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Loyalists trump dissenters as Sonia and Rahul rule the roost

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It all happened on expected lines at the Congress Working Committee (CWC) meeting on Monday. In the seven-hour-long meeting of the top-decision making body of the Congress, party interim chief Sonia Gandhi offered to resign which was rejected outright. The CWC decided that Sonia Gandhi would continue as interim president of the Congress till next session of the AICC is convened to elect a new party boss.

As there is no chance of the AICC session being held early because of the Covid-19 pandemic, Sonia Gandhi could continue to be interim chief till next year. And if Rahul Gandhi agrees to take over as party president, then the CWC can sit and take a call on this any time.

According to sources, having emerged stronger after the CWC meet, Rahul Gandhi may now make up his mind to be at the helm of the party.

Rajasthan Chief Minister and senior leader Ashok Gehlot backed Rahul Gandhi, saying Sonia Gandhi should continue as interim chief, but if she for some reasons quits, then Rahul should be the Congress president. Other Congress CMs such Captain Amarinder Singh and Bhupesh Baghel were also of the same opinion.

 Amid acrimony that marked the CWC meet which took place in the backdrop of 20-odd senior Congress leaders’ controversial letter seeking organisational overhaul and collective leadership, Rahul Gandhi seized the opportunity to “rebuke” the leaders who shot off the letter to Sonia Gandhi.

Intervening at the meeting after Sonia Gandhi announced that she wanted to “be relieved of the post of party president”, Rahul Gandhi came heavily down on the senior leaders questioning the timing of the letter written by over 20 top party leaders targeting the leadership.

 Sources said the Gandhi scion “questioned why the letter attacked the Congress when it was at its weakest, when it was battling crises in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan and when the Congress president (Sonia Gandhi) was unwell.”

Rahul Gandhi’s aggressive comeback at the dissenters, and support from several leaders who wanted him to be new boss if Sonia Gandhi stepped down, paved the way for his grip over the party getting stronger than before. What lends credence to this belief is that the pro-changers, who were hitherto raising questions against the leadership style of Sonia and Rahul Gandhi, authorised her to make necessary organisational changes to strengthen the party. It means the decisions regarding any change from grassroots to CWC levels will have Rahul Gandhi’s say and imprint. The Gandhi scion himself hinted at this by raising the issue of his mother Sonia Gandhi’s health when he said that he did not want her to be burdened too much.

 Sources said that Sonia Gandhi in her closing remarks said she was hurt, but said that she has “no ill-will” towards anyone. However, there are no indications of action against the 23 senior leaders as of now, who challenged the leadership. However, Rahul Gandhi has given them a message, saying that they should not discuss inner party issues in the media or on public fora. Rahul Gandhi has been very upset with some of these leaders going public with comments embarrassing to the party at one point of time or the other.   

 After the letter was leaked, Rahul Gandhi had his strategy ready. He had his script ready to counter the senior leaders. Sources say the Gandhi scion turned the tables on them when he said that the veterans had done no service to the cause of the party by raising such issues at a time when the Congress was crises-ridden in MP and Rajasthan. Congress CMs including Gehlot, and other state leaders who were in the meet in capacity as non-regular members, backed Rahul Gandhi tremendously. This gave the Gandhi scion a sense of heavy confidence.

Earlier, Sonia Gandhi offered to step down during the CWC meeting. She was then supported by Dr Manmohan Singh. “The letter is unfortunate,” the former PM reportedly said. He remarked that “weakening the high command is weakening the Congress”. Speaking after Manmohan Singh, senior leader A.K. Antony said: “More than the letter, the contents of the letter were cruel.” He also spoke about “the sacrifices of Sonia Gandhi,” according to sources, and urged Rahul Gandhi to take over as Congress president. The CWC then refused to accept the resignation offer of Sonia Gandhi. But the support coming also from some of the veterans combined with the backing of youngsters boosted Rahul Gandhi’s confidence. Sources say that Rahul Gandhi will now tighten his grip on the organisation more than ever before. It is a common knowledge that Rahul Gandhi has been under attack from the old guards of the party for quite some time now. He was targeted once in the CWC last time and another time during Sonia Gandhi’s meeting with the Congress Rajya Sabha MPs. Sources say that the old guards have been taken aback by Rahul Gandhi’s aggressive gesture and show of confidence. Ghulam Nabi Azad, who offered to resign at one point of time during the meeting, later said that his step was not linked to what Rahul Gandhi said. Similarly, Kapil Sibal also deleted his angry tweet.

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ED ATTACHES ASSETS IN BANK FRAUD CASE

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Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Thursday provisionally attached assets worth Rs 146.67 crore of Future Metals Pvt Ltd and Future Exim India Pvt Ltd in a bank fraud case. According to ED, the total attachment in the case has reached Rs.185.67 crore. “ED has provisional attached assets worth Rs.146.67 Crore of M/s. Future Metals Pvt. Ltd. and M/s. Future Exim India Pvt. Ltd. under the provisions of the PMLA, 2002 in a Bank Fraud Case. Total attachment in this case has reached to Rs.185.67 Crore.”

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‘NOD TO COVAXIN FOR KIDS AGED 2-18 YRS UNDER EVALUATION’

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NEW DELHI: The final approval for Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin for children aged 2-18 years is under experts’ opinion and evaluation, stated government sources on Thursday. Sources said after evaluation of the data, the final approval will be given by the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI). Bharat Biotech in an official statement had said they are waiting for further approvals from drug regulators. This is one of the first worldwide approval for Covid-19 vaccines for the age group of beneficiaries.

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HAVE FULL FAITH IN PARTY HIGH COMMAND: SIDHU

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Amid Punjab Congress President Navjot Singh Sidhu’s visibly rebellious attitude towards the recently appointed State Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi, the former on Thursday said that he has kept his concerns pertaining to the state before the party high command, adding that he will follow their directions, expressing faith in their decisions.

Sidhu’s remarks came while speaking to reporters after meeting Congress in charge for Punjab Harish Rawat and party general secretary KC Venugopal in Delhi today. “I expressed my concerns regarding Punjab and Punjab Congress to party high-command. I’ve full faith in Congress president Sonia Gandhi, Priyanka ji and Rahul ji. Whatever decision they’ll take, it’ll be for the betterment of Congress and Punjab. I’ll follow their directions,” said Sidhu.

The meeting lasted for more than one and a half hours. In the meeting, the issues of Punjab regarding over which there is a dispute between Sidhu and Channi were discussed as well as whether Navjot Singh Sidhu will remain the President of Punjab Congress or not.

Rawat told reporters after the meeting that Sidhu will continue to serve the party as the Punjab Congress chief and will set up an organisational structure in the state. He further said that a decision on the same shall be announced tomorrow.

Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Rawat said, “Navjot Sidhu has clearly stated that the decision of the Congress President will be acceptable to him. The instructions are clear that Navjot Sidhu should work as Punjab Congress President and set up the organisational structure. An announcement will be made tomorrow.”

Sidhu had tendered his resignation as Punjab Congress chief on September 28.

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Centre directs states to reduce edible oil prices

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The Central government on Thursday has directed the states to ensure that the prices of edible oils are brought down to commensurate levels in line with the import duty reductions.

The Department of Food and Public Distribution wrote to all major oil-producing states including Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh to ensure that the prices of Edible Oils are brought down to commensurate levels in line with the import duty reductions. The duty reduction will be effective from October 14, 2021 upto March 14, 2022. According to a press release by the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution, the government slashed the basic duty on Crude Palm Oil, Crude Soyabean Oil and Crude Sunflower Oil from 2.5 per cent to Nil. The Centre in the letter directed the state governments to ensure the passing on of full benefits of duty reduction by the Centre to the consumer to provide “immediate relief” from the ongoing high prices of the edible oils, especially during the ensuing festival season.

“This would also help in bringing down the food inflation and provide relief to ordinary consumers by the reduction in the prices of edible oils by Rs.15-20 per kg (approx),” said the press release.

The Agri-cess on these Oils has been brought down from 20% to 7.5% for Crude Palm Oil and 5% for Crude Soyabean Oil and Crude Sunflower Oil. The basic duty on RBD Palmolein Oil, Refined Soyabean and Refined Sunflower Oil has been slashed to 17.5% from the current 32.5%, according to the release.

“The duty has been slashed considerably to Nil for Crude Palm Oil, Crude Soyabean Oil and Crude Sunflower and 17.5% for RBD Palmolein, Refined Soyabean Oil and Refined Sunflower Oil. This will benefit the consumers by Rs. 15 to 20 per Kg of Edible Oils,” said the release.

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INDIA EXPORTS 10 CRORE COVID-19 JABS EACH TO BANGLADESH, NEPAL, MYANMAR, IRAN

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The Divisional Forest Officer of Katarniaghat Akash Badhawan is changing the lives of human beings and animals residing in Katarniaghat, drawing parallels between Vidya Balan in the film ‘Sherni’ where she was also changing lives for the better.

The Daily Guardian spoke to Badhawan and got to know how they are working and changing the lives of everyone related to Forest.

The children only had used copies in their hands which meant that only oral studies were the hope for them and this initiative was started by Satyendra Kumar, Sub-Inspector of the Special Tiger Protection Force of the Katarniaghat Wildlife Sanctuary under the Dudhwa Tiger Reserve. He was teaching about 20 children during his free time at the Motipur Forest Range Office campus. The strength of kids was reduced to 4-7. Then he was promoted and asked newly joined Divisional Forest Officer Akash Badhawan to look after these little ‘Mowglis’. The destiny of Mowgli School changed and new dawn knocked on the door of these Mowglis.

“When my wife Tanya and I first interacted with these kids, they were very fascinated that someone had come to meet them. Well, over biscuits that we gave them, the ice was broken and I asked them what games would they like to play at our fairly big garden of the Motipur Range Office and Eco-Tourism Centre. They slowly started speaking up, to my wife mostly, and some kids wanted footballs, some wanted carrom boards, some girls wanted ludo sets and some kids even wanted Hindi storybooks. Within 2 days, I got these kids footballs, carrom boards, badminton sets, and some basic books to begin with,” says Divisional Forest Officer, Akash Badhwan.

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Around 65,550 cases sorted out in Lok Adalats held in Haryana in 2020-21

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A total of 65,550 cases have been sorted out by Lok Adalat held across the state of Haryana, which were started as an experiment and in wake of the fruitful feedback, the concept of conducting Lok Adalat came into existence.

Abiding by the data, what came to surface is that as many as 53407 Lok Adalat were held during 2020-21 in 22 districts of the state which led to sort out the above-mentioned cases and several financial disputes involving an amount of 72.21 crore brought to an end. It was revealed by one day consultation programme of Chief Judicial Magistrates-cum-Secretaries, District Legal Service Authorities (DLSA) presided over by Justice Rajan Gupta, Judge, Punjab & Haryana High Court and Executive Chairman, Haryana State Legal Services Authority (HALSA).

In continuation to the aforesaid, it is worth mentioning that a total of 16995 cases were withdrawn in the National Lok Adalat held on Thursday while a total of 6497 cases were sorted out. In this series, as on October 13, 2021, Legal Services Authorities in Haryana covered 3,992 villages which count more than 60% of total villages of Haryana in the last 12 days. As many as 2,896 Legal awareness-cum-legal aid camps were organized by DLSAs in rural and urban areas.

A total of 60,548 persons were provided immediate legal assistance through hybrid mode out of a total 1,64,927 participants. Service Delivery Camps were organized in association with various government departments including 06 Mega Service Camps and 104 Microservice Camps wherein 19,620 and 4,524 persons were benefitted across the State.

Door-to-door visits were conducted in villages for which Legal Services Authorities have constituted 371 teams which interacted with 22,058 villagers and made them aware about their rights. 114 Legal Aid Help Desks were set up in melas/fairs to educate people about the concept of legal services and 3,407 persons were provided legal aid though these Help Desks.

Legal awareness through mobile vans is being created in Haryana and 13,948 persons were made aware. In association with the Education Department, Haryana, 482 competitions were held in schools/colleges of Haryana wherein 25,131 students participated. Legal Services Authorities are also spreading awareness by way of holding exhibitions.

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