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Bihar drubbing triggers discord in Congress

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The Congress’ abysmal performance in the Bihar Assembly elections has triggered massive discord in the party, with the grand old party being turned into a divided house.

Senior leader Kapil Sibal’s open criticism of the party leadership after the Bihar debacle has provoked a sharp rebuttal from Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot. Defending the high command, Gehlot, in a series of tweets, said on Monday that “there was no need” for his colleague to mention “internal issues” to the media. He further said that after every electoral loss, the party has shown an undivided and firm belief in the party leadership and emerged stronger from each crisis.

Gehlot also assertively said that Sibal’s comments to the media, criticising the leadership after the Bihar defeat, has “hurt the sentiments” of party workers across the country.

Sibal was part of a group of 23 senior Congress leaders who had written to party chief Sonia Gandhi in August, making suggestions on ways to revive the organisation. This had not gone down well with many, including Gehlot, who were close to the high command.

The way Gehlot came out so openly in defence of the party leadership is a clear indication that the discord will assume much worse proportions in the days to come.  Sources told The Daily Guardian that the Congress high command may convene an emergency meeting to deal with it. Another indication is that the high command seems to have given Gehlot the responsibility to take on the Congress rebels. With Gehlot on the front foot, disgruntled leaders might go on the back foot, say sources.

The disgruntled veterans who had written to Sonia Gandhi are understood to be getting ready to rake up the organisational issues once again in a big way in the light of the party’s miserable performance in Bihar polls.

Backing Sibal, Congress Rajya Sabha member Vivek Tankha, who was also a part of the 23 leaders seeking an overhaul in the party, said that it is time to act now, else it will be too late. He also said that, for democracy to survive, the Congress has to survive. “Kapil ji is an iconic lawyer and a hardcore Congress personality. Together and individually, we have fought countless battles and continue to fight BJP shenanigans. For our democracy to survive Congress has to survive. Time to act is now or tomorrow may be too late,” Tankha tweeted while tagging Sibal’s interview.

What is amply clear is that the Congress is facing massive infighting now, with seniors blaming the team of Rahul Gandhi for the poor show in Bihar. Rahul had given responsibility for the Bihar poll to Randeep Singh Surjewala. The Congress leaders who were looking after Bihar poll management are now being held responsible for whatever comments RJD leader Shivanand Tiwari made on Rahul Gandhi.

Sources said that the Congress leaders working in Bihar shared wrong information with the high command after the first phase of voting. They had apprised the high command that the victory of the Grand Alliance (Mahagathbandhan) was certain after the first phase of polling. Rahul Gandhi also trusted their report. Strategists of the Congress also miscalculated the bypolls in MP. Despite Kamal Nath’s wish to have rallies with Rahul and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra in some of the seats in MP, Congress strategists went against this proposal, considering victory to be certain in around 18-19 seats. Like what was in practice a decade ago, these strategists still believe that the party will perform well even if Rahul and Priyanka do not personally visit the constituencies. This is the reason why the siblings are practising their politics through Twitter.

Priyanka is in charge of UP, where Congress’ performance in the bypolls was quite poor.  All her experiments to revive Congress in UP have come a cropper. Another important state, Bihar, was taken lightly and the Congress did not do anything to groom the local leadership there.  Rahul relied on Tejashwi and took it as a part-time job. Tejashwi Yadav did not work full-time too, resulting in old allies and leaders of the RJD distancing themselves from it. He tried to do Bihar’s politics while sitting in Delhi, giving an impetus to the campaign only during election time. Tejashwi did manage to establish himself as a leader, despite stopping short of power.  But the Congress is still the real loser.

The party is not in a position to do anything concrete in other states, with Kerala going to the polls in May next year. The Congress had been hopeful of doing well in Assam but after the Bihar drubbing, the writing is on the wall. Some Congress leaders might even desert the party in Assam. It depends on the DMK in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry. And as far as West Bengal is concerned, the Congress is on a sticky wicket. Therefore, challenges for Rahul Gandhi will be manifold in the days to come.

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DELHI HC ASKS ELECTION COMMISSION TO ALLOT COMMON SYMBOL TO AZAD SAMAJ PARTY

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The Delhi High Court on Wednesday asked the Election Commission of India to allot a common symbol to Azad Samaj Party (Kanshi Ram) for the upcoming assembly elections in five states.

The bench of Justice Prateek Jalan on Wednesday noted the submission of the Election commission and stated that it has no objection to granting a common symbol to the Bhim Army chief Chandershekhar Azad, for his ‘Azad Samaj Party (Kanshi Ram)’ for the upcoming assembly elections in five states. The Election Commission is directed to facilitate this process,” Justice Jalan said. Appearing for Election Commission, Advocate Sidhant Kumar submitted that the petitioner has been allotted a common symbol ‘helicopter’ for three states Goa, Punjab and Manipur while the application for Uttar Pradesh was rejected for being premature, the symbol sought was also not available for Uttarakhand.

Earlier, ECI told the court that it will consider in accordance with the law, Chandrashekhar Azad’s application for allotment of a common symbol for his political party for the upcoming assembly elections in different states.

The petition was moved seeking court direction to grant common symbol for the party to contest assembly election of five states scheduled to be held starting of the next year 2022.

On March 15, 2020, Bhim Army Chief Chandrashekhar Azad had launched his ‘Azad Samaj Party’ on the birth anniversary of Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) founder Kanshi Ram. Chandrashekhar Azad had launched the party in presence of several supporters and workers of the Bhim Army.

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SENIOR DRDO SCIENTIST NARAYAN MURTHY GIVEN ADDITIONAL CHARGE OF BRAHMOS AEROSPACE

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Defence Research and Development Organisation’s Director-General Missiles and Strategic Systems (DGMSS) BHVS Narayan Murthy has been given the additional charge of the BrahMos Aerospace corporation.

“Distinguished scientist Mr Narayan Murthy has been given the interim charge of the BrahMos Aerospace corporation which manufactures the BrahMos supersonic cruise missile for the Indian armed forces,” BrahMos officials told ANI here.

The interim charge was given to him on Tuesday in view of the superannuation of Sudhir Mishra who completed his over the seven-year term in the office on November 30.

Murthy is the Chief Architect of advanced Onboard Computer (OBC) technologies for missile systems and other defence applications. His sustained contributions and technology leadership over the last three decades has been transformative for making India self-reliant in advanced Real-Time Embedded Computers, mission computing systems, and other avionics technologies.

He led the design and development of advanced Avionics for “Mission Shakti,” India’s first Anti-Satellite Missile Test (A-SAT) and Long-Range Missile Agni 5, elevating India into a league of select nations and strengthening indigenous defence capabilities.

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CAPTAIN AMARINDER’S BONDING WITH HARYANA CM CONTINUES TO LEAD TO NEW POLITICAL SCENARIO

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Captain Amarinder Singh, former Chief Minister of Punjab met Manohar Lal, the Chief Minister of Haryana recently leaving everyone with new political speculations. The captain continues to struggle for his political survival after he was removed from the post of Chief Minister of Punjab. Following this, he formed a new party and remained in touch with the BJP.

Even he had a conversation with the Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other BJP stalwarts. In continuation to mentioned above, his meeting with Manohar Lal is being considered another new development. Political experts are of the opinion that Manohar Lal is most likely to help him to get lost political ground in Punjab.

No one can deny that Manohar Lal is in the good books of the PM Modi, Amit Shah, Union Home Minister along with national party president JP Nadda. Thus, it is clearly visible how crucial role he can play for Captain as he is believed to come with an alliance with the BJP ahead of the assembly election in Punjab.

Everyone is familiar with the fact that earlier both Manohar Lal and Singh continued to take on each other pertaining to many issues belonging to both Haryana and Punjab states. Particularly, Sutlej Yamuna Link (SYL), Haryana’s demand of its share in assembly and separate High court emerged as main factors for rift between Manohar Lal and Captain Amrinder, then CM of Punjab.

Singh’s removal from the post of Chief Minister by the Congress party high command led to give birth to new political scenario. It came to know that both stalwarts had long talk over a string of issues, be it personnel or political. Putting aside previous experiences and bitterness, both also involved in discussion about the upcoming assembly elections in Punjab.

Apart from aforesaid, it is worth mentioning that BJP’s bonding with Amarinder Singh is also likely to help the party in Haryana as he owns a well reputation in the state, particularly among farmers. The agrarian community is not in good terms with the BJP-JJP government after the contentious farm laws were introduced by the Union Government.

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Ratan Malakar to file nomination as independent candidate

Arup Kali

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Outgoing co-ordinator Ratan Malakar submitted his nomination as an independent candidate in Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s ward after he was denied a ticket. In the list of pre-poll Trinamool candidates announced on Friday, Kajri Bandyopadhyay, wife of CM’s brother Kartik Bandyopadhyay, was made a candidate in the ward of the Chief Minister’s house.

As soon as the name was announced, campaign started and Ratan did not take part in it. On the last day, he submitted his nomination as an independent candidate in ward no. 73. Ratan, who is also the chairman of Boro-9, said: “I have voluntarily become an independent candidate. I don’t want to say anything against anyone.”

In 2000, Ratan stood for the first time as a TMC candidate in Ward No. 71. At the behest of the then Leader of the Opposition Mamata Banerjee, the leaders accepted Ratan as their candidate. He was shifted to ward no. 73 in 2005.

He became a councillor from the ward of the Chief Minister’s house in 2005, 2010 and 2015. But Ratan was not made a candidate this time. Ward 73 is part of the Chief Minister’s Assembly constituency Bhabanipur. On Tuesday, Sachchidananda Bandyopadhyay, former chairman of Kolkata municipality, stood as an independent candidate in ward no 80, after being denied a ticket from ward number 70.

Trinamool is uneasy as there are two independent candidates in the Chief Minister’s constituency. Former Minister Subrata Mukherjee’s sister Tanima Chatterjee has become an independent candidate. Her name was withdrawn after the announcement. December 4 is the last day for withdrawal of nominations.

However, South Kolkata district Trinamool president Debashis Kumar has spoken harshly against Sachchidananda and Ratan. “Many stand as independent candidates for many reasons. Fourth is the last day for withdrawal of nomination. If they withdraw their nomination on that day, then it is all right. But if they do not withdraw their nomination, we will take appropriate action.”

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BJP MP ROOPA GANGULY SLAMS BENGAL LEADERSHIP, WALKS OUT OF MEET

Arup Kali

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Actor-turned-politician Roopa Ganguly raised serious allegations against senior state BJP leadership for being biased while distributing tickets for the Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) election after she expressed dismay over the selection of candidates for the civic polls during a virtual meeting chaired by West Bengal BJP president Sukanta Majumdar (who was in Delhi), MP Dilip Ghosh and state general secretary (organisation) Amitava Chakraborty.

During a virtual meeting of the BJP on Tuesday, she expressed her anger and stormed out of the room. “Don’t call me to this meeting,” she said. The Bengal BJP will approach the central leadership with her behaviour.

A few days prior to the Kolkata bypolls, the BJP has already announced the list of candidates. After that the political equation within the party is changing. An atmosphere of anger is also being created in some cases. This time, BJP MP Ganguly is against the party.

It is learned that the meeting was held with the pre-vote. Apart from Roopa, the meeting was also attended by BJP state president Sukant Majumder, former state president and party’s all-India vice president Dilip Ghosh. Many more BJP leaders took part in the meeting. During that meeting, she abruptly left it. Sources said the Bengal BJP will inform the central leadership about this.

After that, Ganguly wrote a post on Facebook: “Today my belief got confirmed that Tista death was not a mere accident but a murder. Sorry BJP4Bengal, I am with Gaurab in my little capacity.”

She further wrote, “I understand that the death of Tista is not a mere accident. I will be by Gaurab’s side.” ‘Tista’s husband’s name is Gaurab. According to sources, Roopa is angry that she did not get a ticket in the pre-poll.

After the death of BJP councillor in a road accident, Rahul Sinha stood in front of the body and said there should be an investigation.

A post by Roopa on social media after the recent death of Subrata Mukherjee also made the party uneasy. She wrote, “You have taken Tista, boss. Ma Kali will take something back.” She further claimed that he was supposed to join the BJP before the 2021 elections. But he didn’t like the deal.” She added: “I don’t say all these things. I remain silent. The BJP leadership did not agree with his remarks.”

The BJP was supposed to give tickets to Gaurab, the husband of Tista Biswas. But Biswas’s husband did not get a ticket. So, he will fight from that ward as an independent. Several BJP leaders are also angry over the nomination of candidates. The team has already taken action against a few.

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Chautala asks farmers to open borders after farm laws repealed

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Haryana Deputy Chief Minister Dushyant Chautala on Wednesday said that the farmers protesting on the Delhi borders should return home and open the borders as the Centre has taken back the three farm laws and is ready to talk on the Minimum Support Price (MSP).

Addressing a press conference here, the Deputy CM said, “Now that the Centre has taken back the three farm laws in the Parliament and their MSP demand is ready to be talked about by the Centre, farmers should return and open our borders.” Chautala further announced that the government will withdraw even the “non-lethal” cases against the farmers. “Even the non-lethal cases against farmers will be taken back,” he said.

The Deputy CM appealed to the Centre to replicate the act of the state government of directly transferring the MSP on paddy crops for the last two harvests. “Farmers demanded MSP in Haryana and our govt, in the last 2 harvests, directly transferred Rs 30,000 crores for MSP on paddy crops. I urged the Centre to replicate this all over the nation,” he said.

Earlier this month, Jannayak Janta Party leader Dushyant Chautala welcomed the Centre’s decision to repeal the three contentious farm laws and hoped they would be reintroduced in a better way.

Speaking briefly to reporters in the national capital today, Chautala said, “The Prime Minister has himself said that he could not let the benefits be understood by the farmers. I think now it is high time that we make the farmers understand the benefits and reintroduce the laws in a better way.”

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