‘I’m a club man’: Mourinho insists Manchester United come before his future

first_imgFILE – In this Tuesday, Oct. 31, 2017 file photo, Manchester United coach Jose Mourinho looks on during their Champions League group A soccer match against Benfica, at Old Trafford, in Manchester, England. Jose Mourinho has extended his contract at Manchester United, tying him to the Premier League club until at least 2020. United announced the new deal for its manager on Thursday, Jan. 25, 2018. (AP Photo/Dave Thompson, file)Jose Mourinho insists he is only interested in the future prosperity of Manchester United rather than his own position at the troubled club.Mourinho has found his future as United manager the subject of much discussion after a tempestuous period, dating back to a frustrating close-season transfer window.ADVERTISEMENT DepEd’s Taal challenge: 30K students displaced MOST READ Mourinho refused to discuss even the most banal of topics with the media, other than to claim that he was not left frustrated by the defeat at Brighton last weekend.“No, it is not a frustration because it would also be a frustration if we win every match against the non top-six team and don’t win against the top six, that would also be a frustration,” he said.“We want to win all the time. We want to play well all the time. We don’t want to make mistakes. That is what you always want.“We want a winning style. Don’t make defensive mistakes. Be dominant. Chances, score goals and go home with the three points.”Mourinho has clearly been unhappy with the coverage the mainstream media has provided of his club over the past few months — especially a disappointing transfer market and his obviously tricky relationship with key figures at Old Trafford.And, in response, Mourinho refused to address the issue of whether or not he had entered the new season with a squad that was to his satisfaction.“You know my answer,” said Mourinho.“I do not need to answer because I do not even know sometimes why I am here because you know everything.“During the week it looks like you show that you know everything then I come here and you ask me questions. It’s a bit strange.”Even when United’s hapless press officer attempted to move the line of questioning onto the meeting with Tottenham, Mourinho refused to play ball or discuss Pochettino’s side. 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Gretchen Barretto’s daughter Dominique graduates magna cum laude from California college LATEST STORIES Lights inside SMX hall flicker as Duterte rants vs Ayala, Pangilinan anew View comments When asked for his opinion on Spurs’ failure to strengthen their squad this summer, he snapped: “It is not my problem.”Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Judy Ann’s 1st project for 2020 is giving her a ‘stomachache’ “In my career, I was never selfish and thinking about myself, I was always a club man.“That’s what I am. I am really happy when the supporters they support the team. Against Leicester, you can say in a normal situation because the team was playing well and was winning.“But to be supportive of the team against Brighton, where we didn’t play well and lost the match, it gives you a fantastic feeling.“I hope that feeling, the players also feel it and the players they are ready to give them everything they have.”Winning styleADVERTISEMENT That led to conjecture that Mourinho was not happy with the efforts of executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward, who handles player signings at Old Trafford.Equally damaging has been Mourinho’s relationship with star player Paul Pogba, which has come under close scrutiny after comments made by the France midfielder.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSGinebra beats Meralco again to capture PBA Governors’ Cup titleSPORTSJapeth Aguilar wins 1st PBA Finals MVP award for GinebraSPORTSTim Cone still willing to coach Gilas but admits decision won’t be ‘simple yes or no’Mourinho was in particularly dour and uncooperative mood ahead of his team’s Premier League meeting with Mauricio Pochettino’s Tottenham on Monday, although, in one of his few talkative moments, he did reveal his gratitude for the support shown by fans over the first two games of the season.“The supporters were fantastic in both matches,” said Mourinho. “Not for me, for the team which is the only thing that matters.last_img read more

First major snowfall of the season expected this Friday for Fort St John

first_imgFORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – Fort St. John and surrounding area is expected to see the first major snowfall of the season later this week.According to Environment Canada Meteorologist, Matt MacDonald, Fort St. John can expect to see the snow start to fall late Thursday night and continue into Friday morning, producing 10 cm, as a system of Arctic air and Pacific moisture begin to clash.MacDonald says the snow is expected to continue throughout Friday until mid-day Saturday, producing a total of 15 to 20 cm.- Advertisement -As for the temperature, MacDonald says we can expect to see a significant drop with Friday having a daytime high of -9 and an overnight low of -20, with Saturday looking at a low of -25.MacDonald suggests that drivers take extra time to prepare before their commute on Friday morning as road conditions could be poor.Remembrance Day in Fort St. John is expected to warm up a bit with sun and a high of -7.Advertisementlast_img read more

Crystal Palace halt Arsenal’s winning run

first_imgArsenal fell behind to the first of two Milivojevic penalties just before half-time at Selhurst Park.Granit Xhaka equalised with a sublime free-kick before Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang poked in his ninth goal of the season in controversial circumstances.Arsenal striker Alexandre Lacazette flicked the ball to Aubameyang with his hand, but officials failed to spot the offence.Angered by that blow, Palace felt justice was done when Wilfried Zaha won a second penalty with seven minutes left and Milivojevic slotted home again.It was a frustrating afternoon for Emery, whose captain Mesut Ozil reacted angrily when he was substituted in the 68th minute, the German throwing his gloves to the floor after stomping past the Arsenal manager.It was the latest flare-up between the pair after Ozil was reportedly angered by Emery’s demand that he work harder in matches earlier this season.Arsenal’s Mesut Ozil goes up against Crystal Palace midfielder Luka Milivojevic (left) during Sunday’s Premier League match. PHOTO/Daily MailArsenal remain fourth in the Premier League, but missed the chance to keep pace with leaders Liverpool, who are four points clear of the north Londoners.Emery’s team had made a habit of getting off to slow starts this season before flourishing in the second half and another sluggish opening left them creaking under intense Palace pressure.Zaha was a constant menace and the Palace winger almost opened the scoring with a low shot that hit a post with Arsenal goalkeeper Bernd Leno rooted to the spot.Palace should have gone ahead moments later when Andros Townsend failed to convert from close-range.Arsenal finally emerged from their slumber when Lacazette pounced on Milivojevic’s careless pass on the edge of the Palace area and fired just wide.But Roy Hodgson’s men appealed for a penalty after Jordan Ayew’s run was halted by Shkodran Mustafi.– Panicked –On that occasion, Palace’s claims were turned down by referee Martin Atkinson, but on the stroke of half-time they were given a spot-kick.Crystal Palace forward Zaha attempts to keep the ball amidst heavy pressure from Arsenal’s Iwobi and Matteo GuendouziLeno made a hash of punching clear from a corner and a panicked Mustafi needlessly lunged into Cheikhou Kouyate.Palace captain Milivojevic missed a penalty in their defeat at Everton last weekend.Unfazed, Milivojevic kept his nerve this time to send Leno the wrong way from the spot.Having finally scored their first home league goal this season at the fifth attempt — a futile streak that lasted 417 minutes — Palace needed to keep Arsenal at bay after the break.However, it took only six minutes for Xhaka to equalise as the Gunners yet again turned on the style in the second half.The Swiss midfielder smashed a superb curling free-kick into the far corner of Wayne Hennessey’s net from way out on the right flank.Arsenal had seized the momentum and they snatched the lead in controversial circumstances in the 56th minute.When Lacazette rose to meet a cross, the French striker’s raised hand clearly made contact with the ball, diverting it to the unmarked Aubameyang.Lacazette’s offence was missed by Atkinson and Aubameyang stabbed home at the far post, with goalline technology confirming his effort had just crossed over before Hennessey pushed it out.Max Meyer hit the outside of a post as Palace pushed for a leveller and the hosts felt justice was done when they won another penalty in the 83rd minute.Zaha tricked his way past Xhaka and tumbled to the turf, his fall convincing Atkinson, if not the Arsenal players, that it was worthy of a spot-kick.For the second time, Milivojevic was coolness personified as he drilled past Leno to end Arsenal’s winning run.0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today) 0Shares0000Wayne Hennessey of Crystal Palace fails to stop a spectacular shot from XhakaLONDON, United Kingdom, Oct 28 – Arsenal’s 11-match winning run came to a dramatic end as Luka Milivojevic’s late penalty rescued Crystal Palace in a contentious 2-2 draw on Sunday.Unai Emery’s side failed to win a 12th successive match in all competitions as they fell short of the club’s record of 14 victories in a row.last_img read more


first_imgA very brave young Donegal woman has spoken bravely, candidly and honestly about her on-going battle with depression, anxiety and panic attacks.The young woman who has remained anonymous hopes telling her story will help others experiencing similar difficulties to speak up and talk to people about them. She has appealed to people suffering from depression to not suffer in silence, and that there is light at the end of the tunnel.She hopes opening up can be the stepping stone for others suffering from depression to seek help.She penned the following piece on social media page – Talk Your Mind, “I am a female in her 20’s from Inishowen who suffers from severe depression, anxiety and panic attacks. One of the main problems with mental illness is that there is a certain stereotype surrounding the people who suffer. Many people would see a girl who is shy and introverted and in the same room a girl who is outgoing, laughing and full of life.If you were told one suffers in this way most people would be inclined to go with the quiet girl.What people need to learn is that the most outgoing and social people can also suffer with the same illness.I myself would be quite loud, social and love my nights out and travelling. I have many friends and know many people but what many see on the outside does not match how I feel on the inside.Although I am more lucky than words can explain regards the support I am receiving from family, friends and my counsellor, there is a certain loneliness of knowing they can’t understand how you feel. For this reason I have set up this page “Talk Your Mind” to encourage young people similar to me to get in touch anonymously if they chose to. You are NEVER alone.I understand the frustration of hearing that mental health issues are so common place yet feeling so alone and isolated like you are the only one that suffers just cause you don’t know of anyone else that does.I don’t claim to have any background in therapy and that is not what my aim is, I just hope to offer even one person support and someone to talk to that actually understands and has felt how they do.Maybe this page will encourage me myself to become public about my illness, only time will tell. Please do not hesitate to contact me through email, message or phone call which can be requested.Feel free to be anonymous when contacting me, I completely understand as I myself am doing the same for now!Anyone that wishes to contact me can be sure that I will be confidential as I myself going through this understand the importance of privacy in this situation.If this status could be shared by anyone in the Inishowen area who reads this it would be great, after all by sharing this you could help a loved one who suffers in silence without even knowing it and you would be giving them someone to talk to so…..PLEASE SHARE!!!  Thank You xINSPIRING – YOUNG DONEGAL WOMAN HIGHLIGHTS HER BATTLE WITH DEPRESSION was last modified: January 13th, 2016 by Mark ForkerShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)last_img read more


first_imgGaeil Fhánada got their league campaign off to a perfect start in Tria Locha with a comfortable 5 point victory over familiar opposition in the form of Cloughaneely. Michael O’Connor and Dougie Corbett started their reign in Fanad, giving competitive debuts to youngsters Paul O’Connor, Brian ‘Barney’ McBride and Conor McGonigle.Cloughaneely travelled without the services of Kevin Mulhern, Darren McGeever and Denis Boyle, all prominent players within the Cloughaneely camp. It was a glorious day in Fanad, however, as is with Tri A Loch, a testing breeze blew across the pitch.The pitch offered no bounce which the Cloughaneely forwards would soon find out.Fanad started off promisingly, and despite playing against the breeze, dominated possession.However, they only had one score to show for their efforts, a Brian McVeigh effort from outside the 21. Cloughaneely then took control and hit two points, one from Declan McGarvey from a placed ball, the other off the foot of Sean Maguire.Fanad then put two points on the board through a Nanny Friel free and a fine effort from McVeigh after a lung bursting run.Cloughaneely were punished three times in the first half for picking the ball off the ground, testament to the dead bounce on the pitch.They did equalise through a John Fitzgerald free, and it was to be their last score of the half.Paddy Heraghty was black carded for the homeside, it was an unfortunate black card as Paddy seemed to get tangled with Cillian Gallagher as he made the tackle, however there were no complaints from Paddy. On came veteran Cathal Martin to steady the ship. Jimmy Coyle and Kevin McElwaine were nullifying the threat of Ciaran Scanlon and Shaun Maguire from midfield, and Fanad were playing a strong running game.This was evident with their next two scores, first, Michael Sweeney was fouled as he bore down on goal, Nanny Friel pointed the resulting free, and in a similar move, Mark ‘Sparky’ Friel was deliberately fouled as he was rounded the keeper, the result being a penalty and a black card to the Cloughaneely keeper Sean McCafferty.On came Ciaran Mór Gallagher to replace him, and his first task was to pick the ball from the net as Nanny Friel clinically dispatched the penalty.Half time score: Fanad Gaels 1-04 – 0-03 Cloughaneely. Fanad started the second half strongest, Ryan McGonigle featuring strongly, and a fine ball inside to Marty McAteer was finished off his weaker left foot for the first score of the second half.Credit to Cloughaneely, and especially to John McGarvey, who stormed through two challenges to find himself one- on-one with Paul O’Connor.McGarvey’s initial shot was saved by O’Connor, but the deflection cruelly bounced off Fanad captain Fergal Friel and into the net.This left the score 1-05 to 1-03 in Fanad’s favour, but Fanad were in no mood to let their opponents back into the game.With the next attack, they hit a goal, an excellent ball from Seimi ‘Coshia’ Friel, who entered the fray just before half time, found his namesake Seami Nanny, who turned the sticky Martin Ferry and finished superbly.Michael Sweeney then got his name on the scoresheet from a tricky angle after superb hardwork from Jonny Friel.With the next kickout, Jonny Friel broke the ball straight to Seami Coshia Friel, who in turn found Michael Sweeney.A ball over the top found Brian McVeigh in acres of space and he drove the ball high to the roof off the Cloughaneely net for a fantastic worked team goal.This left the score 3-06 to 1-03 for Fanad. Some ill-disciplined tackling from Fanad meant Cloughaneely hit three points in a row, John McGarvey (0-2f) and John Fitzgerald (0-1f) the contributors.Scores from Seami Nanny (a monster free from all of 45 yards near the touchline) and Brian McVeigh meant the cushion was pushed out to 8 points.Martin McGuire (Cloughaneely) was red carded for verbals directed at the referee, this didn’t phase the Falcarragh men and they did strike a goal through Cillian Gallagher with 5 minutes remaining to leave it a 5 point game, however Coshia Friel put the game to bed with a great point off his left boot.John Fitzgerald ended the scoring with a free with only a minute remaining. Overall Fanad will be happy with the result.McGonigle and McBride kept Fitzgerald and McGarvey scoreless from play, which is a fantastic which is a fantastic achievement given the free scoring both the Cloughaneely men demonstrated in our Intermediate semi-final in 2014.Jimmy Coyle and Ryan McGonigle carried the ball well, and the wing half forward combination of the Friel brothers, Jonny and Mark, covered every blade of grass on the pitch. The firepower of McVeigh and Nanny Friel was the difference in the end.Next competitive game for the Gaels is Killybegs away on Easter Monday.GAA NEWS: FIREPOWER OF FANAD GAELS DUO MCVEIGH AND FRIEL TOO MUCH FOR CLOUGHANEELY TO HANDLE was last modified: March 24th, 2015 by Mark ForkerShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:fanad gaelsGAANoticesSportlast_img read more


first_imgDonegal soccer star Mark Farren has jetted out to Mexico along with wife Terri-Louise for revolutionary life-saving treatment.Mark Farren and wife Terri-Louise have jetted off to Mexico for treatment in which they hope can save Mark’s life.Greencastle native Farren was given a terrific send off on Saturday at a charity match organised to raise funds for his treatment.A Derry City XI played a Northern Ireland XI with both teams being managed by current international managers Martin O’Neill and Michael O’Neill. Farren’s former Derry City teammates David Forde, Paddy McCourt, James McClean and Kevin McHugh all played in a game that was stacked full of top-class talent.Saturday’s game was just the latest gesture from the footballing fraternity in the North-West and all over Ireland who have rallied behind Derry’s all-time leading goal-scorer and his family since the news of his plight was revealed.A staggering £41,000 has been raised which has enabled Farren to undergo this revolutionary treatment in an attempt to save his life.We would like to wish Mark and his wife Terr-Louise a safe trip on their journey to Mexico and hope the surgery is successful. Keep fighting Mark everybody is behind you.#TEAMFARREN STRICKEN DONEGAL SOCCER STAR MARK FARREN HEADS OFF TO MEXICO FOR TREATMENT was last modified: May 25th, 2015 by Mark ForkerShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:cancerFeaturesMark FarrenMexiconewslast_img read more


first_imgGardaí and the Sea Fisheries Protection Authority (SFPA) are investigating weighing systems at a Donegal fish factory which has had its permit suspended on the eve of the herring season.KillybegsThe authority confirmed to The Irish Times that it had suspended the factory’s weigh permit, pending “the outcome of inquiries” involving its officials, the Garda and the National Standards Authority of Ireland.The authority said it was the first time that a permit for this particular premises had been temporarily withdrawn. The company, Sean Ward (Fish Exports) Ltd in Killybegs, has been one of the port’s largest processors and exporters of pelagic (herring/mackerel) fish and employs up to 80 staff at its peak.A spokesman said the company was “ co-operating fully with the SFPA” and it was also conducting an internal investigation and was “ hopeful of a speedy resolution of the matter”.The factor was founded in 1998 and lists a Marine Stewardship Council certification for sustainability.EU fishery regulations require all fishery products to be weighed immediately on landing.The State authority said that a derogation allows the weighing to take place after transport , typically at processing establishments, provided it is “satisfied with the accuracy and correct use of those weighing systems”. “As the matter is ongoing, no further comment can be made at this time,”the SFPA said.The Killybegs factory is the third Irish processor to be the subject of inquiries in the past two years.GARDAI INVESTIGATING WEIGHING SYSTEMS AT DONEGAL FISH FACTORY was last modified: September 24th, 2015 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:donegalGardaiKillybegsweighing systemslast_img read more

Illegal dumpers once again target stunning scenic walk

first_imgOne of Donegal’s most scenic walks and trails has once again been targeted by illegal dumpers.Corravaddy Woods on the Drumkeen to Letterkenny road is a firm favourite for walkers and runners, who avail of the fresh air and wooded walk.A beautiful scenic trail takes people through the forest as they get to enjoy the calmness and fresh air just out of town. However, once again a small number of people have used the area to dump unwanted items including mattresses as well as other household rubbish. It is now understood that Donegal County Council is to consider placing covert cameras in the area in a bid to identify the illegal dumpers once and for all.One walker took these pictures of the horrific items being dumped in the area on a regular basis. He said “The problem has got even worse over Christmas with the dumping of beds and mattresses quite brazening along the road and gateway to this splendid resource.“This is not the problem of the council but the people of Donegal who think it is ok for them to dump their rubbish while others deal with it.“People should report anyone they see dumping rubbish and don’t even think twice about it.”Mattress dumped at CorravaddyIllegal dumpers once again target stunning scenic walk was last modified: March 1st, 2018 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Galileo Affair: Plenty of Blame to Go Around

first_imgWhat is the true account of Galileo Galilei’s troubles with the Catholic church?  We may never know.  Complex historical events are often difficult to interpret, and new details sometimes shed different light on commonly-accepted views.  One thing does seem certain, according to Thomas Mayer, historian at Augustana College, Illinois: “The notion that Galileo’s trial was a conflict between science and religion should be dead.”  He told this to Live Science in a report about new findings showing a new angle on the 17th-century trial of the eminent astronomer and physicist.    There’s a difference between simple and simplistic.  Many adults grew up with the simple explanation that Galileo was a heroic victim in a classic clash with religion.  It was the theme of 19th-century books intent on exalting science by bashing the church – books now almost universally deplored as simplistic and wrong.  A clash existed, but its causes are multiple and intertwined.  Mayer has been poring over Inquisition documents and finding that many of them are just sloppy.    While that’s a blot on the church, Galileo made his share of mistakes.  He could have avoided a lot of his troubles with a little research into the rules about negotiating a settlement, but he apparently didn’t.  Mayer says he “didn’t know the rules and deliberately kept himself ignorant of them.”  He contradicted himself, and “he made every imaginable mistake” in the second part of his trial, Mayer believes.    Mayer is trying to understand the players as “human beings as opposed to cardboard cutouts” as they are often portrayed.  The Galileo Affair was not a simple, good-guy-vs-bad-guys story.  The nuances won’t diminish Galileo as a hero, nor exonerate the church for persecuting him, but it will surely make the story more interesting than a melodrama.Could your entire life be reduced to a few episodes that would give a true picture of yourself?  That’s what we’ve done to Galileo.  Like the Scopes Trial, the Galileo Affair has been for too long a “cardboard cutout” story that has colored perceptions of the relation of science and religion.  Sometimes knowing more detail won’t change the conclusion, but it will significantly alter the route by which you arrive at it, and make the journey much more interesting.  It also softens hatred of villains into a kind of reluctant empathy when you understand their times and motivations.  Galileo remains a fascinating character, but if you want a better role model, check out Kepler.Comment on historical interpretationIt’s common for history professors nowadays to emphasize that characters need to be evaluated in the context of their times and cultures.  It is not right, they say, for us to judge them by our cultural values; we need to put ourselves in their shoes and see the world as they saw it.  This is sensible as far as it goes, but taken too far, it can lead to a kind of relativism that is self-refuting.  To see why, picture a history professor, Dr. Smith, 400 years from now evaluating a history professor, Dr. Jones, from 2010.  He says, “To evaluate Dr. Jones, we need to judge him by his context, which was to judge historical characters by their context.”  800 years from now, another history professor, Dr. Bennett, says, “To evaluate Dr. Smith, we need to judge him by his context, which was to judge Dr. Jones by his context, which was to judge his predecessors by their context.”  Infinite regress: no context becomes solid enough to provide a basis for evaluating anything.  Instead, there needs to be a foundation for truth and values that is fixed and eternal, by which all things can be evaluated.  The Bible provides such a foundation for “building on the rock” instead of the shifting sands of human opinion (Matthew 7:24-27, Psalm 119).  Works for science, too.(Visited 17 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Changed realities trigger a Mayawati makeover

first_imgThe return of Mayawati to campaigning after the Election Commission of India’s censure with a rally alongside Samajwadi Party patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav in Mainpuri on Friday, is one more example of how the Bahujan Samaj Party chief’s strident approach has given way to a more inclusive, layered pitch, keeping in mind the complex caste and religious realities of the region. Combating the BJP’s poaching of her traditional vote bank and adjusting to the demands of alliance partners, Ms. Mayawati, in her speeches, has come a long way from the days of tilak, taraju aur talwar, inko maro joote chaar, where she attacked the symbols of high castes in a crude language. Words like ‘Manuwadi’, which were once a staple in her speeches, are disappearing. And she does not hesitate in invoking the names of Chaudhary Charan Singh and Ram Manohar Lohia with B.R. Ambedkar and Kanshi Ram. Ms. Mayawati’s attempt at social engineering is not exactly new. But in the past, it was largely limited to giving a toehold to Brahmins and Thakurs in the party in return for ‘resources’. On stage, they had to sit behind her, barefoot. The compulsions of the alliance have ensured that Ms. Mayawati has to give equal space to Jat leaders. At the Meerut rally recently, one throne-like seat on stage had to be replaced by two when Rashtriya Lok Dal workers sulked and demanded equal status for party vice-president Jayant Chaudhary in the farmers’ belt. In return, her alliance partners had to acknowledge the presence of her nephew Akash Anand, who has emerged as a force in the BSP during these elections. “It is a very unlikely alliance. One of the groups that oppresses the Dalits the most is the OBCs, even more than the higher castes. To make the alliance politically viable, she obviously has to undermine her Dalit card,” says Ajai Gudavarthy, assistant professor at the Centre of Political Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University.Core vote bankBe it an attempt to appropriate Bajrangbali or talking of keeping upvas (fast) on voting day, she seems to be apprehensive that like in 2014, a section of her so-called core vote bank may continue to vote as Hindus.The Jatavs are behind her but the Valmikis and lower OBCs seem iffy for they feel the fruits of BSP rule in Uttar Pradesh did not reach them.In Agra, the Valmikis remind about how she never fielded any candidate from their community from the reserved constituency. Perhaps, that is why her acolytes have to tell the crowd: “Kya Behenji Hindu nahin hain?” (Is Mayawati not a Hindu?)“Unlike Maharashtra, there was no actual conversion of Dalits and OBCs in north India. The moment anti-Muslim rhetoric goes up, a section of Dalits and OBCs start identifying themselves as Hindus. There is a certain appeal of the RSS and the BJP when they identify themselves as Hindus. They feel more included when the gaze shifts to the Muslims. Suddenly they feel empowered that there is somebody more vulnerable than them,” reasons Dr. Gudavarthy.It is important for the BSP to neutralise this advantage and it is doing it by whipping up Ms. Mayawati’s Hindu identity.“As the BJP doesn’t give seats to Muslims, there are extra seats available to accommodate the OBC candidates. This was on display during the Assembly elections in 2017 when Mayawati offered 100 seats to Muslims. That advantage has to be neutralised which I think is a good strategy for the time being,” adds Dr. Gudavarthy. She is playing the Muslim card with caution. In Deoband, she addressed Muslims because the Congress has fielded a strong candidate in Imran Masood against BSP’s Fazalur Rehman. In Meerut, she did not, for the Congress has fielded Harendra Agrawal who is expected to cut votes of BJP’s Rajendra Agarwal. In Budaun, where the Congress has fielded Salim Shervani, she again cited the Sachar Committee report to underline the miserable condition of Muslims during the Congress rule.Social chemistry The social chemistry at the top is yet to percolate to the ground. In Deoband, the high-caste Muslims didn’t seem to be in favour of Ms. Mayawati being projected as a prime ministerial candidate by the alliance partners. In Aligarh, where the BSP candidate, Ajit Baliyan, a Jat, is in the fray, the local SP leader could be seen vacating the seat for the BSP worker at the party office as it is “their” seat. But in Iglas, which is part of the Hathras reserved constituency, Jats say they will vote for the BJP candidate because he adheres to the social hierarchy. “This alliance has been possible because of Yogi Adityanath, a casteist leader who has brought back the old varna system. It doesn’t mean there is a permanent social arrangement between the OBCs and Dalits. One of the concerns for the Mahagathbandan is the transfer of votes. To ensure that social prejudices are not triggered, the political rhetoric has to be carefully crafted,” says Dr. Gudavarthy.last_img read more