Following Congress’ drubbing in the Bihar elections 2020, party general secretary Tariq Anwar spoke to The Daily Guardian, accepting the failings of Congress and admitting that the Mahagathbandhan would have been successful in the Bihar polls had the party performed just a bit better.
Q: What do you have to say about Congress’ disappointing performance?
A: We are definitely not happy with the performance. We are worried, and contemplating what happened to bring us down from 27 seats to 19 seats. When we fought the elections after winning 41 seats, we got 27, and now we’ve gotten 19. There have been some miscalculations and some errors, and we need to introspect and sit down to discuss all of it.
Q: Do you think the Grand Alliance couldn’t form the government in Bihar because of Congress’ bad performance?
A: Yes, definitely. I’ve accepted this fact and have said so as well. If our performance was even a little bit better, we’d have formed the government in Bihar. Citizens of Bihar really wanted change and there was a clamour for change, but we just couldn’t capitalise on it. These are the things that we’d sit down to discuss.
Q: Why did you say that AIMIM making inroads into Bihar is bad for the state?
A: Parties like these are a threat to secularism and the stronger AIMIM becomes in Bihar, the more it will aid the BJP and RSS. Purnia was a stronghold of Congress and the AIMIM winning 5 seats in that area certainly isn’t a good sign.
Q: You’ve said that with the BJP and NDA winning elections, it is Bihar which has lost the polls.
A: Yes, as I’ve said, the people of Bihar wanted change. We could gauge the public’s mood for change. Especially the way Tejashwi led from the front against the issue of unemployment and the youth in Bihar really backed him. Sadly, we couldn’t encash that sentiment and it is certainly very disappointing.
Q: About Nitish Kumar, you’ve said that ‘what is allotted cannot be blotted’.
A: I said so because generally the bigger party leads the alliance. But what we are seeing is that the reins remain with the BJP while Nitish is the one leading. Earlier, Nitish Kumar could work the way he wanted to but I don’t think that’ll be possible for him anymore. He’ll have to do what the BJP tells him to do.
Q: PM Modi attacked nepotism in politics in his victory speech.
A: He doesn’t have much to say anyway. So he’s attacking nepotism even though he’s been in power for over 6 years now and he really needs to take a closer look at his own allies because only then will he realise that all his allies and associates are also involved in nepotism. But he’ll never see any of it, he’ll only see it in Congress. He’s just phobic of Nehru and the Gandhi family.
Q: How will you keep your flock of 19 MLAs together and not let them get poached by the BJP?
A: When we had 27 seats, they had tried the same tactic. They succeeded to a certain extent with a few of our MLCs but the MLAs never wavered. We are sure our members will remain with us and work towards rebuilding this party. I can say this for sure.
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Kerala NCP president TP Peethambaran has no authority to suspend me, says Jayan Puthenpurackal
Kochi (Kerala) [India], February 28 (ANI): Suspended member of National Committee of Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) Jayan Puthenpurackal on Sunday said that the leadership of NCP must be changed.
Kerala state president TP Peethambaran’s action is dictatorial and should step down from his post, he said.
“There must be a change in leadership. The state president’s action is dictatorial. TP Peethambaran should step down as President. The Chief Minister informed Praful Patel that NCP will not get an assembly seat of Pala and a Rajya Sabha seat. But still, the President is not telling the total seats for the NCP in the assembly election. He continues to deceive party workers and the people,” said Puthenpurackal.
Puthenpurackal claimed that the state president has no authority to suspends him and he has sent his complaint to the in-charge Praful Patel along with NCP president Sharad Pawar and Supriya Sule.
“The state president has no authority to suspend me. I sent complaints on this to Praful Patel, who is in charge of Kerala, and also sent them to Sharad Pawar and Supriya Sule. I got a reply from them. Praful Patel has already told the state president that my suspension should be withdrawn immediately,” he added.
The election for 140-member Kerala Assembly in 14 districts will be held in a single phase on April 6. The counting of votes will be held on May 2. (ANI)
NCB arrests 3 drug peddlers in Mumbai, drugs worth Rs 15 lakh recovered
Mumbai (Maharashtra) [India], February 28 (ANI): The Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) arrested three drug peddlers during raids in Dongri, Wadi Bunder and Nagpada areas on Saturday night.
According to NCB officials, one of the three drug peddlers arrested yesterday was identified as Ejaz Psycho, who is an associate of Chinku Pathan and Arif Bhujwal.
Ejaz was arrested from Dongri area and MDMA drugs worth Rs 15 lakh and 25 mobile phones were recovered from him.
Chinku Pathan was arrested by the NCB on January 20 with a huge quantity of drugs from the Dongri area of the city. Pathan is currently under the custody of the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad as NCB found a Dawood connection while investigating the drugs case.
Pathan is the grandson of gangster Karim Lala and is a close aide of underworld don Dawood Ibrahim. (ANI)
He proudly calls himself ‘chaiwala’, doesn’t hide true self: Ghulam Nabi Azad praises PM Modi
Jammu (Jammu and Kashmir) [India], February 28 (ANI): Senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad, who hails from a village in Jammu and Kashmir and served three years as Chief Minister, drew parallels between himself and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, stating that he has not forgotten his roots and proudly calls himself a “chaiwala” as well as he does not hide his true self.
Speaking at a public event in Jammu, Ghulam Nabi said, “I like a lot of things about many leaders. I am from the village and feel proud… Even our Prime Minister (Narendra Modi) hails from the village and used to sell tea. We are political rivals but I appreciate that he does not hide his true self.”
“I have travelled the whole world. I have stayed in 5-star and 7-star hotels. But the scent of the people who belong to my village is unmatched,” the Congress leader said after he was felicitated with the ‘Sher-e-Gurjar award’ by Gurjar Desh Charitable Trust.
Earlier this month, Azad, who served as Leader of Opposition (LoP) in Rajya Sabha, retired from the House. An emotional Prime Minister Modi bid adieu to him by recalling his long association with the senior leader.
“The person who will replace Ghulam Nabi ji (as Leader of Opposition) will have difficulty matching his work because he was not only concerned about his party but also about the country and the House,” PM Modi had said.
On Saturday, the groups of 23 dissenting leaders of Congress, including Azad, who has been calling for leadership and organisational change in the Congress, had said the party “getting weaker” and are raising their voice for the betterment of the party.
Senior Congress leaders Kapil Sibal and Anand Sharma were also present. (ANI)
Delhi logs 197 new COVID-19 cases, 168 recoveries
New Delhi [India], February 28 (ANI): Delhi reported 197 fresh COVID-19 cases in the last 24 hours, taking the cumulative count of cases in Delhi to 6,39,289.
According to the Delhi government, the total number of recoveries in the national capital rose to 6,27,044 with 168 new recoveries in the last 24 hours.
Witnessing one new fatality in the last 24 hours, Delhi’s COVID-19 death toll reached 10,910.
At present, Delhi has a total of 1,335 active cases.
The national capital currently has a cumulative positivity rate of 5.16 per cent.
As many as 16,752 new COVID-19 cases and 113 deaths were reported in India during the last 24 hours, informed the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) on Sunday.
With this, the total coronavirus caseload in the country has gone up to 1,10,96,731, including 1,64,511 active cases, 1,07,75,169 discharges, along with 1,57,051 deaths. (ANI)
Centre turned farming, education, healthcare into financial commodities: Rahul Gandhi
Tirunelveli (Tamil Nadu) [India], February 28 (ANI): In a renewed attack on the Centre, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Sunday said that the Government of India has turned noble professions like farming, education and healthcare into financial commodities.
During an interaction titled ‘Educators Meet’ at Tirunelveli’s St Xavier College, Gandhi said, “I personally do not believe that education is a financial commodity. I believe that education should be available to everyone.”
Gandhi, who is touring Tamil Nadu for the second day as part of his campaign for the April 6 assembly polls, hit out at the National Democratic Alliance (NDA)-led union government and said, “It is duty of a nation to give education and healthcare to its people. What is happening here is that everything is being seen as a financial commodity,” he remarked.
“Agriculture is being seen as a financial commodity, education is being seen as a financial commodity, healthcare is being seen as a financial commodity. Basically, if you have money, you can get anything. If you do not have money, you get nothing,” the Congress leader said.
Gandhi also took to Twitter to slam the Central government.
“GOI has turned noble professions like farming, education & healthcare into financial commodities for the benefit of a few cronies. We’re fighting this without any anger, hatred or violence. And non-violence always wins,” he tweeted.
This comes ahead of the 234-member Tamil Nadu assembly elections will be held in a single phase on April 6 and the counting of votes will take place on May 2.
The ruling All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) is contesting the polls in a pre-poll alliance with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). MK Stalin’s Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) has joined hands with the Congress party.
Actor-turned-politician Kamal Hassan’s party Makkal Neethi Maiam (MNM) is also in the fray this time. (ANI)
JKSSB conducts Phase 1 of examination for Class IV posts
Rajouri (Jammu and Kashmir) [India], February 28 (ANI): The Jammu and Kashmir Services Selection Board (JKSSB) on Saturday conducted the phase first of objective type written examination for the Class IV posts across the Union Territory.
The examination took place from 12 pm to 2 pm.
Huge gatherings of youth were seen on the first day of examination at different centres in the Rajouri district. All types of arrangements were in place for the smooth conduction of the examination.
“Every job seeker wants a government job. They want to serve in the government sector. There is obvious enthusiasm in the job seekers and parents as well,” Arif Lone, an observer at Government Boys Higher Secondary school examination centre.
“All the COVID-19 protocols have been properly followed and all the teams are meticulously executing their job. We are maintaining total transparency in the examination. The screening system is very strict. Only meritorious aspirants will come out successfully,” he added.
Shafiq Ahmed, Centre Superintendent at Government Boys Higher Secondary school examination centre said the administration has made sure there is no problem with water, electricity, and invigilators at the examination centres.
“Observers, District Magistrate, nodal officer, all teams were there. I would particularly like to thank the district administration for the way they ensured we didn’t have any problem,” he added. (ANI)
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