Because drunk drivers, parents & family members of car accidents there blamed the trees for those mishaps.

It is silly to blame a tree for one’s lapse. And the day the news was published like Chipko andolan, the Mumbaikars went there. A once upon a time active, Manohar Joshi favourite Vishaka Raut whacked some of these tree lovers, some were pinched by Shiv Sainiks. The tree higgers didn’t relent & we have those trees. The tree society members have now forgotten about it. They should try to ensure if these trees are so rarest of rare (grown during British era), then can we ensure we get new trees from these ones? I’ve no clue, I’m not a horticulturist, botanist or tree specialist. I’d rather NOT do tree appreciation course, instead I’d like to help BMC to bring out a rule to bar code our trees.

It is essential for us Mumbaikars, citizens of this beautiful city to know what variety of trees we have. The new generation may never even know Laburnum road is named after the Laburnum Trees, that were planted by the British. By coding the trees, we can have guided tours for conservationists, botanists who can help the BMC further. This is need of the hour. All our ALMs that have nearly got dissolved can be revived to undertake this task.

The Jijamata Udyan Zoo has numbered the trees and is being preserved. I think Malabar Hill can match in terms of rare trees found here, innumerable ones & ways to preserve them. Before its too late….