Bhopal:External affairs minister Sushma Swaraj is playing matchmaker for Geeta, the hearing- and speech- impaired woman who was brought to India in 2015 after having stayed in Pakistan for almost 15 years.
Geeta had drifted to Pakistan when she was a child and was under the care of the Edhi Foundation, a Pakistani charity. Since her return to India, efforts to reunite her with her family have proved futile. Several families had come to claim Geeta as their own, but she did not recognise any of them.
“Sushma Swaraj, after a meeting with Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan in October 2017, had announced plans for Geeta’s marriage. On April 8, civil society members took a prospective speech- and hearing impaired groom with them to meet Sushma Swaraj and Geeta, at Swaraj’s residence in Delhi,” an official at Swaraj’s office, who is not authorised to talk to the media, said.
“Geeta rejected the proposal. Swaraj maam then asked them to widen their search and bring more prospective grooms to choose from, assuring her total support for the cause.”
Geeta, who is known by only one name, apparently entered the eastern Pakistani city of Lahore on a train from India. She was found by the police and sent to a state-run shelter, then moved from one shelter to another — because she often tried to escape and quarrelled with staff — before she arrived at the Karachi-based Edhi Foundation.
“In a recent meeting with civil society members who helped Geeta to come back to India, Swaraj had invited applications through Facebook and also announced Geeta’s biodata in the Parichay Sammelan (introductory meeting) for speech- and hearing-impaired people,” said Gyanendra Purohit, convener of non-governmental organisation Anand Service Society, who is coordinating the match-making efforts.
So far they have received 25 biodatas of potential grooms , and they include an army officer, an astrologer, novelist, engineers and farmers, among others.
“We have shortlisted 15 suitable matches by asking them in detail why they were interested in marrying Geeta. These matches are going to be screened by Swaraj’s PA (personal assistant) and then Geeta will see whether she likes the chosen guy or not and then Swaraj will have the final say,” said Purohit.
A spokesperson for the ministry of external affairs, who is in London for the Commonwealth meetings, said he was not aware of developments.
The groom is being promised a house and a government job, according to Purohit, who added: “Some of the prospective grooms were rejected when they said they wanted to marry Geeta in the hope of getting a government job.”
Geeta’s tutor Monica Punjabi said, “The purpose of this process is to give her a family, to give a space to her to live her life in her own way and to make her feel happy. We are doing our best to get the best man for the marriage.”
Chaiwala vs doodhwala: Akhilesh’s battlecry in Azamgarh
AZAMGARH: Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav coined a new battle slogan to counter Prime Minister Narendra’s chaiwala (tea seller) catchphrase.
“If PM Modi is chaiwala, then we are doodhwala. Without good milk, good tea cannot be made,” said the former Uttar Pradesh chief minister while addressing a rally at Baitholi bypass after filing his nomination from Azamgarh parliamentary constituency for the Lok Sabha election 2019 .
Targetting PM Modi and the Bharatiya Janata Party, the SP chief said, “BJP is calling the alliance of SP, Bahujan Samaj Party and Rashtriya Lok Dal as Mahamilawat. And what will be the coalition of 38 parties be called?”
Ahead of the general election, SP, BSP and RLD announced their alliance on March 6. BSP is contesting on 38 seats, SP on 37 and RLD on three seats in Uttar Pradesh.
In a subtle reference to UP CM Yogi Adityanath while urging voters to remove the “dictatorial” BJP government in the state, Yadav said, “BSP, RLD and SP will hold a new history. First the chowkidar will go away from the country and then the thekedar too.”
“The BJP showed just dreams to everyone, but did not even complete the work. BJP’s talk starts with the toilet and ends there. In any case, there is no special difference between the Congress and BJP in the matter of toilets. If one digs a pit for the toilet then the other has two crates,” said the 45-year-old SP chief.
The SP chief said Azamgarh is the ‘karmabhoomi’ of ‘samajwadis’ and that the SP-BSP-RLD coaliton is an alliance of ‘mahaparivartan’ (grand change) and not ‘mahamilawat’ (adulteration) as alleged by the BJP.
Thousands of BSP supporters joined SP chief and raised slogans like
Kaam bolta hai (work speaks).
Akhilesh Yadav is seeking election Azamgarh, a seat won by his father Mulayam Singh Yadav in the 2014 general elections. The BJP has pitted Bhojpuri superstar Nirahua or Dinesh Lal Yadav against him.
Uttar Pradesh is witnessing polling during all seven phases of the election. The first and second phases were held on April 11 and April 18. The next phases are scheduled to be held on April 23, April 29, May 6, May 12 and May 19. The votes will be counted on May 23.
Hardik Patel slapped at a Gujarat rally
New Delhi : Congress leader Hardik Patel was slapped at a public meeting in Gujarat on Friday morning. Patel was slapped in Gujarats Surendernagar district during a Jan Aakrosh Sabha.
Television visuals showed Patel was slapped when he was addressing the gathering. A man could be seen walking on the stage and slap Patel from his right side. Soon, others present at the venue climbed the stage and caught hold of the man.
The man was later detained, reports said.
The incident came a day after a farmer refused to let Patels chopper land on his field. This led to the delay in Congress leaders visit to Lunawada in Gujarats Mahisagar district at the last moment.
Not going to retire; will be by Rahul’s side when he becomes PM: Deve Gowda
Bengaluru: Former prime minister and JD(S) supremo HD Deve Gowda has said that unlike BJP veteran LK Advani, he is not going to retire from active politics, and that if Rahul Gandhi becomes the Prime Minister of the country, he will be by his side.
Talking about his decision to contest the Lok Sabha polls, Deve Gowda said, “I announced three years back that I will not contest elections. There are circumstances now in which I have been forced to contest. There is nothing to hide. I have no ambition of anything but what I always said is that I am not going to retire from active politics.”
Deve Gowda is contesting from Karnataka’s Tumkur parliamentary constituency against GS Basvaraj of BJP.
When asked if he wants to retire like Advani, he replied with an emphatic ‘no’, adding, “I want to save my party first and last the office building.”
Commenting on his son and Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy’s statement that there is a possibility that Deve Gowda might become the Prime Minister as a consensus candidate, he said: “I am not bothered about this. My concern is Modi will come to Parliament. I have got the guts and conviction to tell it to the face of the PM. I have the courage. If Rahul Gandhi becomes the Prime Minister, I will sit by his side. It is not necessary to become the Prime Minister.”
Speaking about his commitment to the Congress, he said: “Madam Sonia Gandhi has taken the decision to support Deve Gowda even though we are a small party. Now it is my responsibility to move forward with Congress, though I do agree in some states there is no question of any coalition. But in Tamil Nadu, there is a coalition between Congress and DMK and with Sharad Pawar’s party in Maharashtra.”
Responding to accusations of saving the family rather than the party, the JD(S) chief said: “Several leaders who worked with me collectively, have left. Some people are in Congress, some in BJP. I was able to keep the party intact but suffered. I have not allowed my family members to become president of the party.”