Rahul Gandhi launched the “Bharat Jodo Yatra” with a rally in Kanyakumari on Wednesday. The 3,500-km distance between Kanyakumari and Kashmir will be covered on foot by Congress members in 150 days. The Congress hopes that the Yatra will become a mass contact programme, which will energise both its workers and voters. However, there is nothing unique about the exercise. Similar yatras have been conducted by political parties at different points in India’s recent political history. This latest Yatra is nothing but a bid to relaunch Rahul Gandhi—and presumably sister Priyanka as well—as a credible politician for the nth time in almost two decades. Such yatras have an effect on the ground only if a party has a strong message, an abundance of strong leaders with a major hold on their own turf, and an equally strong, if not stronger grassroots presence. It is only then that a party is able to capture the imagination of the people and sweep them off their feet. The Congress does not have any of this. The way the party is splitting, with senior leaders such as Ghulam Nabi Azad who have given their lifeblood to the party, leaving it after being utterly humiliated by the party leadership, there won’t be much left of the Congress in the future. Take the instance of Jammu and Kashmir, which once had a strong Congress base. Now it’s a ghost of a party there with Ghulam Nabi Azad’s exit, as Congress leaders and workers are leaving the party in droves to be with him. Take the example of Uttar Pradesh. Where is the Congress in a politically important state such as UP with 80 Lok Sabha seats—a state that the Bharat Jodo Yatra is barely touching? In UP, even Sonia Gandhi’s own Lok Sabha seat of Rae Bareli is no longer secure. Rahul Gandhi has anyway lost the Amethi seat, considered a family bastion. Congress would have lost count of the number of UP leaders it has lost to the BJP, from Jagadambika Pal, Rita Bahuguna Joshi, Sanjay Singh and Jitin Prasada to R.P.N. Singh. Such is the state of affairs that the skeleton of the party in UP has started crumbling to dust, with Congress having near zero presence on the mind of the electorate. It got just two seats in the 403-seat Assembly this year. All the ripples that Priyanka Vadra Gandhi created about energizing the cadre in UP and winning over voters, stayed confined within a section of the media and did not have any effect on the ground.
If the Congress has some presence in some states, it is primarily because it is piggybacking on other parties to win a few seats, as it has done in Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra and Bihar. On its own, in states where it is in a direct fight with the BJP, it is facing an existential crisis, as in Gujarat.
In spite of this track record, the so-called first family of the Congress continues unquestioned, with zero accountability. Anyone trying to ask questions, or raise the banner of revolt ends up being sidelined by both the Family and the sycophants surrounding them. The Family will just not let go of control. Even if a non-Family person is elected party president, the real control of the party will remain with the Family. The tragedy of India’s “Grand Old Party” is that it was started by stalwarts and has a glorious history, but now has become a mere phantom of what it once was. Unless and until the party high command allows a grassroots leadership to flourish, gives them adequate space to build the organization—without wondering if such people will pose a challenge to Rahul Gandhi—the Congress will continue on its journey downhill.
As for the Yatra itself, considering that it is barely touching or not touching election going states such as Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh, what effect will it have on the ground? How can it be an election winning exercise when it is leaving the majority of the country’s states out of its ambit? Also, what is the message that the Congress is giving, what alternate vision for the country? A litany of complaints against the incumbent government will not have any impact unless an alternate vision is presented. Else voters will take the Congress top leadership to be seeking power for the sake of power, and not for doing something good for the country. Even otherwise, Rahul Gandhi has a major image problem. He is considered as a non serious politician and his occasional bursts of activity have not helped him to get rid of this image.
This being the state of things, Congress’ Bharat Jodo Yatra reeks of tokenism—a sudden burst of activity, some sound fury, signifying nothing.
Most importantly, when the party organisation is in tatters, when loyal workers and leaders are leaving, what sort of a message of unity is the Congress trying to send? Just like charity, unity too begins at home.
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Chandigarh Airport named as Shaheed Bhagat Singh International Airport
On the birth anniversary of Shaheed Bhagat Singh, Chandigarh International Airport was named Shaheed Bhagat Singh International Airport in a ceremony held at the airport on Wednesday.
The airport handled 17,936 international passengers and 2,271,233 domestic passengers in the years 2021–2022. In addition, the airport handled approximately 11000 MT of domestic air cargo in fiscal year 2021-2022.
Nirmala Sitharaman, Union Finance Minister, unveiled the plaque in the presence of Bandaru Dattatreya, Governor, Haryana; Banwarilal Purohit, Governor, Punjab & Administrator of Chandigarh; Bhagwant Mann, Chief Minister, Punjab; Dushyant Chautala, Deputy Chief Minister, Haryana and General (Dr.) Vijay Kumar Singh, Union Minister of State for Road Transport & Highways and Civil Aviation, Kirron Kher, Member of Parliament, Chandigarh, Shri Anil Vij, Minister of Home Affairs, Haryana Government.
During the naming ceremony, Nirmala Sitharaman, Union Finance Minister, said, “Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav today is reaching all corners of the country. Every time we see the faces of our worthy freedom fighters, their names on our public buildings, we remember the sacrifices done by their generations. We don’t take our freedom for granted”.
Bandaru Dattatreya, Hon’ble Governor, Haryana, and Banwarilal Purohit, Governor, Punjab, expressed happiness on the occasion and said that Shaheed Bhagat Singh’s true devotion towards our motherland will remain an inspiration forever.
While addressing the audience, General (Dr.) Vijay Kumar Singh, said that the naming of Chandigarh Airport after Bhagat Singh by the Hon’ble PM is a prestigious moment for the whole nation. Bhagat Singh is an inspiration for millions of youth in the country, and this is a befitting tribute to his glorious memory.
Hon’ble Shri Bhagwant Mann, Chief Minister, Punjab, thanked the Prime Minister and welcomed the decision to name the Chandigarh airport after Shaheed Bhagat Singh ji , and urged the FM to start many international flights from this airport.
Simultaneous Kidney Pancreas Transplant Recipient from Uttarakhand delivers baby in PGIMER
Accomplishing one more milestone, PGIMER writes another success story in transplant surgery as a 32-year-old simultaneous kidney-pancreas transplant recipient from Uttarakhand delivered a baby girl, 4 years after undergoing a simultaneous kidney-pancreas transplant here in PGIMER.
Prof. Ashish Sharma, Head, Deptt. of Renal transplant Surgery, PGIMER while enumerating PGIMER’s milestones in transplant surgery shared, “Less than 150 pancreas transplants have been carried out in India so far. Out of these, PGIMER alone has contributed 38 of these. This is the first childbirth happening after pancreas transplant at our institute and possibly the first in India. While globally pancreas transplant remains fairly common with nearly 35,000 pancreas transplant having been performed in United States, It has just started in our country.”
Expressing her happiness at the successful delivery in this high risk case, Prof. Seema Chopra, Obsetrics In-charge at PGIMER stated, “There were different opinions as she was considered to be a high risk patient given her past history of diabetes, hypertension and kidney failure. Ultimately, after consultation with obstetrics team, she decided to proceed ahead. Fortunately, her glucose, blood pressure and kidney function remained within normal limits throughout the pregnancy. However, in view of high-risk status it was decided to perform a Caesarean section at nine months and she delivered a female baby of weight 2.5 kg with uneventful recovery.”
The mother to the newly born baby girl was diagnosed to be suffering from type one diabetes since the age of 13, i.e. from 2005 when she developed loss of consciousness and had been under treatment of Deptt. of Endocrinology, PGIMER since then.
Detailng about the case management, Prof. Sanjay Bhadada, Head, Deptt. of Endocrinology, PGIMER, shared, “The mother’s diabetes was labile and required 70 units of insulin every day along with strict monitoring of blood glucose.”
Raids of State Investigation Agency underway in Poonch
The Jammu and Kashmir State Investigation Agency (SIA) has conducted raids in the Poonch district in connection with a terror funding case.
Earlier on September 22, the SIA Jammu had conducted raids at multiple locations in the Bhathindi and Kulgam districts of South Kashmir, while continuing its crackdown against terror funding and terror networks in the union territory.
Police in a statement said that carrying forward a probe into the involvement of a policeman in a case of suspected funding, fake passport and involvement of duo in various sections of law and accumulation of properties beyond their known sources of income, teams of SIA Jammu wing conducted searches in the houses of one absconding accused namely Abu Bakar in the Bhatindi area of Jammu city who is at large and hiding in Dubai and at the residence of an another accused Head Constable Mohmmad Ramzan Rishi in Kulgam area of South Kashmir who is also involved in same charges besides preparing a fake passport in his own name and using the same for travelling abroad by concealing his real identity.
The case was related to duping the public of their hard-earned money on many fake assurances, promises and also indulging in serious immoral activities that had dangerous security implications for the state. During the course of raids at two different locations in Jammu and Kashmir, search parties have seized various incriminating material having a direct bearing on an investigation of the case, viz., terror funding, etc.
Besides, analysis of the said material would follow, and leads that would emerge would become the basis for further investigation in a suspected case of terror funding.
It is pertinent to mention that the searches are aimed at dismantling the terror ecosystem across Jammu and Kashmir by identifying various overground workers, terror supporters, and those who are involved in facilitating unlawful activities concerning national security.
Violence in Jammu significantly low: Lt. Gen. Manjinder Singh
GOC White Knight Corps Lieutenant General Manjinder Singh asserted on Wednesday that violence in Jammu is significantly low.
“There is a lot of support from locals against terrorism. So far, the violence in Jammu is significantly low, and if someone came from the valley side, he has been neutralised,” Lt. Gen. Manjinder Singh said, addressing a press conference in Jammu’s Nagrota. “Pakistan is trying infiltration, terrorists, ammunition, and narcotics, but we have a strong anti-infiltration grid, and secondly we are concentrating on securing the hinterland, for which we have a strong anti-terror grid,” he added. Further, on the concern for the drone threat, Singh announced the launch of an anti-drone mechanism while mentioning that the drone threat is more prevalent in Punjab and in the plains.
“There is less sighting for drones in our (White Knight Corps) areas and we suspect the ones seen here are a reconnaissance by the enemy, hence we are soon getting an anti-drone mechanism,” he said.
“In the last two years, there has been no successful infiltration along the Line of Control (LoC) in the areas under White Knight Corps of the Indian Army,” he added.
Addressing this further, he said that the Army is taking a number of initiatives that focus on youth development, including education, sports.
He later sought the constant efforts of society, along with the Army, to counter the youth radicalization by the “enemy,” terming it a national effort.
“Radicalization is being done by the enemy. Army, alone, cannot counter this, but society also should put in efforts as it is a whole national effort. We are taking the administration and religious leaders along with us,” he said.
Mamata Banerjee may be arrested soon: West Bengal BJP chief
West Bengal BJP Chief Sukanta Majumdar made huge revelations against the Mamata Banerjee-led government and claimed that the TMC supremo may be arrested soon.
“Mamata Banerjee may be arrested by December. 41 TMC people’s names are with top leadership. The government will fall in December,” said Majumdar. BJP leader and film star Mithun Chakraborty had also claimed to be in touch with TMC MLAs.
“I am in touch with 21 MLAs of Mamata Banerjee’s party, I said this earlier and again, I stand by my point. I request you just wait for the time,” added Mithun Chakraborty.
West Bengal BJP Vice President Dilip Ghosh called out Mamata Banerjee’s inauguration of Durga Puja during “Pitru Paksha”.
“Mamata Banerjee is destroying the sanctity of Durga Puja by inaugurating the puja in Pitru Paksha, all the works of Mamata Banerjee are wrong, that is why there was a mistake in chanting the mantra while worshipping Goddess Durga,” said Ghosh.
Earlier, the Leader of the Opposition in West Bengal, Suvendu Adhikari, said that the ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC) won’t last even for the next six months in the state.
His remarks came after the ruling party put up posters claiming that a “new and reformed TMC” come in the next six months. “Enforcement Directorate(ED) and Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) are doing their job. This party (TMC) will not last for even six months, December is their deadline,” LoP Suvendu Adhikari had said in Purba Medinipur.
Meanwhile, Mousumi Das, district vice president of Mahila Morcha Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP), was allegedly attacked by “Trinamool Congress-backed” goons at her residence in the Malatipur area of Malda on September 23.
Delhi makes it compulsory for construction sites to install anti-smog guns
As stubble burning season begins in north India and pollution levels in the national capital increase, the Delhi government has started implementing its Winter Action Plan.
The Delhi government has made it compulsory for construction sites with an area of 5,000 square metres or more to install anti-smog guns. Now Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) measures will be implemented three days in advance based on forecasts before the air quality worsens.
While addressing a press conference on Tuesday Delhi Environment Minister Gopal Rai said, ‘’The Environment Department has prepared a 15-point Winter Action Plan. Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal will present this 15-pointer Winter Action Plan in front of the people of Delhi on September 30.’’
Gopal Rai said, ‘’This time, the Commission of Air Quality Management (CAQM) has also made certain changes in the GRAP measures. We are developing our plan of action, keeping in mind the advice of the CAQM, to be brought into force on October 1st. The major shift in the upcoming plan from the erstwhile system is that previously, the basic parameter was PM 2.5 and PM 10. On the basis of this parameter, the level of pollution was bifurcated into five categories: moderate, poor, very poor, severe, and severe plus.’’
‘’Now, instead of gauging the level of pollution on the basis of PM 2.5 and PM 10 values, monitoring will be done on the basis of the Air Quality Index (AQI) and the GRAP measures will be implemented in Delhi accordingly. There will be four categories of level of pollution instead of five in the new Plan: Poor (AQI 201-300), Very Poor (AQI 301-400), Severe (401-450), Severe Plus (AQI 450+). The modification made in the GRAP measures is that previously, it was implemented after the air quality falls below a certain. Now, the garb system will be implemented three day prior to reaching the level on the basis of estimation. AQI will be calculated on the basis of forecasts of IITM and IMD,” he added.
He said, ‘’Regarding the dust pollution in Delhi, it was mandatory to install an anti-smog gun on site with an area greater than 20,000 sq metre till now. But now there is a modification to this provision, and now the construction sites sized between 5000 sq metres to 10000 sq metres are required to have anti-smog guns. A construction site with an area between 5 thousand sq metres to 10 thousand sq metres needs to have one anti-smog gun.’’
‘’Construction sites sized between 10 thousand sq metres to 15000sq metres are required to have two anti-smog guns and sites having size between 15000 sq metres and 20,000 sq metres need to have three anti-smog guns. Construction sites with an area greater than 20 thousand sq metres are required to have four anti-smog guns.’’ He continued. Environment Minister concluded, ‘’I held a meeting with all the officials of DPCC yesterday. Last year, we worked together with all the agencies working on construction sites in Delhi to keep a noose on pollution. Today, I want to appeal to them to follow the new provisions related to the installation of anti-smog guns.’’
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