Dissident Congress leader Sachin Pilot is understood to have raised a banner of revolt after receiving a tip off that his opponents were planning to implicate him in a case of sexual misconduct. The former Rajasthan Deputy Chief Minister apparently decided to take recourse to the “offence is the best way of defense” formulation by pre-empting any accusations which were likely to be made by a woman at the behest of his adversaries, by staking his claim to the top position in the state.
The timing of Sachin’s rebellion took the party High Command by surprise and was construed by most senior leaders as an exercise which had been initiated solely at the prodding of the BJP that had been wanting to topple the Ashok Gehlot government. Although the eventuality of a possible tieup with the saffron brigade is a matter of speculation, the moves by him are not entirely motivated by this probable liaison.
Sources said that Sachin was in a panic mode and figured that if he made his reaction appear to be his dissatisfaction with his senior, Ashok Gehlot, then the allegations of any kind of conduct bordering on moral turpitude may be seen as political retaliation by his rivals. This way, the charges would stand diluted. He was convinced that at this critical stage of his political career, a serious charge of a criminal nature could jeopardise his future. This was too big a risk to take when he was being viewed as one of the best political prospects of his party. Hence the move to pre-empt such a move by staging a revolt.
According to sources, Sachin was let down by a senior party leader belonging to the Dungarpur-Banswada region, who for more than a year had sworn his allegiance to him, earning his full trust. Sachin considered him as one of his loyalists and it was due to this factor that his name was included as probably number one in the list of MLAs, whom the deputy CM claimed were with him. However, this “trusted lieutenant” had been all along working at the behest of some of his rivals and when the time came, he did not show up to express his solidarity with the young politician.
Sources claimed that this particular leader had introduced Sachin to a widow and had wanted her to be nominated to a statutory body in state politics. Information reached the then Deputy CM that this alleged “mole” from the opposite camp was about to level serious allegations against him, and he reacted by challenging his senior in a public manner.
In the meanwhile, through a former friend who is now with the BJP, Sachin is reported to have met some top BJP functionaries, pledging to bring in around 31 MLAs with him, in order to topple the Congress government. However, Ashok Gehlot had by then swung into action and somehow managed to keep his flock intact. The BJP camp was apparently also not able to entice more MLAs as two industrialists including a pharmaceutical baron declined to shell out the cash.
All this while, the media propped up his cause and stories of the Gandhis trying to plead with him started doing the rounds when the fact is that neither Sonia nor Rahul spoke with him even once. Finding himself politically isolated, Sachin over the last two days made a futile attempt to somehow make the Congress High Command provide him with a face-saving formula. This the Gandhis were not willing to do since they were peeved with him.
While Sonia’s chief political aide, Ahmed Patel, played a crucial role in controlling the damage, two emissaries—Randeep Surjewala and Ajay Maken—were sent by K. Venugopal to sort out the issue in Jaipur. The two leaders were not warmly received with some MLAs even questioning why Surjewala, who had himself done cross-voting in the Rajya Sabha polls in Haryana, and Ajay Maken, who had lost a series of elections, were there. They had expected some senior leaders to act as observers and intermediaries.
On Thursday, most senior leaders in the Congress were of the view that Sachin had crossed the Lakshman Rekha. There were enough reasons for the party to now expel him, thus also sending a warning to his other friends who had tweeted in his favour on Tuesday. In fact, Sachin is skating on thin ice and stands absolutely outplayed by his more experienced opponents. Therefore, there is now a question mark over his immediate future which at one stage looked very promising.
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Bank licences to corporates a ‘bad idea’: Rajan
New Delhi: Days after an Internal Working Group (IWG) of Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) recommended allowing large Indian corporates to enter the banking sector, former RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan and Deputy Governor Viral Acharya have hit back at the suggestion and questioned the timing for it. Terming the recommendation as a “bombshell”, in a blogpost, they said that although several recommendations of the report are worth adopting the one to allow corporate houses into banking should not be taken up. “To the contrary, it is even more important today to stick to the tried and tested limits on corporate involvement in banking,” said the article.
Foreign Secretary to visit Nepal on 26 November
Kathmandu: Resuming the high-level visit and exchanges with Nepal, India is sending its top diplomat to Kathmandu on 26 November. Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla will pay an official visit to the Himalayan country on November 26-27, Nepal’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement on Monday. The announcement was made in New Delhi too. The visit is in keeping with the tradition of regular high-level exchanges between the two neighbours and the priority India attaches to its relations with Nepal, India’s Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said in its statement. Shringla’s visit comes after two back-to-back high-level visits from new Delhi by Army Chief General Manoj Mukund Naravane (November) and Research and Analysis Wing head Samant Goel (October).
Market opens higher, Sensex hits fresh high
Mumbai: The key Indian equity indices opened in the green on Monday with the BSE Sensex touching a new record high within just minutes into the trade. Healthy buying was witnessed in metal, energy and oil and gas stocks. Sensex touched an all-time high of 44,271.15 points. The Nifty50 on the National Stock Exchange was trading at 12,930.85, higher by 71.80 points or 0.56 per cent from its previous close.
Covid-19: Vibrant Gujarat summit may be postponed
The biennial Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit, organised by the Gujarat government to attract investors, is unlikely to be held this year, due to the worsening Covid-19 situation in Gujarat. The summit, considered the foremost among all industrial summits of Gujarat, may be postponed till January 2021.
A senior Gujarat government official told The Daily Guardian that Vibrant Gujarat would be held in the first or second week of January. However, given the pandemic situation at the moment, it is difficult to say whether the summit will take place in just a month and half’s time for sure. However, an official decision is yet to be taken. No announcements have been made about cancelling the January event.
Narendra Modi started the Vibrant Gujarat Summit in 2003 when he was the Chief Minister of Gujarat to attract foreign investors to the state.
Military storage bunkers spotted in Chinese village near Doklam
NEW DELHI: China’s new villages close to the Line of Actual Control, meant ostensibly for settling civilians from far-flung areas close to the border, are part of strategy to enhance its military infrastructure in the area, top sources said.
One such village has also come up near Doklam where military storage facilities have been observed, as per intelligence reports. Construction of the new hardened bunkers appears to be an effort at militarily reinforcing the larger Doklam region, the source said.
There are dozens of similar settlements along the LAC, most of them coming up in areas facing Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh. Part of their integrated model villages that the Chinese intend to put to dual use – for civil and military purposes, some villages however remain uninhabited and are only turning out to increase military infrastructure to cater to additional deployment of the People’s Liberation Army.
Shelters have also come up at Bumdro which is opposite Kameng. Six to seven concrete huts have been constructed at Bumdro near Domsongrong to accommodate PLA personnel during their patrolling activity in Mera La, Thag La and Yangtse Area.
China has also constructed a road from Tirkangto Shivung La. The work was being undertaken from uphill side of Tirkang village in the south west direction towards Shiyung La.
Farmers’ union refuses to budge, Punjab CM expresses concern
Expressing serious concern over the decision of one farmers’ union not to allow passenger trains to ply till the Centre accedes to their demands on the issue of farm laws, Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Monday said this would put the people to major inconvenience and could have grave consequences for the state.
Reacting to the announcement of Kissan Mazdoor Sangharsh Committee (Piddi) that they would not budge on their rail blockade of passenger trains till the farm laws’ issue is resolved, the Chief Minister said that, by striking this discordant note, the union was acting against the interests of Punjab and its people.
When all the other 31 farmers’ organisations had decided unanimously to withdraw from the tracks to allow both goods and passenger trains to move in the state for the next 15 days, this one union’s decision was not understandable, said Captain Amarinder, adding that this would alienate Kissan Mazdoor Sangharsh Committee (Piddi) from the people.
He cautioned the Committee against taking such a harsh stand, which could lead to them losing the support of the masses, who had so far wholeheartedly backed the farmers’ agitation against the farm laws. “When the state government and every person in Punjab has been extending their full support to the farmers, why is this Union taking a stance against their own state?” he asked.
Given that both the Centre and the other farmers’ unions had taken conciliatory steps to resolve the crisis triggered by the agricultural laws, the Kissan Mazdoor Sangharsh Committee (Piddi) should not do anything to derail the process of negotiation and discussion, he added. It was in the interest of all, including the farmers themselves, to find a solution to the problems unleashed by the central laws, on which every section of Punjab’s populace, as well as his government, was standing shoulder to shoulder with the farming community, said the Chief Minister.
The message that was emanating from the stand of the Kissan Mazdoor Sangharsh Committee (Piddi) was that the union was not really interested in breaking the stalemate on the farm laws issue, Captain Amarinder said. In any case, said the Chief Minister, blocking a one-odd track would serve no purpose even for the Committee, which, incidentally, had chosen to stay away from the meeting convened by him on Saturday to urge the farm unions to lift their blockade.
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