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Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Dharia to be Congress’ answer to Hazare?

Following Mr Hazare’s successful hunger strike to exert pressure on the government for a stringent anti-corruption law, a rattled Congress government has been looking to prop up an alternate civil rights activist who could make a dent against Mr Hazare’s popularity. It seems octogenarian leader Mohan Dharia could be Congress’ answer to Anna Hzare.

The Pune-based Mohan Dharia, like Anna Hazare, has done outstanding work in the field of environment. His NGO Vanarai, set up 25 years ago, is working in the areas of water conservation, joint forestry management and horticulture in rural Maharashtra. Anna Hazare has also done a great deal of work in environmental management in his native village Ralegan Siddhi in the Parner taluka of Ahmednagar district in Maharashtra.
Dharia, a former Congress MP was known as one of the young turks during the Indira Gandhi regime, is no stranger to politics. He also has a rural background having grown up in at Nate in the Kolaba district of Mahrashtra.

Senior BJP functionaries believe the reason Prime Minister Manmohan Singh specially visited Pune earlier this month along with Mahrashtra chief minister Prithviraj Chavan and governor K. Shankarnar-ayanan to congratulate Mr Dharia on his conservation efforts was primarily to highlight that the state has thrown up other leaders who have left their mark in the area of environmental upgradation. His receiving the Sadbhavan award on Monday is also perceived by the BJP as one more effort in that direction.

The PM had emphasised in his speech that there was a “need for increased collaboration between government and NGOs in rural and undeveloped areas of the country”.


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