In a major development that may have big impact on national politics, if party sources are to be believed, Rahul Gandhi has “agreed” to take over the reins as Congress president. He is all set to make a fresh and grand start ahead of the Bihar Assembly elections. There are indications that in his second innings, he will be re-launched in a new avatar and will get a free hand in taking party decisions.
At the time of his resignation, he had clearly stated that someone outside the Gandhi family should get the responsibility for the post. Insiders say that Rahul Gandhi was adamant on not becoming the party president again. But now sources in the party say that on the basis of the feedback from the ground, Rahul Gandhi has made up his mind to sit in the saddle once again.
While Sonia Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra were trying to persuade him till the last minute, the former had to take over as interim president. Being a mother and knowing Rahul Gandhi’s temperament, Sonia Gandhi chose patience over persuasion.
While all this was happening, Rahul Gandhi did not opt for any vacation this time; instead, he kept working for the organisation behind the scenes. Now the uncertainty among Congress workers will come to an end as Rahul Gandhi is on his way to becoming president again.
Sources suggest that this time, Rahul Gandhi is paying full attention to the Bihar Assembly elections. Having come out of the hangover of the Lok Sabha elections defeat, he now wants to go all out in Bihar.
His close confidants suggest that Rahul Gandhi has now understood that in politics, victory and defeat go hand-in-hand. He knows that Bihar results won’t be favourable to him, but still he wants to give his best shot.
It is believed that Rahul Gandhi can become the president again anytime between October 2020 and January 2021. But this time, Rahul Gandhi will take charge completely. He will not let any senior party leaders influence the decision-making process. In his last stint, he promised some “big reforms” but at the end, he had to make peace with senior leaders and satraps. There is a view that a series of such incidents had dented Rahul’s image, and gradually, followers had started to part ways from him. Eventually, Rahul Gandhi was left alone.
Of late, there has been a noticeable change in Rahul Gandhi’s social media political messages and even his appearance when he appeared online during ongoing coronavirus crisis. His new look and hair style also created quite a buzz in both public and political circles.
It is now certain that changes in the central and state organisations will only commence after the coronation of Rahul Gandhi. Earlier, there were reports which suggested that between July and October, some major reshuffle was likely to take place including restructuring the CWC and AICC, change in state presidents and state in-charge. All these moves have now been put on hold.
Meanwhile, Bihar can see some changes due to the forthcoming Assembly elections. But in the rest of the country, more or less things would remain the same.
MASS LEADERS TO GET FREE HAND
It is believed that Rahul Gandhi won’t take any decision in haste or excitement. In Haryana, he did not give full command to former Chief Minister Bhupendra Hooda before the election; in the end the Congress lost with a thin margin. Later, Rahul Gandhi openly acknowledged this error of judgement. But it is now believed that Hooda will get a free hand in Haryana. As per sources, Hooda’s handpicked Geeta Bhukkal could be made PCC chief. The same strategy will be followed in all the states as well.
INNOVATION & EXPERIMENT WILL CONTINUE
Rahul Gandhi had introduced a concept of secretary in-charge and interim president in all states in his last stint. In addition to that, he had also initiated innovation like data analytics, organisation of intellectuals and launch of Shakti project. With the return of Rahul Gandhi, one is likely to see more of such experiments in the near future as well.
Rahul Gandhi will continue to give opportunity to leaders of every section, especially youth and Dalit. It is certain that with his return, the national general secretary will be in the lead role with state in-charges. There will be two to four executive PCC chiefs in every state.
Although Rahul Gandhi wished to tour India before his second stint and had planned to start the padyatra from Gujarat to Gandhi Dham, this plan has now been shelved due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
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Sonia Gandhi joins Congress’ ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’ in Mandya
Congress interim president Sonia Gandhi joined the party’s ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’ in Mandya in Karnataka on Thursday.
Earlier on Monday afternoon Sonia Gandhi arrived in Mysuru at the starting point of the padayatra. After a two-day break for Dussehra, the yatra will be resumed.
Meanwhile, Congress interim president Sonia Gandhi in the company of her son and Congress MP Rahul Gandhi, and other Congress leaders was seen walking.
On 5 October, Sonia Gandhi also visited the Bheemanakolli Temple in Begur village and offered prayers.
Karnataka Congress chief DK Shivakumar talked about Sonia Gandhi’s joining of padayatra.
“After Vijayadashami, there will be Vijaya in Karnataka. We are proud that Sonia Gandhi has come to walk on the streets of Karnataka. We are coming to power in the state, and BJP is on the way to shutting its shop,” said DK Shivakumar.
Moreover, with flag hoisting at 5:30 am at Exhibition Grounds, Mysuru Day 29 of the ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’ began.
Taking to Twitter senior Congress leader Jairam Ramesh said, “The march resumed after an hour’s bus ride to padayatra start point near Mandya. Congress President will join around 800 am.”
However, Yatra entered its Karnataka leg on 30 September. Every day Padyatra (march) covers a distance of 25 km.
BJP blasts Cong leader for tweet about Droupadi Murmu; ‘Feel like crying when,’ Udit Raj defends
Former MP and Congress leader Udit Raj has landed in hot water for his tweet about President Droupadi Murmu, stating that “no country should have such a President.” The BJP has lashed out at the Congress leader, questioning whether the party supports the insult. BJP spokesperson Shehzad Poonawalla tweeted, “Udit Raj uses unacceptable language for the 1st woman Adivasi President! Does the Congress endorse this insult of Adivasi samaj?”
Udit Raj is the third Congress leader to face criticism for comments about President Droupadi Murmu, the other two being Ajoy Kumar and Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury.
“After Ajoy Kumar called President Draupadi Murmu as evil & then Adhir Ranjan Chaudhary used the term ‘Rashtrapatni’ now Congress stoops to a new low!” the BJP spokesperson tweeted.
The Congress leader slammed the President for her remarks on salt made during her visit to Gujarat on Monday. According to the President, Gujarat produces 76% of the country’s salt, which is consumed by all Indians.
“No country should get a president like that,” the Congress leader tweeted. As the tweet created a furore, Udit Raj said those were his personal comments and not to be taken as the party’s stand. “Her candidature & campaign were in the name adivasi, it doesn’t mean she is no longer adivasi. My heart cries that when SC/ST reach to higher position, they ditch their communities & become mum,” he said.
Shehzad Poonawalla stated that issuing a statement does not absolve Udit Raj or the Congress. “Simply tweeting that this is a personal statement will not suffice! Congress must tell us whether or not they will ACT ON UDIT RAJ’s Adivasi Virodhi statement. This is the third strike against Murmu ji following the statements of Ajoy Kumar and Adhir Ranjan! It’s not a Sanyog! It is the INC mindset “Poonawalla penned the piece.
According to BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra, the words used for President Murmu are concerning and unfortunate. “This isn’t the first time they’ve used such language. Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury of the Congress Party also did it. This reflects their anti-tribal stance, according to Patra.
Before the presidential election, when Droupadi Murmu was the NDA’s candidate, Congress leader Ajoy Kumar said she represented India’s “evil philosophy.” The Congress leader also stated that he respects Droupadu Murmu and that his remarks were not directed at him.
Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, a Congress MP, was then chastised for referring to the President as “Rashtrapatni,” for which he later apologised and said it was an error.
South Africa seeks cabinet approval for a $8.5 billion climate plan to reduce coal use
In order to secure funding from some of the world’s wealthiest nations, South Africa’s government will seek cabinet approval for a $8.5 billion plan to transition away from the use of coal to generate electricity.
According to Vincent Magwenya, a spokesman for South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, a second draught of the investment plan has been completed and is being shared with “key stakeholders” before being submitted to cabinet.
The development is a significant step toward completing the pact with the funding partners – the United Kingdom, the United States, Germany, France, and the European Union – that was first announced at the COP26 international climate summit in Glasgow last year.
The plan “outlines the investments required to achieve South Africa’s ambitious climate targets,” Magwenya said in a response to a query. “The objective remains to complete this process by COP27,” which will take place in Egypt in November, he said.
South Africa’s landmark climate finance agreement has been hailed as a model for assisting other coal-dependent developing countries in transitioning to cleaner energy, with Indonesia and Vietnam among the nations set to sign similar agreements. Its fate could have repercussions at COP27, which is expected to focus on the needs of poorer countries adapting to global warming.
The plan outlines how the funds will be spent, with the investment partners focusing on converting coal-fired power plants owned by state utility Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd. to produce renewable energy. South Africa is also advocating for funding to support the development of green hydrogen and electric vehicle industries.
People familiar with the discussions previously told Bloomberg News that the plan had been submitted but declined to say what was in it because no public announcement had been made.
The funding talks have stalled in recent weeks, with US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry urging President Ramaphosa to move forward with the agreement and South African Environment Minister Barbara Creecy bemoaning its complexity.
South Africa is the world’s 13th largest source of climate-warming greenhouse gases, relying on coal for more than 80% of its electricity.
Bihar: Woman, son, daughter injured in acid attack, blame police threats, inaction
The police are being blamed by a 35-year-old woman, her young son, and her young daughter who were injured on September 29 in Shivpur, Rohtas, Bihar, when a man broke into their home and hurled acid at them. They said the police threatened to implicate them in another case if they spoke to the media and originally declined to register a case.
Police officer Dev Raj Ray refuted the claim and stated that although they had rushed to a local hospital in search of the victims, they had been transferred to another hospital.
Police superintendent Ashish Bharti said Sah has confessed to the crime. “The battery from which the acid was taken, the bottle, and the mug used to throw acid were recovered.”
A 22-year-old singer and her brother were severely injured on the night of April 17 when two men hurled acid at them in Bikramganj. On May 21, a 45-year-old woman was injured in another acid attack in West Champaran’s Narkatiaganj. On May 28, acid attacks in Muzaffarpur and Patna resulted in burn injuries for a 17-year-old girl and a 45-year-old woman.
KCR’s national ambition: Telangana Rashtra Samiti is now Bharat Rashtra Samiti
Telangana Chief Minister and Telangana Rashtra Samiti President K Chandrasekhar Rao on Wednesday launched the Bharat Rashtra Samiti (BRS), the new name of the Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS), marking his first step toward becoming a national party ahead of the 2024 elections.
The launch took place at 1.19 p.m. on Wednesday. The plan was materialised at the State General Body meeting of ministers, MPs, MLAs, MLCs and district-level coordinators among other leaders at the party headquarters Telangana Bhavan in Hyderabad.
K Chandrashekar Rao presided over the meeting. JD(S) leader and former Karnataka chief minister HD Kumaraswamy along with 20 of his MLAs attended the launch event at the TRS headquarters.
The party also made necessary amendments to its constitution in the same meeting and sent the resolution and the amended party Constitution to the Election Commission of India (ECI) which was accepted by the Commission.
Later in a press statement, KCR clarified the broad aspects for launching a national party. In the statement, he said, “It is not a hasty decision to float a national party. India is a union of states. Comprehensive development is possible only if the states and the country develop together.”
KCR outlined the two areas of his priorities: Gender and caste discrimination. “Due to gender discrimination, women, who constitute half of the country’s population, are not taking part in the development. Dalits could not take part in the development of the country due to caste discrimination. Both women’s power and Dalit’s power have been weakened and the development is not taking place.”
KCR indicated that his national party will thrive for bringing the fundamental changes in the society. He said, “Radiant India needs to be made. India will grow better than America if the resources in the country used at optimum level. We still have a good time. We will expand across the country.” KCR has planned to travel the country in a bid to expand his party’s base and also try to unite a fragmented Opposition. Maharashtra would be the first state where KCR is planning to travel.
Earlier in May this year, KCR in his bid to unite the Opposition to take on the BJP at the Centre in the 2024 Lok Sabha polls, held a meeting with former Prime Minister HD Deve Gowda in Bengaluru where he discussed an alternative political outfit to the BJP.
‘Elections in J&K after voters’ list compilation’
In a major announcement, Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Wednesday said that the elections will be held in Jammu and Kashmir with “full transparency” as soon as the work of compiling the voters’ list is completed.
Shah said that manner in which delimitation has been done in the region, representatives of the people’s choice will be elected. “As soon as the work of compiling the voters’ list is completed, elections will be held in J&K with full transparency.
Earlier the delimitation was done in such a way that only the representatives from the three families would be elected, no matter what you do. The delimitation that Election Commission has done, your own representatives will win the elections and rule,” Shah said while addressing a rally in Baramulla on the last day of his three-day visit to J-K.
Assembly polls to elect the government in the Union Territory are due since the abrogation of Articles 370 and 35A on 5 August 2019. The Centre while abrogating the special status of the region, had said that the status of state will be given to Jammu and Kashmir at the appropriate time and the elections will be held after delimitation.
The orders of the Delimitation Commission were effective from 20 May with the Centre choosing the day for the move using powers of the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act, 2019.
As per the final Delimitation Order, out of the 90 Assembly Constituencies (ACs) in Jammu and Kashmir, 43 will be part of the Jammu region and 47 for the Kashmir region keeping in view the provisions of Section 9(1)(a) of the Delimitation Act, 2002 and Section 60(2)(b) of Jammu & Kashmir Reorganization Act, 2019.
The Delimitation Commission was entrusted with the work of delimiting the Assembly and Parliamentary Constituencies in the UT of Jammu and Kashmir on the basis of the 2011 Census and in accordance with the provisions of Part-V of the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act, 2019 (34 of 2019) and the provisions of Delimitation Act, 2002(33 of 2002).
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