Rahul Gandhi, the leader of the Congress, and other senior party figures started the second day of the Bharat Jodo Yatra on Thursday in Agasteeswaram, Tamil Nadu, in an effort to counter the policies of the BJP-led Centre and to educate the people about the dangers of economic inequality, social polarisation, and political centralization.
Along with Rahul Gandhi, senior leaders took part in the “Padyatra,” including party MPs KC Venugopal, P Chidambaram, and Bhupesh Baghel, the chief minister of Chhattisgarh. It is a Bharat Jodo Yatra, according to Jairam Ramesh, the general secretary in charge of communications for the Congress, to combat the BJP’s divisive politics and to make the nation aware of the dangers that India faces as a result of economic inequality, social polarisation, and political polarisation.
“This is also a Yatra that will strengthen the party organisation and mobilise party workers, and the entire party is ensuring that the Bharat Jodo Yatra is a resounding and outstanding success,” said Jairam Ramesh.
He further said, “We are focused like Arjun was focused on the fish when he went for Draupadi’s swayamvar. We have only one vision right now: to ensure the successful completion of Bharat Jodo Yatra.”
The leader of the Congress went on to say that they don’t want to waste their time refuting the claims made by the opposition.
“There will always be professional critics, arm-chair critics, people who will raise questions in India for everything you do,” he added.
He claimed that every institution in the nation is under attack while pleading for support from the populace to keep the country united during the Bharat Jodo Yatra rally on Wednesday.
The tricolour is owned by every state, religion, and language, but the BJP and the RSS are attacking it right now because they are splitting India along religious and linguistic lines, according to former Congress President Rahul Gandhi, who made this statement on Wednesday.
Rahul Gandhi will embark on a 3,500-kilometer march from Kanyakumari to Kashmir that will take 150 days to complete and pass through up to 12 states.
On September 11, the Yatra will arrive in Kerala. Over the next 18 days, it will travel through the state, arriving in Karnataka on September 30. Before travelling further north, it will spend 21 days in Karnataka.
Rahul Gandhi remarked earlier on Wednesday that the opposition was not intimidated by the Bhartiya Janata Party. He made the statement during his address to the crowd on the first day.
“They (BJP) think they can frighten the opposition using CBI, ED and IT. The problem is they don’t understand Indian people. Indian people don’t get scared. Not a single opposition leader is going to be scared of the BJP,” said Congress MP Rahul Gandhi.
“It gives me great joy to begin BharatJodoYatra from this beautiful place. The National Flag represents the religion and language of every single person living in this country. They (BJP and RSS) think that this flag is their personal property,” he added.
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Congress President will work under Gandhi family, says Digvijaya Singh
A day before the filing of the nomination for the Congress presidential race, Senior Congress leader Digvijaya Singh on Thursday made it clear that the Gandhi family will remain the leader whosoever becomes the president of the party.
Digvijaya Singh said, “The Nehru-Gandhi family will remain our leader. Whoever becomes the party president will work under their leadership. Our priority is to see how the situation in the country improves, won’t let the country divide or the constitution weaken,” he said.
The Daily Guardian on Thursday exclusively talked to Digvijaya Singh to understand his point of view. Here is an excerpts:
TDG Reporter: So, you have officially taken the plunge…..
Digvijaya: What is the meaning of ‘officially’? There is nothing ‘official’ about it. Congress is a democratic party and all PCC delegates have rights to fight in the elections. The party constitution has given us that right. So, I am also contesting the election.
TDG Reporter: Some say that you have blessings of the Gandhi family…that’s why you are contesting the election.
Digvijaya: This is completely wrong. This is my own decision.
TDG Reporter: Why have you taken this decision?
Digvijaya: Reason is simple. I think I am a fit candidate to fight in the Congress Presidential election. I had been MLA for five times, won Lok Sabha elections twice and was in Rajya Sabha twice. I was also delegate of Pradesh Congress Committee. Rajiv Gandhi ji made me the state party chief in Madhya Pradesh. In 1992, I once again became the President of the state unit and in 1993, I became the Chief Minister. From 2004 to 2017, I have been AICC general secretary. So, I have enough experience and I think I am a capable candidate.
TDG Reporter: Did you have any discussion with Rahul Gandhi or Sonia Gandhi?
Digvijaya: No, I did not have any discussion with anybody. Sonia Gandhi has clearly said anybody can contest the poll. So, I am here.
TDG Reporter: What is the feedback you are getting? How are you feeling?
Digvijaya: Oh, I am feeling damn good.
TDG Reporter: Sashi Tharoor is in the fray. Did you have any interaction with him?
Digvijaya: Sashi is a candidate who is young, attractive, articulate and has huge international experience. He is in the fray…and that’s a good news. I think we both have many similarities, we both like Gandhi-Nehruvian ideology. We fight for ideology and continue to do that.
TDG Reporter: There is no internal fight?
Digvijaya: No, there is none. We are here to fight an election which is everybody’s right. That’s it.
TDG Reporter: You have said that Congress Presidential election is crucial one. What are the issues you want to bring on the table?
Digvijaya: My first responsibility is to make the ‘Bhart Jodo Yatra’ a great success. I have put my heart and soul here. I will continue to work for that till the Yatra reaches Srinagar.
TDG Reporter: As you earlier told the party needs a solid fighter. Do you think you will rise to the occasion?
Digvijaya: Well, the party decides on this who is what. I am a small worker of the party. Let party workers decide on it.
TDG Reporter: BJP is also reacting to your candidature….
Digvijaya: Oh, that’s quite natural.
TDG Reporter: You have said that you will make ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’ a success? As you are a candidate now, how would you do that?
Digvijaya: I will not leave the Yatra. I need not to go anywhere for campaign. Through various modes of communication, I will try to campaign even while in Yatra. That’s possible.
TDG Reporter: When you joined Congress, had you ever thought that you would file your nomination for Congress President?
Digvijaya: I am a very small worker of Congress. This party had Presidents like Motilal Nehru, Gopal Krishna Gokhale, Lajpat Rai, Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose, Gandhiji. So, when you are also a candidate for the same post, it is quite natural that you too have a great feeling. I am nowhere as compared to them. However, I will try my best.
Gehlot apologises, Sonia to decide on Rajasthan CM
Ashok Gehlot opts out of Congress Presidential election indicating that he prefers to be in Jaipur as the CM. In another development, Sachin Pilot too met the party chief.
In a day full of political drama, two important protagonists in Rajasthan politics, Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and Sachin Pilot, on Thursday called on Congress interim chief Sonia Gandhi to break the deadlock that has been going on for the last few days. However, at the end of the day the most crucial question remained unanswered: Will Gehlot be able to keep chief minister’s post in Rajasthan?
Amid the political tension in Rajasthan that antagonized the high command, Gehlot reached 10 Janpath to meet the party supremo. After the meeting, Gehlot made two important points: One, he will not fight for the post of Congress chief, and two, Sonia Gandhi will take a call on the chief ministership in Rajasthan in a few days.
“I met Rahul Gandhi in Kochi and requested him to fight the polls (for Congress President). When he didn’t accept, I said I’ll contest but now with that incident (political crisis in Rajasthan), I have decided not to contest the elections,” CM Gehlot said.
“I won’t contest these elections in this atmosphere, with moral responsibility,” he added.
Gehlot also apologised for the ruckus in Rajasthan triggered by his loyalists over a possible leadership change in the state after Gehlot was set to file his nomination papers for the Congress chief polls.
Gehlot said that whatever happened in the state in the past two days had shocked everyone. “I had a conversation with Congress interim president Sonia Gandhi. Whatever happened two days ago shocked us. It gave a message that all of it happened as I wanted to be CM. I apologised to her,” said Gehlot addressing the media persons after meeting Sonia.
On being asked if he will remain Rajasthan CM, Gehlot said, “I won’t decide that, Congress chief Sonia Gandhi will decide that.”
“One-line resolution is our tradition. Unfortunately, a situation arose that resolution wasn’t passed. It was my moral responsibility (to pass the resolution), but despite being a CM I couldn’t get it passed,” he added.
Talking to reporters, Gehlot said the party works under the Congress president and decisions will be taken in the time to come.
Hours after Sonia-Gehlot meeting, Sachin Pilot met the party’s interim chief and later said: “It is often debated that BJP and Congress government keeps coming every five years in Rajasthan. I don’t see any reason why Congress cannot return for a second consecutive term in Rajasthan in 2023. We will work towards this.”
As regards Rajasthan development, MLAs have not yet changed their stand. In what went down in political history of the state, more than 90 legislators opposed “the one line resolution” from the high command on Sunday. They were under the impression that Sachin Pilot who led rebels against the government two years ago would be appointed CM. They are still in a mood to oppose any such decision. Several legislators are saying that they would prefer a mid-term poll if the decision to give CM post to Sachin was thrust on them. So, the high command will find it difficult to take a call on Rajasthan leadership. General Secretary in-charge of organisation, KC Venugopal has said that the scene will be clear in next two days. All eyes are on what steps Sonia takes for Rajasthan.
Saudi Arabia introduces yoga in universities
A virtual introductory lecture on yoga was organised for all Saudi university representatives across the kingdom to spread awareness and motivate its practice as a lifestyle for all segments of society.
The lecture, organised on Monday, aimed to introduce both traditional yoga and yogasana sports to Saudi universities and give a variety of options to the students on university campuses to practice yoga, the Saudi Gazette reported. The lecture covered both mental and physical health and plans to attend professional yoga sports training to be part of competitions locally and internationally.
In cooperation with the Saudi Universities Sports Federation (SUSF), the Saudi Yoga Committee organised the event in Riyadh.
The Saudi Gazette reported that the event came within the framework of an integrated system of programmes and initiatives of the Saudi Committee for Yoga, under the title “Yoga for University Students of Both Genders.”
The event coincided with the arrival of the first yoga delegation to the Kingdom from the Asian Yogasana Sports Federation in India for the qualification course for the first Saudi batch of yoga referees, the report added.
The event included issues concerning the benefits of yoga for health and physical well-being in youth, yogasana sports for tournaments and competitions, and requirements for professional yoga training. It also included the technical regulations of the Saudi Yoga Committee for Championships and Competitions in Saudi Universities.
The lecture, which motivated the youth to join professional yoga training, also shed light on the system of professional yogasana competitions within university sports and the university league.
Nouf Almarwaai, President of the Saudi Yoga Committee, said that the committee seeks to achieve its vision of spreading yoga on a large scale within Saudi society. “Therefore it took the initiative to cooperate with the Saudi Universities Sports Federation in order to build a generation of yoga lovers, especially young people, to enjoy physical and mental health.”
Almarwaai said that the committee seeks to increase the number of practitioners and build yoga teams that participate in local and regional yoga championships.
Astronomers map distances in the largest-ever catalog to 56,000 galaxies
Astronomers have assembled the largest-ever compilation of high-precision galaxy distances, called Cosmicflows-4.
Galaxies, such as the Milky Way, are the building blocks of the universe, each comprised of up to several hundred billion stars. Galaxies beyond our immediate neighbourhood are rushing away, faster if they are more distant, which is a consequence of the expansion of the universe that began at the moment of the Big Bang. Measurements of the distances of galaxies, coupled with information about their velocities away from us, determine the scale of the universe and the time that has elapsed since its birth.
“Since galaxies were identified as separate from the Milky Way a hundred years ago, astronomers have been trying to measure their distances,” said Tully, adding, “Now, by combining our more accurate and abundant tools, we are able to measure the distances of galaxies and the related expansion rate of the universe and the time since the universe was born.”
Shah Rukh Khan features on Burj Khalifa again, fans elated
Dubai’s iconic skyscraper, Burj Khalifa, lit up with Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan’s message on Wednesday evening. The world’s tallest building screened a campaign video for Burjeel Holdings, one of the private healthcare operators in the UAE. In the video, SRK is seen promoting the brand in his special way.
After seeing images and videos of the Burj Khalifa lighting up with SRK’s video, fans became extremely happy. They even started trending him on Twitter.
The musical fountain at #BurjKhalifa first played music from #ShahRukhKhan’s Om Shanti Om, and later the Burjeel Holdings campaign featuring King Khan was shown on Burj Khalifa! Truly the world’s biggest superstar,” a tweet read on one of the fan pages of SRK.
“Megastar Shah Rukh Khan featured on Burj Khalifa again, truly a KING,” a fan wrote on Twitter.
Reportedly, it’s for the fourth time that SRK has appeared on Burj Khalifa.
In 2021, the Burj Khalifa honoured Shah Rukh on his 56th birthday. The Burj Khalifa was lit up with the name of the actor to honour the actor on his birthday in 2020 as well.
On the work front, Shah Rukh is all set to make his silver screen return after four years with ‘Pathaan’, which also stars Deepika Padukone and John Abraham in the lead roles. The action-packed film is scheduled for release on 25 January 2023.
Apart from ‘Pathaan’, SRK will also be seen in upcoming film ‘Dunki’.
J&K’s Wular Lake wears a festive look
The Wular Lake in Jammu and Kashmir, which is known to be one of the largest freshwater lakes in South Asia, has a festive look with a large number of locals extracting chestnuts, according to a report. The chestnuts extracted by the villagers are supplied to the vendors in Kashmir and beyond the region as well.
The Bandipora district in northern Kashmir features in the list of the main suppliers of chestnuts to the Kashmir Valley.
Lankreshipora, Kunzpora, Kulhama, Guroora, Saderkoot, Baniyari, Laharwalpora, KaniBathi, Kunoosa, Ashtangoo, Kemma, and Zurmanz are among the districts whose residents have licences to extract chestnuts from the lake.
The lake produces around four metric tonnes of chestnuts annually and 5,000 tonnes of fish of 11 different species each year, according to the official figure.
According to the Wular conservation and management authority officials, at least 90% of the water chestnuts produced in Kashmir are sourced from the Wular Lake.
The report quoted an official at Wular Conservation and Management Authority as saying, “There is no systematic marketing facility available for the product extracted from Wular Lake, which makes it difficult to estimate the revenue generated from the lake.”
The locals claim that as many as 80% of the inhabitants are involved in extracting chestnuts from Wular to make a living.
“Chestnuts are the main source of income for the majority of people living here,” the report quoted Abdul Ahad Panchoo, a resident of Suderkoot Bala, as saying.
Abdul Rashid Dar of Baniyar village, who has been extracting chestnuts from the lake for the past 40 years, said that they are getting different schemes from the government for the purpose.
“All of us villagers who live on the banks of the Wular lake depend on it either directly or indirectly,” he said, adding that chestnuts are the main source of income for the majority of people living here.
The Union Territory government is planning to develop a sustainable waste management model for all the peripheral villages around the lake, according to the report.
The J&K Wetland Authority has also approved the integrated management plan for the conservation of Wular Lake to promote an integrated and multidisciplinary approach to the conservation and management of the water body.
To promote tourism in Wular Lake, the authorities also introduced a shikara (wooden boat) ride similar to that found on Dal Lake in Srinagar. The lake is also a habitat for migratory water birds.
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