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State politics turns ‘hot’ over Barmer Refinery foundation

Politics has become hot in the state in connection with the foundation ceremony of Barmer Refinery.Former Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot has tweeted the question about the foundation of the refinery between the code of conduct of the by-elections. BJP state president Ashok Parnami said that permission has been sought from the Election Commission (EC) for the foundation ceremony of the refinery and said he (Gehlot) do not have to worry.PM Modi will lay the foundation stone of the refinery in Barmer on January 14. During the last Ashok Gehlot government, Sonia Gandhi laid the foundation stone for the same refinery. BJP has revoked the previous MoU and has made a new one of the refinery.This is the reason why politics is ‘hot’ on the centre point i.e. refinery. Refuting the tweet of Gehlot, BJP state president said that Gehlot Sahab or anyone should not worry about the code of conduct.BJP will not do any work in violation of the Code of Conduct. The refinery has been discussed with the EC for the foundation ceremony.Gehlot also tweeted about the refinery’s ‘twice’ foundation laying ceremony. In response, Parnami said that Gehlot himself did the refinery MoU in a hurry. In this MoU, people of the state were burdened with Rs40 thousand crore.If interest of 30 years of Rs40 thousand crore is added, then this figure becomes Rs1 lakh 54 thousand crore. Gehlot should thank CM Raje to free the state from this burden.The verbal turn During the last Ashok Gehlot government, Sonia Gandhi laid the foundation stone for the same refinery. BJP has revoked the previous MoU and has made a new one of the refinery. This is the reason why politics is ‘hot’ on the centre point i.e. refinery. BJP state president Ashok Parnami said that Gehlot Sahab or anyone should not worry about the code of conduct. BJP will not do any work in violation of the Code of Conduct.

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Vidya Balan: It has to be something like Ijaazat with Shah Rukh Khan
Bigg Boss 11: Shilpa Shinde rebukes Akash Dadlani for touching her inappropriately
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We must save Constitution: Rahul Gandhi to party

Congress president Rahul Gandhi presided over a function to mark the party’s foundation day for the first time, and used the occasion to accuse BJP of attacking the Constitution and using lies for political benefits.Without naming Union Minister Anant Kumar Hegde, Rahul said at Congrress’ 133rd foundation that BJP was resorting to deceit and lies directly as also “surreptitiously” to make a dent in the Constitution and remove its secular character. “It is our duty, duty of Congress, duty of every single Indian to defend the Constitution,” he said.The Congress president spoke of a “web of deceit” in the country, asserting that the BJP operates on the basic idea that a lie can be used for political benefit. “And this is the difference between us and them,” he said.”We might suffer, we might not do well, we might even lose, but we will not give up the truth, we will defend the truth,” Rahul said.”The central idea of the party was truth. We work with the truth, we fight for the truth,” he said. He said the Congress had many achievements to its credit, achieved with the help of Indian people. The party was ‘jointly responsible’ for bringing Independence to the country, he said.Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and other leaders were present at the function.Rahul’s mother and former president Sonia Gandhi’s absence was conspicuous at the function. In a photograph tweeted by the verified handle of actor Riteish Deshmukh, 71-year-old Sonia was seen cycling and posing for a photograph in a resort in Goa.

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Vidya Balan: It has to be something like Ijaazat with Shah Rukh Khan
Bigg Boss 11: Shilpa Shinde rebukes Akash Dadlani for touching her inappropriately
Bigg Boss 11: Hiten Tejwani gets evicted from Salman Khan’s show
Here’s how “well-behaved” Shashi Kapoor was different from Raj Kapoor & Shammi Kapoor, writes Shobhaa De
“Stop behaving like Aaradhya,” says Amitabh Bachchan to Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Watch viral video!
Telugu actor Vijay Sai found dead in his apartment; Did he commit suicide?
Varun Dhawan buys a plush new apartment; girlfriend Natasha Dalal attends housewarming party
Aditya Chopra is one of the first ones to know about Anushka Sharma-Virat Kohli’s Wedding!
STOP spreading rumours! Deepika Padukone-Ranveer Singh’s special gift for Anushka Sharma-Virat Kohli REVEALED!
Salman Khan cheers up teary-eyed Katrina Kaif during ‘Tiger Zinda Hai’ promotions
Not just Anushka Sharma and Virat Kohli: Here are other B-Town beauties who bowled over cricketing stars
SHOCKING! ‘Wonder Woman’ Gal Gadot’s fake porn video goes viral, here’s what happened

We depend on Rahul to sustain hope: Manmohan Singh

Former prime minister Manmohan Singh on Saturday launched a scathing attack on the BJP and said the Congress now depends on Rahul Gandhi as its president in a time of “disturbing trends”.”Rahulji is taking over as the president of the party at a time when there are certain disturbing trends noticeable in our polity. As a distinguished academic pointed out a few days ago, there are dangers that the ‘politics of fear’ will take over from the politics of hope,” he said. “Rahulji, we depend upon you to transform and sustain politics of hope,” Singh said.He started his speech by saying, “I recall a letter that Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru wrote to Indiraji. He said that in the matters of the state, one should not be sentimental but should be full of sentiment.”He said that Rahul’s elevation was a “unique day” in the history of Congress.Singh further thanked Sonia Gandhi for providing “powerful leadership”. “We salute Soniaji for uniting the leadership, something that she has been doing for the last 19 years,” he said.

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BJP rakes up Madhu Koda’s sentencing to target Rahul Gandhi on his first day as Congress President

The BJP today dubbed the Congress as a “corrupt thought process” as it shrugged off Rahul Gandhi’s elevation as its president, saying its working style and “corrupt ways” remained the same.BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra launched a sharp attack on the Congress after Gandhi attacked the ruling party soon after replacing her mother Sonia Gandhi as its president.Patra cited the sentencing of former Jharkhand Chief Minister Madhu Koda, who was supported by the Congress, in a corruption case to hit out at the party, claiming it would remain corrupt despite the change in leadership.He said it was an irony that despite the Congress not being in power for four years, corruption cases were still tumbling out and people jailed for corruption they did when it was in power.”This speaks volumes about the thought process, the working nature of Congress party. So a new president or an old president, the working style of Congress party, the corrupt ways of Congress party still remain the same,” he told reporters.He said when the Congress talks about a change in leadership, the country is seeing how during its 10-year rule, corruption of ten to fourteen lakh crore rupees took place under their very nose.”Congress is not an ancient thought process as claimed by a few, rather Congress is a corrupt thought process and that has been proved by the judicial process today,” Patra added.After assuming the leadership of the party, Rahul Gandhi accused the BJP of spreading hatred and alleged that Prime Minister Narendra Modi was taking India back to medieval times.Also readRahul Gandhi is captain of a ‘sinking ship’: Union Minister Babul Supriyo”The BJP is spreading hatred and communalism… they break, while we unite. They ignite fire, we douse it,” Gandhi said.Asked about the ‘Aag laga ke’ (ignite fire) comment, Patra said this is “not a decent way” to react.”Elections are won not because of riots on streets, not because ‘sadak pe aag laga ke’. Elections are won because the mantra of reform, transform and perform works in the country under the able leadership of Narendra Modi,” he said.Also readPM taking us back to medieval times, says Congress President Rahul Gandhi He went on to add that elections are won as people compare how during the UPA days, the direct benefit transfer (DBT) was not there and the money could not reach the pockets of poor man.”Today because of DBT, what the poor man deserves, reaches his pocket. Elections are won by giving LPG cylinders to the last man standing in the queue, when electricity reaches every village.”So my simple request is we should not demean the basic nature of democracy in the country. Democracy is vibrant in the country because development is taking place as never before,” he added.Patra said that today is an important day as Madhu Koda, who was the chief minister of Jharkhand with the support of Congress party, has been sentenced to three years in jail because of his involvement in the coal scam.Also readHimanta Biswa Sarma congratulates Rahul’s elevation; says will continue to have political contests with him”We all know that Madhu Koda was an Independent MLA, but because of the fact that the government was formed with the outside support of the Congress party, the government then was almost a Congress government run by10 Janpath, 24 Akbar Road by the help of Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and Ahmed Patel,” he said.

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‘I can’t speak’: Sonia Gandhi sees red after fireworks interrupt her last speech as Congress president

Sonia Gandhi, who led the Congress part for 19 years, on Saturday passed the baton to his son Rahul. During her emotional farewell speech, the outgoing Congress president was interrupted by noise erupting from incessant fireworks as party workers celebrated Rahul’s elevation outside the 24, Akbar Road headquarters. “Today I am addressing you for the last time as Congress president. A new era, new leadership before you,” Sonia Gandhi said. But she stopped as loud crackers outside the party office drowned her voice. “I can’t speak,” she said, turning to the dais where senior leaders of the party were seated. Also readPM taking us back to medieval times, says Congress President Rahul Gandhi Signalling to the workers to bring down the noise, she said, “I have to shout because of this.” An announcement failed to deter the workers and they continued with the crackers. She resumed after a few minutes even as the noise continued.Congratulating Rahul on his elevation, she said personal attacks on her son have made him fearless and voiced confidence that the young leadership will infuse new vigour in the party.Also readSonia Gandhi and the unexpected rise and stunning fall of CongressEarlier, Rahul Gandhi was handed over certificate of election as Congress president.Sonia Gandhi, who headed the 132-year-old Congress for the last 19 years, also thanked party leaders and workers for the support she received during her tenure as its chief.Sonia, who has been unwell over the past few year and had virtually handed over the charge of the party to Rahul, said she was proud of her son’s endurance and determination.”Rahul is my son and I don’t feel it is appropriate that I praise him but I will definitely say that since childhood he had faced the agony inflicted by violence.”In his political life, he faced vicious personal attacks which have made him more fearless. I am proud of his endurance and determination. I am fully confident that he will lead the party with courage and dedication,” she said.(With PTI inputs)

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My mother will continue to contest from Rae Bareli, not me: Priyanka Gandhi virtually rules out Sonia’s retirement

Priyanka Gandhi-Vadra today put to rest the speculation over her contesting the 2019 Lok Sabha polls from Rae Bareli, saying her mother Sonia Gandhi would again be in the fray from the Parliamentary constituency in Uttar Pradesh.Rae Bareli is currently represented in the Lok Sabha by outgoing Congress president Sonia Gandhi, who passed on the mantle of the top party post to her son Rahul Gandhi today.There is a speculation in the media over Priyanka Gandhi-Vadra assuming an active role in politics to assist her brother, Rahul Gandhi.The speculation arose after Sonia Gandhi indicated her “retirement” yesterday.The Congress had, however, clarified that Sonia Gandhi was only retiring as the Congress president and not from active politics.Also readHimanta Biswa Sarma congratulates Rahul’s elevation; says will continue to have political contests with him”There is no question of me contesting (the 2019 polls)…My mother will contest from there (Rae Bareli),” Priyanka Gandhi-Vadra said after Rahul Gandhi assumed charge as Congress president at an event at the All India Congress Committee (AICC) headquarters here.She also lauded her mother, calling her the “bravest” woman for overcoming huge difficulties during her record 19- year tenure as the Congress chief.Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi (from Amethi) are the only two Congress representatives from Uttar Pradesh in the current Lok Sabha. Also readPM taking us back to medieval times, says Congress President Rahul Gandhi Soon after taking charge as the Congress president, Rahul Gandhi today launched a frontal attack on the BJP, accusing it of spreading hatred and alleged that Prime Minister Narendra Modi was taking India back to medieval times.Gandhi said the BJP is “fighting for itself”, while the Congress is “fighting for everyone” in the country.Also readRahul Gandhi is captain of a ‘sinking ship’: Union Minister Babul SupriyoThe Congress chief said he wanted the party to be an instrument of dialogue with people from all corners of the country, “all religions, all ethnicities, all ages and gender and for our dialogue to be led by love and affection”.He lamented that politics “was being used today to crush the people and not lift them up”.”The BJP is spreading hatred and communalism… They break, while we unite. They ignite fire, we douse it,” Gandhi said.”The Congress took India into 21st century, while the prime minister today is taking us backwards to medieval past when people are butchered because of who they are, beaten for what they believe and killed for what they eat,” he alleged.”This ugly violence shames us in the world,” he said in his first address to party men after taking over as the Congress president.47-year-old Rahul Gandhi took charge of the Congress in the presence of his mother and outgoing president Sonia Gandhi, sister Priyanka Gandhi-Vadra, her husband Robert Vadra, former prime minister Manmohan Singh and other senior party leaders.Reaching out to the youth, he said as “it is stated that the Congress is a grand old party we will make it a grand old and young party… We will fight all hatred with love.”Rahul Gandhi said the Congress party is like a family to him and vowed to take it forward.

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Rahul Gandhi is captain of a ‘sinking ship’: Union Minister Babul Supriyo

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Babul Supriyo on Saturday termed Congress President Rahul Gandhi as captain of the “sinking ship.”Speaking to ANI, Minister of State (MoS) for Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises Supriyo said, “Rahul Gandhi is the captain of a sinking ship. I would enjoy his speech back home as he must have said something humorous. I have heard his speech is already doing rounds on social media but I think he should talk about himself also.” He added that Rahul Gandhi is talking only about the BJP, which is already doing wonders.Also readPM taking us back to medieval times, says Congress President Rahul Gandhi “He is talking about 21st century but I am not sure the party will remain even till this century given that its performance is falling apart every day. Definitely Congress has a great history and I hope it has a great future too,” the BJP leader stated.Earlier in the day, Rahul took over as the Congress president by succeeding his mother Sonia Gandhi.Also readHimanta Biswa Sarma congratulates Rahul’s elevation; says will continue to have political contests with himThe 47-year-old was officially declared party president in a ceremony held at the party’s 24 Akbar Road headquarters here.He was given the certificate of Congress president by Mullappally Ramachandran, the chairman of the party’s central election authority, who oversaw the organisational polls.Also readSonia Gandhi and the unexpected rise and stunning fall of CongressThe ceremony was attended by party stalwarts, including former prime minister Manmohan Singh, former union home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde, former Maharashtra chief minister Ashok Chavan and other party leaders.His sister Priyanka Gandhi and brother-in-law Robert Vadra were also present on the occasion.Sweets were distributed, slogans raised, crackers burst and party workers danced to drum beats to celebrate the change of guard. Artists from different parts of the nation were also seen performing outside the party head office. Congress workers marched from Rail Bhavan to party office. Sonia headed the party for 19 years since 1998.

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Sonia Gandhi and the unexpected rise and stunning fall of Congress

Sonia Gandhi, who today handed over the reins of the Congress to her son, Rahul Gandhi, was once seen as an unlikely heir to the Gandhi political legacy, but crowned her innings by becoming the longest serving president of India’s grand old party.Her exit was as subdued as her entry was spirited.”I am going to retire,” the 71-year-old Member of Parliament told reporters yesterday, sending party leaders into a tizzy and hastening to explain that she was not quitting politics. But Indira Gandhi’s daughter-in-law is known to spring surprises. If her successor was often described as the reluctant heir of the family, she was even more loath to take up a political role.Legend has it that when Congress leaders pressed Rajiv Gandhi to occupy the prime minister’s chair after the assassination of his mother Indira Gandhi, Sonia Gandhi begged him not to, fearful about her family’s safety. Seven years later, when he was killed, she turned away when party leaders urged her to lead the Congress. Also readPM taking us back to medieval times, says Congress President Rahul Gandhi It was another seven years later, when the party was in tatters at the Centre and in power only in four states, that she agreed to pick up the reins of the party. She was persuaded to do so after senior leaders left the Congress and set up their own regional outfits. When the Congress was in shambles, Sonia Gandhi — described by sections of the media as the most powerful woman in India — steered it to victory in 2004, ousting the NDA.That wasn’t all. When it appeared that she would occupy the highest office in South Block, she told the surprised media that she had chosen Manmohan Singh as the prime minister of the United Progressive Alliance government.Also readHimanta Biswa Sarma congratulates Rahul’s elevation; says will continue to have political contests with himToday, party leaders look back at her presidency with pride, hailing unity and strength as the hallmarks of her record breaking 19-year tenure. Sonia Gandhi took a back seat after several rounds of illness recently, for which she had be hospitalised. Also readSonia Gandhi’s emotional message to party as Rahul Gandhi becomes Congress chiefShe exits active Congress politics on a high note and as one of the tallest leaders of the party in recent years. Sonia Gandhi’s sharpest weapon was her silence. She spoke little, and seldom in public, but wielded enormous power in the Congress. In cotton saris that reminded old-timers of her mother- in-law, she has over the years addressed public rallies in her accented Hindi, suitably blunting the opposition BJP’s campaign against her Italian roots.Under her stewardship, the Congress led the Centre for two terms from 2004 to 2014 and returned to power in a host of states. The then party president achieved this by successfully stitching electoral alliance with like-minded parties. UPA-1 and UPA II were fine examples of Sonia Gandhi’s ability to bring non-BJP forces together. Her prediction of the Congress returning at the Centre on its own, made at the party’s Pachmarhi conference, never came true though. That said, Gandhi braved tremendous odds to earn her place in Indian politics, as she conquered the limitations of language and her foreign origin to win the hearts of people. Born to Italian parents in Lusiana, Vicenza (Italy), on December 9, 1946, Gandhi met Rajiv Gandhi in England where she was studying. The young language student and the son of then Indian prime minister were married 1968. Contemporary history recalls how she cradled her mother- in-law’s body after she was gunned down by her bodyguards, and later tried to persuade her husband not to take up the prime minister’s post. After Rajiv Gandhi’s assassination in May, 1991, she shunned active politics, but after repeated cajoling by Congress leaders took the primary membership of Congress in 1997. Amid consequent widespread demands from rank and file to lead a shaky party, she entered public life in 1998, a move that was widely and loudly welcomed in the party. She was first elected as an MP from Amethi in 1999, following which she became the Leader of the Opposition in the Lower House. She later shifted to Rae Bareli to accommodate her son in Amethi.In 2004, she led the electoral campaign of her party which secured the largest number of seats and formed a coalition government. When she nominated Singh as the prime minister, her standing went up by several notches. Her supporters called it an act of sacrifice while some saw it as a political masterstroke.Gandhi, however, continued to wield power in the party as the chairperson of the UPA and the leader of the Congress party in Parliament, leading its strategy inside and outside the Houses. She also introduced the concept of National Advisory Council (NAC), a forum that made periodic recommendations to the government and often dubbed as a “dual power centre” by the opposition. As its chairperson, Gandhi took up issues related to environment, gender, empowerment of the disadvantaged and right to information. At a personal level, Sonia Gandhi has authored two books on her husband, Rajiv and Rajiv’s World, and has edited two volumes of letters exchanged between Jawaharlal Nehru and Indira Gandhi. Her other interests include reading, Indian art — contemporary, classical as well as tribal — handlooms and handicrafts and music. She has a diploma in conservation of oil paintings from the National Museum in New Delhi. While she may find time to pursue her passions now, her son is set for tough times with the Congress at a historic electoral low in its entire history. In power only in five states now, and facing difficult elections in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh, the Congress, everyone agrees, is facing its worst existential crisis ever. Congress leaders feel that she will continue to play the role of a mentor to the party for times to come. She may also continue as the chairperson of the Congress Parliamentary party and the UPA alliance. As a Congress leader says, “Even now, Rahul Gandhi is bound to consult his mother on every important party related decision he takes.”

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Setting tone for 2019 Lok Sabha polls? PM taking us back to medieval times, says Congress President Rahul Gandhi

All roads led to 24, Akbar Road since early morning on Saturday as the Congress prepared for the change of guard at its headquarters in New Delhi.Celebration was in the air as party workers were seen dancing and bursting crackers ahead of the official elevation of Rahul Gandhi as president of the 132-year-old party.The 47-year-old arrived at the venue in his trademark white kurta payjama teaming it with black half jacket.Sharing the dais with his mother Sonia Gandhi, former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Rahul Gandhi was beaming with confidence.Sister Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and her husband Robert Vadra were seen in the front row.Terming the moment as ‘historic’ Mullappally Ramachandran, the chairman of the central election authority of Congress, handed over the certificate of elevation to Rahul Gandhi amid loud cheers.After Ramachandran’s brief remark, former PM Manmohan Singh took the stage to congratulate Rahul Gandhi. He also took the moment to recall the stint of Sonia Gandhi as Congress president.Though the spotlight was firmly on Rahul Gandhi, but his mother’s emotional farewell speech managed to strike a chord with party workers.In her 20-minute long address, Sonia Gandhi talked about assassinations of her mother-in-law Indira Gandhi and her husband Rajiv Gandhi. She recalled the difficult days and her initial years in Indian politics.With a rousing standing ovation, the Congress gave its respect to the outgoing party president.Then came the moment everyone was waiting for. In his first speech as Congress President, Rahul Gandhi talked about the ‘politics of fear’. In an all out attack against the ruling BJP and the Prime Minister, Rahul Gandhi said that the Congress took India to 21st century, but ‘the PM today is taking us back to medieval times.’He also spoke about how these days, people are being targeted for what they eat. The stinging attack clearly shows that the 47-year-old will not sit back but take aggressive stance in future.The address also shows his confidence and the vision that he is providing the party for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.Congress trying to set an alternative political narrative will decide the future of Grand Old Party, which was reduced to just 44 out of 543 Lok Sabha seats in 2014. With just 8 per cent votes, it was Congress’ worst performance ever. The same was seen in Sonia Gandhi farewell address when she said that ‘we have lots many elections, but we won’t bow down.’ It is this self-realisation that will help the Congress in coming times and help the party to stay relevant.In his address, Rahul Gandhi slammed the BJP for politics of hate. He said, ‘They (BJP) crush voices but we allow them to speak, they defame, we respect and defend.’ He also said, ‘Those in BJP are soldiers fighting for self. Whereas the Congress is guided by service of community.’ It is these statements clearly portraying the Congress as the party working for ‘spirit of India’ that may propel Congress to a course correction.The big question remains – can Rahul Gandhi put Congress back in power? What was seen in Gujarat – his temple visits or marathon public interactions – may have shown that he has finally arrived on the political scene, yet the Monday results may set new tone.

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Sonia Gandhi’s emotional message to party as Rahul Gandhi becomes Congress chief

Rahul Gandhi on Saturday took over as Congress president by succeeding his mother Sonia Gandhi. It was a proud movement for the mother Sonia Gandhi who said: “Rahul is my son, so I do not think for me to praise him is right but I would say that since childhood he had to bear the brunt of the violence. After joining politics he had to face blatant personal attacks, that have made him a stronger person”. Rahul Gandhi, 47, was officially declared party president in a ceremony held at the party’s 24 Akbar Road headquarters here on Saturday.Sonia was open about the electoral drubbings Congress has faced in the recent years. “We have lost many elections, but we are not going to be bowed down. We are fighting for the spirit of the nation and we will never back out from our commitment,” Sonia said while addressing the party workers and supporters. Sonia said that since 2014 Congress has been playing the role of opposition. “The challenge that we face today, is the biggest one, our constitutional values are being attacked,” she said.Also readLive updates: In his first speech as Congress president, Rahul Gandhi attacks PM Modi Talking about the vacuum left in her life after the death of her husband Rajiv Gandhi, she shared her feeling with the party workers and said: “Indira JI passed away, after which Rajiv Ji also passed away, my support was taken away from me and it took me a long while to come to terms with it”.Sonia talked about her relationship with former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and how that relationship helped her brave the battles of life. ” Indira ji accepted me as her daughter, and I learned a lot about Indian culture from her. I learned about those principles upon which the foundation of our country was laid,” she said. Also readHimanta Biswa Sarma congratulates Rahul’s elevation; says will continue to have political contests with himIn 1984, Indira ji was assassinated and I felt I had lost my mother and that incident changed my life forever, said Sonia Gandhi.Also readSonia Gandhi ‘retires’ as Rahul Gandhi takes the reins todaySonia Gandhi, who headed the 132-year-old Congress for the last 19 years, also thanked party leaders and workers for the support she received during her tenure as its chief.Rahul was given the certificate of Congress president by Mullappally Ramachandran, the chairman of the party’s central election authority, who oversaw the organisational polls.The ceremony was attended by party stalwarts, including former prime minister Manmohan Singh, former union home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde, former Maharashtra chief minister Ashok Chavan and other party leaders. His sister Priyanka Gandhi and brother-in-law Robert Vadra were also present on the occasion.Sweets were distributed, slogans raised, crackers burst and party workers danced to drum beats to celebrate the change of guard. Artists from different parts of the nation were also seen performing outside the party head office. Congress workers marched from Rail Bhavan to the party office. Sonia headed the party for 19 years since 1998.

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Sonia Gandhi ‘retires’ as Rahul Gandhi takes the reins today

A day before Rahul Gandhi takes over the Congress, the outgoing party president and his mother, Sonia Gandhi, said on Friday that her role is to “retire” now, indicating she is taking a backseat in the party’s affairs.The party, in which a number of senior leaders are more comfortable with Sonia, rushed to add that she had retired as Congress chief and not from politics, reflecting the unease with the idea of her taking a complete break.There has been speculation whether Sonia will continue to hold the posts of UPA chairperson as well as Congress Parliamentary Party chief after Rahul’s elevation.Gandhi told mediapersons in the Parliament complex: “My role is to retire”. She was asked what role she will assume after Rahul’s elevation.Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala soon tweeted, “Would sincerely request friends in the media to not rely upon innuendos.” He said Sonia has retired as Congress president and not from politics. “Her blessings, wisdom and innate commitment to Congress ideology shall always be our guiding light,” he said.Former Union Minister Renuka Chowdhury said it was not easy for party members to accept that Sonia was going to quit politics. She said the leader would always be there to steer the party in the right direction.”(She) may say. It is part of her nature, her personality… she has never aspired for a post or clung to power”, Chowdhury said but added “for those of us who are around, it is not something that we can accept easily.”When Rahul replaces Sonia on Saturday, this will bring to an end her interrupted leadership in the party for 19 years, starting from 1998 during which the Congress-led UPA won two successive Lok Sabha polls in 2004 and 2009 and formed UPAI and UPAII governments.The party also recorded its worst-ever electoral performance in 2014, winning a mere 44 Lok Sabha seats.

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Sonia Gandhi retires as India Congress party president

Her son, Rahul Gandhi, has been elected unopposed as the new Congress leader.

UPA ministers ignored PM, reported to Rahul Gandhi: Piyush Goyal

Union Minister Piyush Goyal accused Rahul Gandhi of having scuttled developmental projects in Gujarat when Narendra Modi was the Chief Minister and the UPA was in power at the Centre.E-mails show that during the Congress-led UPA rule for a decade, then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was not the first whip of the Cabinet, but it was Rahul, now president-elect of the Congress, who called the shots.In a second presser, within hours of the first on Wednesday, Goyal showed a series of e-mail correspondence between then Environment Minister Jayanthi Natarajan and Rahul’s political secretary, wherein the minister was found seeking and taking orders from the Gandhi scion.The e-mails also reveal that Natarajan was going behind Manmohan Singh’s back and was not just divulging privileged conversation with the PM to Rahul regarding developments in the ministry and the government, but was also seeking “guidance” from Rahul and his then Congress president mother Sonia Gandhi.Natarajan is also seen seeking time to meet Rahul’s aides.(Email exchange between Rahul Gandhi & Jayanthi Natarajan)Incidentally, Rahul was just a party functionary with no formal role in the government, but he is seen directing a minister on issues of national importance.It goes on to show that the first family of the Congress was in power rather than Manmohan Singh.In an e-mail, Natarajan tells Rahul how she was opposed to the introduction of GM Crops. She also informs in a complaining tone: “However, I have just received a call from the Prime Minister, where although I tried to convince him, he has specifically overruled me…” Also, she briefed Sonia Gandhi on this issue and claims to have sent a note by hand.Goyal cited another e-mail in which “Rahul Gandhi opposed Nirma project and instructed Natarajan to not give environmental clearance. He was willing to kill jobs in Gujarat to undermine and to hurt development agenda of Narendra Modi,” he said.In an e-mail, Rahul instructs Natarajan to not “dilute Nirma” as “Nirma is high priority, especially for Gujarat – no dilution must be allowed”.”A Home grown company was being killed by the petty politics of Rahul Gandhi,” Goyal said. Natarajan presents clarification on this issue, promising to “work tirelessly” to “justify confidence which CP and Rahul have placed” in her.Later, in yet another mail, Kanishka Singh, Rahul’s aide, “reminds” Natarajan that the case was coming up before the SC on December 9 and that “MoEF can move towards closure report”. Natarajan replies that she had already denied clearance to reject the Nirma project and that she had informed Rahul of this by e-mail.Similarly, the then minister admits to briefing Rahul on confidential instructions between her and then PM Manmohan Singh, seeking once more “urgent guidance” on Lavasa from Rahul. She discusses options and asks the Congress leader to be told about this and guidance be given to “proceed further”.In an e-mail, Rahul is seen inquiring about road projects in Amethi and Raebareli when none existed. “Knowledge of Rahul Gandhi was such that he did not know that there was no proposal on Amethi- Rae Bareilly Highway, but he was instructing Jayanthi Natarajan to clear it.”Nevertheless, Natarajan gives a detailed picture on the said file in less than two hours of receiving the e-mail. Also, she promises to immediately clear any proposal when received.In addition, she makes a promise regarding a file pertaining to “a Lucknow to Sultanpur road, which goes via Barabanki and Amethi/National Highway 56”: “I will see that the file is cleared before the end of the month.”

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Ashok Gehlot game for the third generation Gandhi

This is the third generation of Gandhi family, Ashok Gehlot is working with. Since Indira Gandhi days when he was hand picked and made deputy union minister for tourism and civil aviation, he has been a true loyalist. His proximity with Rajiv Gandhi and then Sonia Gandhi is well known in political circle. And now his new found chemistry with Rahul Gandhi is creating waves. If Gujarat has come within the striking distance for Congress, credit goes to the dual efforts of Rahul and Gehlot. While Gehlot puts in his more than 4-decade rich political acumen in force, Rahul with his sheer boldness and untiring campaigning made it tough for PM Modi and his team.Gehlot, who was not considered a natural ally for Rahul Gandhi, has become his shadow.“He has virtually taken up number two position after Rahul in the party. It was quite evident when he was seen instructing senior leaders like Ghulam Nabi Azad, Anand Sharma and others during poll campaign in Gujarat,” said a senior Congressman.The miraculous revival of dead Congress in Gujarat has made Gehlot a national leader from a regional satrap. Now the party looks upto him for a larger role. A role which can bring back Congress in the 2019 elections.Senior party leaders have started speculating his future role even before results of Gujarat elections. Some say that he may play the role to Rahul what Ahmad Patel played to Sonia except the fund raising part as Gehlot is not comfortable in generating money for the party. Gehlot is the discovery of Gujarat elections for Congress. The way he brokered alliances Congress with youth power of Hardin Patel, Jignesh Mewani and Alpesh Thakore, he emerged as true ‘Chanakya’ of Congress.“Now Gehlot has overgrown for state politics. In Rajasthan elections also, Gehlot may have a say in ticket distribution and overall strategy but chances have brighten for Sachin to Pilot the elections,” said a senior party leader.The situation suits well to Vasundhara Raje also. She considers Gehlot as more fierce opponent than Pilot.“Pilot is aggressive and well placed to give a tough fight to BJP. Since Pilot has not been able to register any major victory against BJP during Raje’s rule, she is more comfortable contesting against him,” said a BJP leader.

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Gujarat Elections 2017: Rahul Gandhi is now King of Cong; it is official

Rahul Gandhi (47) was elected Congress president unopposed on Monday, a much-awaited generational shift in India’s oldest political party that comes in the middle of the fiercely contested Gujarat elections. Rahul is likely to take over from his mother Sonia Gandhi on December 16, the party’s foundation day.The spotlight will now be on Sonia who has been the party’s longest serving president. She has been leading the Congress for 19 years since 1998. Party sources said Sonia remains UPA chairperson and head of the Congress Parliamentary Party.While senior leaders feel Sonia could remain the final arbiter, she herself has given enough indications of not coming in way of Rahul’s decision making. His elevation also ends speculation over his sister Priyanka Gandhi’s leadership role in the party.The move comes 10 years after Rahul was made AICC general secretary and five years after he became Congress’ vice-president.There will be now greater scrutiny of Rahul’s performance. Next year, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh will go to the polls ahead of the 2019 general elections.All 89 nominations — all in Rahul’s favour — were found valid. When the time for nomination withdrawal ended on Monday, Rahul had no other contestant for the post.Soon after the announcement, Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted: “I congratulate Rahul Ji on his election as Congress President. My best wishes for a fruitful tenure.” PM Modi had earlier likened Rahul’s imminent elevation as Congress president to “Aurangzeb Raj” or the rule of the 17th century absolutist Mughal emperor.Party workers gathered outside the AICC office broke into celebration with a slogan “Desh ka neta kaisa ho? Rahul Gandhi jaisa ho” renting the air. The Congress has sought to project the election as democratic to counter the BJP’s charges of dynastic politics.Rahul’s elevation comes at a time when the Congress faces an uphill task of reviving its flagging fortunes after having recorded its worst poll performance in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, wining only 44 seats.Rahul was campaigning in Gujarat, attacking PM Modi and the BJP, when his party made his election official in Delhi. The elevation concludes a year-long organisational election process in the 132-year-old party.

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From a reluctant politician to Congress president: Timeline of Rahul Gandhi’s political journey

Bringing a generational shift in the Congress, Rahul Gandhi was on Monday elected as the party president. It wasn’t much of a fight for him as the 47-year-old scion of the Nehru-Gandhi family was the lone candidate in the fray.Rahul Gandhi will collect the certificate formally declaring his ascension to the post on December 16, party’s central election authority head Mullappally Ramachandran said today. The son of Rajiv and Sonia Gandhi, Rahul will succeed his mother, who remained in the post for 19 years.Also readIt’s official! Rahul Gandhi is new Congress president, to assume office on December 16The political journey of Rahul Gandhi began in 2004 when he first contested Lok Sabha election from Amethi, a family bastion in Uttar Pradesh. Here is a timeline of Rahul Gandhi’s 13-year-long political journey: Also readGujarat elections 2017: No low blow, but we’ll defeat Modi with love, says Rahul Gandhi2004: After much convincing from mother Sonia Gandhi, Rahul contests the Lok Sabha election from Amethi.2006: Sonia Gandhi wins Raebareli by-election with a record margin of 4.17 lakh votes as Rahul leads her campaign. Mother indicates that Rahul “may” be given organisational responsibility soon. Also readRahul Gandhi only valid candidate in fray for Congress President post, says Returning Officer2007: Rahul Gandhi appointed Congress general secretary, takes charge of youth and student wings of the party. Promises to induct new leaders from non-political families.2007: His ‘star campaigner’ appeal fails to secure win for the Congress in UP Assembly polls as party wins only 22 out of 403 seats.2008: Rahul Gandhi defends UPA’s Indo-US nuclear deal in a landmark speech. He shares his experience of his visit to the house of ‘Kalawati’, a poor Dalit woman in Vidarbha, and makes the case how nuclear energy is crucial for eliminating poverty.2009: Rahul takes charge of Congress campaign during the Lok Sabha elections and addresses 125 rallies. Congress wins 206 seats in the Parliament. In Uttar Pradesh, the part wins 21 of 80 seats, with ally RLD winning 5. Watch: Celebration outside Congress headquarters after Rahul Gandhi elected Congress president2010: Bihar Assembly elections give a major jolt to the Congress party as it wins only 4 out of 243 assembly seats.2011: Rahul Gandhi joins farmers’ agitation against land acquisition in Bhatta Parsaul, Greater Noida. He rides pillion on motorcycle in the dark to visit villages in the area. 2012: Rahul addresses nearly 200 rallies during 2012 UP Assembly polls but Congress again fails to make inroads and wins only 28 seats. 2012: Clamour in the Congress rises over demands that Rahul Gandhi should join the UPA govt after Pranab Mukherjee resigned to contest the Presidential poll. Many party leaders, senior ministers and even Prime Minister Manmohan Singh urged him to take a role in the Cabinet. 2013: Congress president Sonia Gandhi appoints Rahul vice-president of the party. 2013: After taking over as the vice-president of the party, Rahul Gandhi makes his “power is poison” speech. “My mother came to my room and cried… because she understands that power is poison.” 2013: He hits out at own government at the Centre and tears up a draft ordinance that would have reversed a Supreme Court order barring convicted politicians from contesting elections.Watch: Rahul Gandhi’s 13-year political journey so far2014: Congress contests 2014 General elections with Rahul as unofficial PM candidate. The party records its lowest-ever Lok Sabha tally with 44 seats. The party also loses several state Assembly elections. 2015: Rahul Gandhi goes on a 57-day sabbatical in a politically-charged season. This gives rise to allegations of him being a “reluctant politician.”2015: He scores a major win after the Narendra Modi government drops its land acquisition ordinance. He tries to shed his “reluctant politician” image with back to back speeches, taking a jibe at the government and terming it a “suit-boot ki sarkar.”2015: Congress faces a string of defeats in state Assembly polls across the country barring Bihar where a “grand alliance” of Congress-RJD-JDU secures comfortable majority. 2015-16: Rahul Gandhi extends support to student protest across the country, including in FTII, Hyderabad University (After Rohith Vemula suicide) and JNU. 2016: With Sonia Gandhi in background, Rahul Gandhi takes charge of day-to-day affairs of the party. Speculations over his elevation gain traction.2017: Congress contests UP Assembly elections under his leadership, forms alliance with the Samajwadi Party but wins only seven seats.2017: Rahul Gandhi mounts an intense campaign in Gujarat against the ruling BJP, appointed Congress President just before the conclusion of the polls.

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Rahul Gandhi likely to assume reins of Congress on December 16

Rahul Gandhi is likely to assume the reins of the Congress on December 16, marking a generational shift in the grand old party when his mother and its longest-serving president would formally hand over the baton to him.While pageantry would herald the dawn of a new era in the party which has ruled the country for over half-a-century since independence, the 47-year-old scion of the Nehru-Gandhi family will face the daunting task of restoring lost glory to the party whose fortunes have been dwindling in the recent past.Today, the party, which once controlled almost the entire country, has its governments in just five states and the Union Territory of Puducherry.The announcement of Rahul Gandhi’s elevation, however, is likely to be made tomorrow, the last date of withdrawal of nomination for the election of the Congress president which is a one horse race.Altogether 89 nominations received in his favour were found to be valid during scrutiny.The Congress’ Central Election Authority chairman Mullapally Ramachandran, and CEA members Madhusudan Mistry and Bhubaneswar Kalita will announce that Gandhi’s was the only nomination for the top job tomorrow.Also readGujarat Elections 2017 | PM Modi resorting to bhashan ka shasan, says Rahul GandhiRahul Gandhi would, however, be handed over the certificate appointing him the party president on December 16 in the presence of Sonia Gandhi and other senior leaders, Ramachandran said.Sonia Gandhi will officially hand over the mantle of the 132-year-old party to her son around 11 AM after which Rahul Gandhi will meet leaders from across the country at the Congress’s headquarters, party sources said.The Congress has been losing state after state since the 2014 Lok Sabha election with the exception of Punjab.Rahul Gandhi’s elevation would come just two days ahead of the counting of votes for the Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh Assembly poll.A sure-footed Rahul Gandhi powered a spirited campaign for the Congress in Gujarat, and a win in the election, which many analysts say could be dead heat between the two parties, would come as a massive boost for him.Also readOnly Rahulji can be Cong President: Party leader Ayub Ali claims his application for post was rejected”Delivering in Gujarat will be important as it is the immediate test facing Rahul Gandhi, who has mounted a strong anti-BJP campaign in the state and led personally from the front. We are looking at victory in Gujarat,” said a Congress leader and former chief minister. Mahila Congress chief and party spokesperson Sushmita Dev said reorganising the party would be another major task for him.”Every post comes with a challenge. He has to rebuild the party at the grassroots and strengthen the ideological base.His undisputed election as party president is a sign of his strength. He will have to take everyone along from the AICC level right up to the states,” she told PTI.Striking a balance between the old guard and the young leaders would be a key to running the organisation which has many seasoned politicians whose wisdom he could use as he steers the party.Gandhi had said in the past that he would draw upon a blend of experience of the old and the energy of the young.”Initial signs are encouraging since he put veterans like Ashok Gehlot and Sushil Kumar Shinde in charge of elections in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh respectively and was willing to bank on them,” said a leader. He also got appointed young leaders as secretaries.Clarity on the party’s ideological stand on the issue of Hindutva would also be important as he is being seen as projecting the Congress’s soft Hindutva with his visit to temples in Gujarat. He has also proclaimed himself a “Shiv bhakt”.These visits are also being seen as an attempt to blunt the BJP’s accusation against the party of Muslim appeasement.”This is to course-correct after it was felt that an overtly pro-minority image of the Congress undermined its electoral prospects on the eve of 2014 Lok Sabha elections,” a party veteran noted, adding cobbling together electoral alliances will also be key to the future growth of the party.Another former union minister said every state had its own set of challenges and Gandhi would be expected to take informed decisions in each by taking everyone along.Gandhi has already been taking all major decisions in the party even though his formal elevation was delayed due to a long-drawn internal election process.The deadline set by the Election Commission for conclusion of the organisational elections in the Congress expires on December 31.Organisational elections in the Congress were due in 2015. The party constitution provides for elections to be held every five years. The last such polls were held in 2010.Rahul Gandhi, who was initially hesitant about taking over the reins from Sonia Gandhi, who held the party s top post for 19 years, will be the sixth member and fifth generation leader of the Nehru-Gandhi clan to occupy the post.These include Motilal Nehru, Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi, Sonia Gandhi and now Rahul Gandhi.Some eminent leaders who held the post in the pre- independence era included Mahatma Gandhi, Subhas Chandra Bose, Abul Kalam Azad, Vallabhai Patel and Rajendra Prasad.Eminent people like Madan Mohan Malviya, Gopal Krishna Gokhale, Dadabhai Naoroji, Annie Besant and Womesh Chandra Bonnerjee, the first party president, also led the party in the pre-independence era.

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On Sonia’s 71st birthday, Congress leaders throng her residence to greet her

Congress President Sonia Gandhi, who is set to handle over the party’s mantle to her son Rahul Gandhi after steering it for 19 years, today turned 71 and party leaders and workers thronged her residence to greet her on her birthday.Gandhi also met a number of leaders including former prime minister Manmohan Singh, and accepted their greetings.Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad, Congress leader in Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge and several former chief ministers and officer bearers also greeted Gandhi.Congressmen gathered outside Sonia Gandhi’s 10 Janpath residence since morning and celebrated her birthday by dancing to the beats of drums. Many carried posters and placards wishing Sonia Gandhi.Former Uttarakhand chief minister Harish Rawat tried his hands at the drums as folk dancers performed outside Gandhi’s house.Also readGujarat elections 2017: Touched by gift for Mom, Rahul gets Sonia to talk to temple trusteeFormer chief ministers Sheila Dikshit, Bhupinder Singh Hooda, former Union ministers including Anand Sharma, Jyotiraditya Scindia and RPN Singh, and party general secretaries including Janardan Dwivedi, Ambika Soni and Mohan Prakash were also present.Prime Minister Narendra Modi also wished Gandhi with a tweet, saying “Birthday greetings to Congress President Smt Sonia Gandhi. I pray for her long life and good health. Many Congress leaders also wished her with bouquets.Also readPM Narendra Modi wishes Sonia Gandhi on her birthday”I extend my warm birthday greetings to Congress President Smt Sonia Gandhi ji. Wish her a healthy, happy and long life, said Ashok Gehlot, party s general secretary incharge of Gujarat.Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan also greeted Gandhi, saying, Warm birthday greetings to Congress President Sonia Gandhi ji. On the occasion of your birthday, I wish for your good health and long life.”Sonia Gandhi was born on December 9, 1946 in Lusiana, Vicenza in Italy.She has held the post of Congress President since 1998 and has been a Lok Sabha MP since 1999. She is all set to hand over the party’s reins to Rahul Gandhi.

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Gujarat elections 2017: Touched by gift for Mom, Rahul gets Sonia to talk to temple trustee

Sardarsinh Parmar, the trustee of Mokal Dhaam temple in Ranesar in Bavla, was all ready to welcome Congress scion Rahul Gandhi on Friday.What he was not prepared for was a short but brief conversation with Congress president Sonia Gandhi. Rahul visited the temple, which is adjacent to the ground where he addressed a rally.Parmar said Rahul made him talk with Sonia when he gifted a chundadi (cermonial decorative scarf that is usually offered to the Goddess) and bediyo (ceremonial anklet) to Rahul. “I offered it to Rahul as gifts for his mother and sister. We hoped that the goddess would shower her with good health,” said Parmar.He said he was surprised when Rahul immediately called up his mom and made her talk to him. ” I wasn’t expecting this. Soniaji thanked me for the gifts. The call got disconnected once but he rang her up again to continue the conversation,”said Parmar.

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Gujarat elections 2017: Congress has always abused me, they do not respect democracy, says PM Modi

In a public rally at Nikol in Ahmedabad on Friday, PM Narendra Modi said that Congress leaders never gave up on any chance to abuse him throughout his political career. Modi was in the Patel bastion in Ahmedabad, where he tried to woo the community walking against the odds of reservation agitation effect.The Patel community is up in arms against the BJP-led Gujarat government following three deaths that took place in this area in an open police firing. However, the huge turnout of around 70,000 people was an indication for the Opposition, which is playing big on the Patel agitation in these polls.Modi said, “Leaders of Congress used lowly language and abusive words for me and my only offense is that I am the PM despite being the son of a chaiwala and a poor mother. They do not tolerate me because I come from a poor background. Rahul Gandhi, Sonia Gandhi and others abused me because I served Gujarat relentlessly and with dedication and now became the PM. They called me, saanp, bichchu, chaiwala, gandi nali Ka keeda, pagal kutta, napusank, Aurangzeb, mentally retarded, Raavan, Yamraj, Bhasmasur and what not. This is only 10 per cent of the total account, otherwise they have cursed me in many other slangs that cannot be spoken about in public.””Had they cursed you once, would you forgive them? If not, think of what atrocities I have tolerated. I would tell Congress leaders and especially Rahul Gandhiji, if the Congress has any limit, decency or respect for the democracy, please stop testing our patience and level of courtesy. Other states have showed Congress the exit in polls, and Gujarat cannot accept them again. I am confident that Gujarat won’t make such a mistake and stop such forces entering Gujarat. You all should give them an apt reply by voting for BJP candidates,” Modi added.The PM took a dig at Congress leaders like Rahul Gandhi, Sonia Gandhi, Mani Shankar Aiyar, Ghulam Nabi Azad, P Chidambaram, Jairam Ramesh, Digvijay Singh, Renuka Chaudhary, Manish Tiwari, Anand Sharma, Rashid Alvi, Imran Masood and Pramod Tiwari for using improper language against him. The Prime Minister also said, “I maintained silence, ignored such words and tolerated them with patience, but I have to express my feelings with pain because they have opened this chapter in polls. I can express my feelings before the people who are mine and you all are my own family.”Police becomes cautious in Patel’s fortThe area where Modi addressed a rally is highly dominated by the Patel community. People from Nikol, Naroda, Vatva, Bapunagar, Thakkarbapa Nagar, Saraspur, Vastral, Odhav, Amraiwadi, Asarwa, Maninagar and Amraiwadi turned out here. Amid the tense atmosphere ahead of polls, the police became cautious. The police made all people attending the rally keep off all the black objects they carried along with. Those who had black clothes were not allowed to be inside the ground.

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Moved by Mokal Dhaam Temple trustee’s gift for his mother, Rahul Gandhi immediately calls up Sonia

Sardarsinh Parmar, the trustee of Mokal Dhaam Temple in Ranesar in Bavla was all ready to welcome Congress scion Rahul Gandhi on Friday. What he was not prepared for was a short but brief conversation with Congress president Sonia Gandhi.Rahul visited the temple, which is adjacent to the ground where he addressed a public rally on Friday.Parmar said Rahul made him talk with Sonia when he gifted a chundadi (ceremonial decorative scarf that is usually offered to the Goddess) and bediyo (ceremonial anklet) to Rahul. “I offered it to Rahul as a gift for his mother and sister. We hoped that the goddess would shower her with good health,” said Parmar.He said he was surprised when Rahul immediately called up his mother and made her talk to him. ” I wasn’t expecting this. Soniaji thanked me for the gifts. In between the call got disconnected but he rang her up again to continue the conversation,” Parmar said.Also readRahul Gandhi listed as non-Hindu in Somnath Temple register, Congress blames BJPParmar said the conversation lasted for just a few minutes.

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Rahul Gandhi had said no personal attacks on PM Modi

Today, when former Union Minister and Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar made derogatory remarks against Prime Minister Narendra Modi, he didn’t just embarrass his party. In making the comments, he also vilolated the Congress’s diktat to its leaders not to make “any personal comment” against Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the ongoing Gujarat Assembly election campaign.Sources told DNA that while devising the strategy for the Gujarat campaign, Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi had issued instructions to senior party leaders to ensure that no personal attacks were made against the Prime Minister. This, sources said, was also due to the fear of Modi’s capacity to use such personal attacks on him to his own and the BJP’s advantage and, thereby, reap electoral benefits in his home state.Sources said another reason for Rahul not agreeing to personal attacks on the PM was his “personal conviction” not to bring the level of discourse down — at least from the Congess’s side.A senior Congress leader disclosed that, following Rahul’s decision, written instructions were also circulated among senior leaders, asking them, spokespersons and party’s social media team to refrain from making any personnel remark against the PM and instead focus on his governance, “falsehoods” and failure to deliver promises.It was decided to place evidence to persuade the people not to treat the PM with kid-gloves. The daily question being posed by Rahul to the Prime Minister, none of which has been answered so far, was part of this strategy to hit Brand Modi.At a rally at Mehsana in Gujarat, Rahul also asked Modi to clarify if he had accepted any money from Sahara and Aditya Birla groups as Chief Minister, as alleged in papers signed by the Income Tax officials.”Considering the dignity of the Prime Minister’s post, it was decided that no such statement should be made against him. Rahul also asked Congress leaders to desist from making any remark which could tarnish party’s image,” asserted Congress general secretary and incharge of Gujarat Ashok Gehlot.The bitter experience of Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s description of Modi as “Maut Ka Saudagar” and “Zaher ki Kheti” during the 2007 Gujarat elections backfiring after being used by Modi to his advantage had also made the Congress toe a different line now.Similarly ahead of Lok Sabha polls in 2014, Aiyar’s jibe asking Modi to sell tea at the ongoing All India Congress Committee (AICC) session had been lapped up by grateful BJP campaign managers.They galvanised their cadres to organise “chai pa charcha” programmes all over country, thus projecting elections as a fight between elite Congress leaders and a humble person.Just ahead of this year’s UP elections, Rahul had himself waded into muddy waters by charging the Prime Minister with indulging in “khoon ki dalali”, a reference to Modi citing the surgical strikes by Indian soldiers on Pakistani camps as an achievement of his government.In the midst of the UP campaign, party’s Saharanpur candidate Imran Masood had threatened to cut Modi into pieces. This tirade gave the BJP a plank to openly take up the issue with the electorate.While Rahul was quick to ask Aiyar to apologise for his comments, Congress leaders point to the “crude” language being used by some BJP leaders against the Congress leadership.Incidentally, during the 2004 Lok Sabha polls, then Information and Broadcasting Minister Pramod Mahajan had compared Sonia Gandhi to Monica Lewinsky at a public rally. But, he was immediately reprimanded by then Prime Minister AB Vajpayee, who even asked him to fly to Delhi to organise a press conference and personally apologise to Sonia Gandhi.
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Rajasthan: Congress loses opportunity to attack 4-year BJP rule in Rahul Gandhi’s euphoria

It’s a rare occasion. Both Congress and BJP are celebrating. BJP is rejoicing its four year-rule in Rajasthan while opposition Congress is cheering the annexation of Rahul Gandhi as the next President. Incidentally, Rahul is likely take over from his mother Sonia Gandhi on December 11, two days before Raje government completes its 4 years on December 13. Congress has lost an important agenda of opposing BJP in the euphoria of junior Gandhi’s coronation.With Congress in a celebratory mode, BJP is not likely face any resistance from opposition when they celebrate government’s achievements. It suits well for the ruling party but for Congress it may harm their prospects. The next year being the election year, Congress has little time to highlight failure of the government (if any). BJP, on the other hand, will go all out to impress people with their 4 year-record.”Performance of Congress as an effective has been lacklustre. It’s the right opportunity to corner BJP over their non performance in last 4 years. But again Congress has some thing other important than attracting the public attention,” said Rakesh Sharma, a political observer.The BJP is highlighting its achievements department wise. Ministers and bureaucrats of respective departments are coming out with their progress cards and thumping their success. The party has strategically spread out the report card so that there is no overlapping in the public memory.”Unlike Congress, BJP has taken it very seriously. We are trying to reach out to public and convey them that the government has touched everyone’s life. We are getting very good response from public and media,” said a senior BJP leader.The celebrations of 4-year rule, which has been spread over around a fortnight twill culminate of December 13 – the date on which Raje had sworn in second time as chief minister in 2013. Congress has so far no answer to BJP’s blitzkrieg. It doesn’t have any strategical campaign to ridicule claims of development that BJP is chanting.”It will be little too late for Congress when it come out of Rahul Gandhi’s coronation hangover. Rather than seizing the opportunity to dispute BJP’s achievements, partymen are celebrating for a reason which looks as natural as a succession of any Prince to throne,” said a senior Congress leader.
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Rahul Gandhi only valid candidate in fray for Congress President post, says Returning Officer

Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday took one step forward towards the formal process of being elevated as the Congress President. Returning Officer M Ramachandran after scrutiny of nomination papers have declared that the Gandhi scion is the lone valid candidate left in the fray. Infact he was the only one who had filed nomination for the post on Monday. The formal ratification that the process has gone through without any glitch was confirmed by the Returning Officer. On Monday, amidst much fanfare, Rahul filed papers at the Congress’s 24 Akbar Road headquarters in New Delhi. The party sought to project the election as democratic to counter the BJP’s charges of dynastic politics. The Congress had missed many deadlines and the Election Commission had asked it to conclude the election process by December 31. Sonia was the first to nominate her son. She signed the papers at her next door home. As many as 89 nominations were filed, all of them in favour of Rahul, signed by 890 delegates representing 30 state Congress units. Celebrations for Rahul’s coronation have been kept for December 28 to coincide it with the party’s foundation day. Also readHistory will judge Rahul Gandhi as ‘failed dynast’, says Himanta BiswaRahul first met former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and former President Pranab Mukherjee to seek their blessings and then went to the party office where he hugged senior party leaders Sheila Dikshit and Mohsina Kidwai. The party said that two more exercises — scrutiny of nominations on December 5 and withdrawal of nominations on December 11 – were still to be done. But Rahul’s elevation is a mere formality. The 47-year-old has been the Congress’s vice-president for almost five years. Sonia has been the party’s longest serving president. She has been leading the Congress for 19 years since 1998.
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Party time for young turks in the Grand Old Party

Young turks of Congress are waiting with bated breath as Vice President Rahul Gandhi readies for the much awaited elevation to helm the grand old party. Rajasthan state Congress chief Sachin Pilot and Guna MP Jyotiraditya Scindia (nephew of CM Vasundhara Raje), both believed to be close friends of Rahul Gandhi are likely to gain the most. Other bright young leaders of ‘Rahul gang’- RPN Singh, Ramya, Jitin Prasada and Milind Deora – too would be gainfully placed in the scheme of things.But all eyes will be on the turn of event in Rajasthan state Congress post Rahul’s coronation. The new Congress president may have to take a decision soon on leadership of Rajasthan state Congress before the state goes for polls. He will have to pick between his close aide and young party face Sachin Pilot and the tried and tested political acumen of former chief minister Ashok Gehlot who wields considerable clout cutting across the castes and community in Rajasthan. Keeping in mind Rahul’s new found chemistry with Ashok Gehlot in Gujarat, it will be one of the toughest calls for him.Sachin Pilot, who is at the helm in state for close to four years have mobilised the party and infused enthusiasm and new energy after the severe drubbing in the last assembly elections.Situation would have been easier for Rahul had Gehlot been not given the responsibility of Gujarat elections. The Gandhi scion is making ‘meaningful noise’ in his election campaign in Gujarat. His change in stand to include ‘Soft Hindutva’ in electoral strategy is countering BJP’s age-old stance on Hindu and Hindutva. And the credit for weaving the web goes to the old war horse Ashok Gehlot, who is believed to be close to his mother Sonia Gandhi. On his electoral campaign, Rahul, who is not known to back Gehlot, have gelled well with the old guard. The duo is now giving tough fight to incumbent BJP which is riding on the popularity of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Strategies and working style of Gehlot has impressed the young Gandhi and the former chief minister is back in the reckoning. While young faces are likely to get more prominence in the Congress’ organisational line-up post Rahul’s elevation, the old guard is unlikely to be dismissed entirely.“Most of the old timers are Sonia’s loyalists who have supported the family when Rahul was not in the political scene. It won’t be easy for him to complete ignore their contribution when Sonia Gandhi is believed to take up a ‘margdarshak’ role in the party,” says a senior Congress leader. This also looks certain as Congress posed its trust in old timers like Capt. Amarinder Singh in Punjab elections and later on Virbhadra Singh in Himachal despite the non-concurrence from its vice president Rahul Gandhi.
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89 nominations filed in favour of the Gandhi scion

Early on Monday morning, almost all prominent Congress leaders had assembled at the party’s 24, Akbar Road headquarters in a show of support as Rahul Gandhi finally applied for the Congress’s top job. Wearing a black Nehru jacket and sporting a saffron tilak, Rahul walked into the office of the 132-year old party at around 10 am, a little ahead of the schedule.Before filing his nominations, Rahul sought the blessings of former president Pranab Mukherjee and former prime minister Manmohan Singh, besides his mother, former Congress president Sonia Gandhi. As he filed his nominations after meeting party-workers inside the office, outside, on the lawns of the Grand Old Party’s headquarters, a bevy of the party’s leaders extended their support to the Gandhi scion.The first nomination form was filed by former PM Manmohan Singh and proposed by Sonia Gandhi, and other senior leaders such as Motilal Vora, Ahmed Patel, Mohsina Kidwai, Kamal Nath, Sheila Dikshit, Ashok Gehlot, Mukul Wasnik, Tarun Gogoi, and V Narayanasamy.The second nomination form was proposed by Manmohan Singh, Siddaramaiah, Oscar Fernandes, P Chidambaram, Sushilkumar Shinde, Jyotiraditya Scindia, T Subbarami Reddy, Jaipal Reddy, Mukul Sangma, and Anand Sharma. Three more forms were filed on behalf of Rahul by other senior leaders. These included Ghulam Nabi Azad, Mallikarjun Kharge, Ambika Soni, Amarinder Singh, Bhupinder Singh Hooda, CP Joshi, KC Venugopal, Salman Khurshid, Janardan Dwivedi, Shivraj Patil, Meira Kumar, Harish Rawat, Avinash Pande, and BK Hariprasad.Sonia Gandhi had received only 56 set of nominations on her behalf in comparison to Rahul’s 89.Party spokesperson Anand Sharma said that the time is right for the Gandhi scion as the country’s ruling party, the BJP, has failed to deliver and that there’s an “assault to democratic freedom” in the country. Punjab CM Captain Amarinder said that Rahul will make an excellent Prime Minister.Punjab minister Navjot Singh Sidhu said that Rahul is scripting the country’s history. “A leader is one who can convert his weaknesses into strength, obstacles into stepping stones and disasters into triumph. He has stood at the front and taken the barbs for all of us quietly,” said Sidhu.Senior leaders Ghulam Nabi Azad and Ambika Soni attacked the BJP over PM Modi mentioning deviant Congress leader Shehzad Poonawala in his speech at an election rally in Gujarat.”In Modi’s speech, there seemed to be no pivotal issue apart from the mention of this young man Shehzad Poonawala,” said Soni.Azad said that since the BJP had no history of its own, it was troubled by Congress’s rich past. “Before India’s Independence and after it, no family had given up so much for the country. Rahul Gandhi’s father and grandmother had given up their lives for the unity of this country. A lot of parties have problems with this fact, especially one particular party, which has no history to call its own, neither does its party workers,” he said.Throughout the day Akbar Road remained jam-packed with Youth Congress leaders readying firecrackers, drums, and sweets.
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Scion walks into waiting throne

Rahul Gandhi is set to be Congress president in place of his mother Sonia Gandhi as he filed his nomination for the post and the deadline for doing so expectedly ended on Monday without any challenger emerging.This concludes a year-long organisational election process and heralds a generational shift in the leadership of the 132-year-old party.Rahul filed papers at the Congress’s 24 Akbar Road headquarters here. The party sought to project the election as democratic to counter the BJP’s charges of dynastic politics.The Congress had missed many deadlines and the Election Commission had asked it to conclude the election process by December 31.Sonia was the first to nominate her son. She signed the papers at her next door home. As many as 89 nominations were filed, all of them in favour of Rahul, signed by 890 delegates representing 30 state Congress units.Celebrations for Rahul’s coronation have been kept for December 28 to coincide it with the party’s foundation day.Rahul first met former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and former President Pranab Mukherjee to seek their blessings and then went to the party office where he hugged senior party leaders Sheila Dikshit and Mohsina Kidwai.The party said that two more exercises — scrutiny of nominations on December 5 and withdrawal of nominations on December 11 – were still to be done. But Rahul’s elevation is a mere formality.The 47-year-old has been the Congress’s vice-president for almost five years. Sonia has been the party’s longest serving president. She has been leading the Congress for 19 years since 1998.Since early morning, almost all prominent Congress leaders had assembled at the party headquarters. Rahul held meetings with office bearers. Insiders said that he sat alone for 30 minutes before filing nominations.At about 11:04 am, the time selected by soothsayers as auspicious, he walked into a hall where nominations were to be filed.As per the party constitution, every nomination requires 10 elected delegates as proposers and seconders. The recently concluded organisational polls have elected 7,500 delegates, each representing a block from all over the country.While Akbar Road was jam-packed with party workers and leaders, the message from Rahul’s office was to keep celebrations sombre. Party office bearers were seen asking Youth Congress activists not to burn fire crackers.”Rahul ji has been the darling of the Congress… Rahul Gandhi will carry on the great traditions of the Congress party,” the normally taciturn Manmohan Singh told reporters.”We are very happy that Rahul Gandhi ji has filed his nomination… I am confident that Rahul will turn out a very successful leader. And under his leadership, the Congress will regain power,” Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha, Ghulam Nabi Azad, said.
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‘Pidhikaran’ of Congress is now complete: GVL Narasimha Rao mocks Rahul Gandhi

The BJP today played on the words “Pidhi” and “peedi” while dismissing the process for generational change in the Congress leadership as “Pidhikaran”, a reference to Rahul Gandhi’s dog.Neither the old “peedi” nor the new “peedi” matter in the opposition party, BJP spokesperson G V L Narasimha Rao said, using the Hindi word for generation to take a swipe at the process to elevate Rahul Gandhi from vice president to president of the Congress.In no organisation is a member promoted for repeatedly failing to perform, he said after the Gandhi scion filed his nomination papers to succeed his mother Sonia Gandhi as Congress president.”Pidhikaran of the Congress is now complete. Neither the old generation (PEEDI), nor the new generation matters. Only Pidhi matters,” Rao said in a statement.He termed the entire election process a “mockery of democratic traditions”. Also readDNA Edit- Rahul Gandhi’s elevation: A myth called ‘inner party democracy’ in India “The farcical election process and the sycophancy of all family faithful in hailing this process is a sad commentary on the grand old party.”It shows the Congress’s total disconnect with today’s India which values meritocracy and not imposition of dynasty,” he added.Also readRahul is Congress’ darling, will carry forward great traditions of party: Manmohan SinghThose who don’t defer to Rahul Gandhi’s pet run the risk of being ejected from their positions, Rao said in another jibe. It was a great fall for the party that had stalwarts leading it, he said.
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Rahul Gandhi will not be announced Congress president today. Here’s when is the D-Day

The ultimate ‘when’ of the Indian politics was actualised today when Rahul Gandhi filed his nominations for the president of Congress at party headquarters.But contrary to media reports, the final announcement will not be made on Monday, party sources told DNA.The internal election process has various steps and the Grand Old part will like to follow all of them.By 3 pm, the returning officer is likely to inform about the nominations. So far, no one has filed the nominations apart from Rahul Gandhi.On Tuesday, the nomination papers would be scrutinised.Also read’Promotion without performance’: Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi ‘congratulates’ Rahul GandhiHowever, the big announcement would be made on December 11. It is on this day that the 47-year-old would be declared the Congress boss.On December 28, which happens to be the Foundation Day of the Congress, Gandhi is likely to take over from his mother Sonia Gandhi.Also readRahul Gandhi files nomination for Congress President, party dismisses allegations of dynastic politics Congress president Sonia Gandhi, one of the leaders who proposed Rahul Gandhi’s name, was briefly present at the party headquarters.The Gandhi scion is likely to emerge as the lone candidate in the fray, clearing the decks for his elevation to the party’s top post, succeeding his mother, who has held the post for 19 years in a row. Also readShehzad Poonawalla questions Rahul elevationAmong those who proposed Rahul Gandhi’s name in the first set of nomination papers were Sonia Gandhi, Motilal Vora, Ahmed Patel, Mohsina Kidwai, Kamal Nath, Ashok Gehlot, Mukul Wasnik, Sheila Dikshit, Tarun Gogoi and Puducherry Chief Minister V Narayanaswamy.Party leaders Manmohan Singh, Oscar Fernandes, P Chidambaram, Sushil Kumar Shinde, Anand Sharma, Jyotiraditya Scindia, Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and his Meghalaya counterpart Mukul Sangma proposed his name in the second set of nomination papers.Today is the last date for filing nominations.No one else had filed papers till Sunday, said Mullapally Ramachandran, the chairman of the party’s Central Election Authority.(With PTI inputs)
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Rahul and Sonia Gandhi greet people on occasion of Milad-un-Nabi

Congress president Sonia Gandhi today greeted people on the occasion of Milad-un-Nabi, saying the teachings of Prophet Mohammad continued to guide mankind on the path of equality, brotherhood and compassion.Milad-un-Nabi marks the birthday of Prophet Mohammad and is commemorated in the third month in the Islamic calendar.”The teachings of the Prophet continue to guide the mankind on the path of equality, brotherhood and compassion.”May the festival of Milad-un-Nabi bring peace, prosperity and happiness to all,” she said.Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi also wished the people on the occasion, saying, “My best wishes to everyone on the auspicious occasion of Milad-un-Nabi. May we be guided by the spirit of compassion, peace and tolerance.”
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Chai-meme row: Congress says PM Modi is a ‘serial abuser’, BJP says PM ‘most abused since Independence’

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> The Congress today called Prime Minister Narendra Modi a “serial abuser” and the BJP “mother of crass statements”, drawing a strong rebuttal from the ruling party which insisted Modi was a “victim” of abuses.With political discourse often getting reduced to vituperative outburst, senior Congress leader Abhishek Singhvi targeted Modi and the BJP over it, and sought apology.”BJP is mother and producer of derogatory, insulting, foul language…the sheer brazenness with which BJP escapes any blame after indulging in crude, crass and coarse language is appalling…we demand the BJP apologise for lowering quality of public discourse,” Singhvi told reporters.Singhvi listed several cases where the prime minister allegedly made derogatory remarks by calling his predecessor Manmohan Singh a “night-watchman”, Congress president Sonia Gandhi a “jersey cow” and the party’s vice president Rahul Gandhi a “hybrid calf” in the past.Singhvi also said the prime minister recently called the Congress a “termite”. The BJP mounted a spirited counteroffensive with Union minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore insisting: “If somebody has been abused the most after independence, it is Narendra Modi. He is a victim.” He cited a host of “abusive” comments made by Congress leaders, including its president Sonia Gandhi and her deputy Rahul Gandhi, in the past to target Modi.Sonia Gandhi called Modi ‘maut ka saudagar’ (merchant of death), while her son accused him of ‘khoon ki dalali’ (broker of blood), Singh said, adding that Priyanka Gandhi had used the word ‘neech’ (despicable) against the prime minister. He also cited several others abusive comments made by Congress leaders to make his point.A bitter war of words broke out between the two parties after the Congress’ youth wing yesterday circulated a meme about Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘chaiwala’ past, provoking a backlash from the BJP, and prompting a red-faced Congress to distance from it.The meme that unleashed a political firestorm contained photograph of Modi, US president Donald Trump and British Prime Minister Theresa May engaged in a conversation.Modi is seen telling the two leaders about the opposition’s memes targeting him. He mispronounces the word as “mainmain”. Trump corrects him, saying the word is pronounced as “meem”, while May tells him to go and sell tea.

Remembering Congress leader Priya Ranjan Dasmunsi – the man who juggled politics and football with elan

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Priya Ranjan Dasmunsi, one of the most charismatic leaders of his time passed away on Monday afternoon. He was languishing in a coma since October 12, 2008. He was 72 years old. Affectionately, known as Priya-da in political circles, Dasmunsi cut his teeth in politics through students movements. He was born in 1945, in Chirirbander in Dinajpur East district, now in BangladeshIn 1970, Dasmunsi became the president of the state Youth Congress and a member of the All India Congress Committee (AICC) at the age of 25. He became MP in 1971, contesting from South Kolkata. In 1984, he won from Howrah seat . However he lost from there in 1989 and 1991. Overcoming his losing streak, Dasmunsi won consecutively thrice from ’96 to 2004. Though in the last two polls, he contested from Raigaunj. The West Bengal Congress leader was elected a member of the all-powerful Congress Working Committee in 1977 and was the Union Minister of State for Commerce from 1985 to 1989.He was also the West Bengal Congress chief in 1985. He was also head of AIFF for 19 years, when Indian football started taking nascent steps towards a professional setup. Known for his affable nature, Dasmunsi had friends across the aisle. His brightest moment in his political career was being appointed as Minister of Information and Broadcasting and Parliamentary Affairs in November 2005 after a brief stint as Union Cabinet minister for water resources.As I&B Minister, Dasmunsi attracted controversy over handling of the protests regarding Da Vinci Code. It was withheld certification by Dasmunsi before being showed to a representative of the Catholic community. The minister faced flak for it.(Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi consoles Dipa Dasmunsi, the wife of veteran Congress leader Priya Ranjan Dasmunsi-PTI)Apart from politics, Dasmunsi also took keen interest in sports and art and culture. He headed the All India Football Federation (AIFF) for 19 years, till he fell ill in 2008 and had been in hospital ever since. Under Dasmunsi, Indian football took the infant steps towards a professional set-up, which is in place now. Under him, the National Football League started in 1996 (which was rechristened I-League in 2007). Dasmunsi earned a rare distinction during his tenure when in 2006, FIFA named him the match commissioner for a group stage game between Australia and Croatia in the 2006 World Cup. Dasmunsi was also a member of the Asian Football Confederation’s Executive Committee.President Ram Nath Kovind, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Congress president Sonia Gandhi condoled the death of the former minister. “Sad to hear about the demise of former Union Minister and veteran political leader Priya Ranjan Dasmunsi. He contributed much to Bengal and to the administration of football in our country,” President Kovind said. Prime Minister Modi described him as a popular leader with rich political and administrative experience. “He did notable work to popularise football in India. Saddened by his demise. My thoughts are with Deepa Dasmunsi ji and family as well as his supporters,” Modi tweeted. Congress president Sonia Gandhi, in her message, termed his death an “irreparable loss” to the party.What set Dasmunsi apart from many of his contemporaries was the power to get his work done despite obstacles. He was politically cunning, a fierce fighter but never bitter about his politics. Dasmunsi’s wife Deepa has carried forward his political legacy working from Raigaunj. Congress may now be a marginal force in Bengal, but Priyaranjan Dasmunsi’s achievements will be remembered for a long time. With PTI inputs

On Indira Gandhi’s 100th birth anniversary, Rahul and Varun remember their Dadi

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>BJP MP Varun Gandhi today hailed his grandmother and Congress stalwart Indira Gandhi on her hundredth birth anniversary, calling her “a mother to this nation”.”‘Courage is the most important of all the virtues because without courage, you can’t practice any other virtue consistently’. To a lady that was a mother to this nation. Miss you Dadi…I know you always watch over us,” Varun Gandhi said in a tweet.He also tweeted a picture in which the former prime minister is seen holding him, then a small child, in her lap.Rahul Gandhi recalled his grandmother, whom he described as his mentor and guide.”I remember you Dadi with so much love and happiness. You are my mentor and guide. You give me strength. #Indira100,” he tweeted.Rich tributes were paid to former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi on her birth centenary today with former President Pranab Mukherjee leading the remembrances.Senior Congress leaders, including former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, party chief Sonia Gandhi and vice president Rahul Gandhi, also paid homage to the late leader.Mukherjee and Singh, besides Rahul Gandhi, paid floral tributes to her at her memorial, ‘Shakti Sthal’.”No one can erase Indiraji’s memory,” Mukherjee said at an event later at 1 Safdarjung Road, where Indira Gandhi was assassinated by her bodyguards on October 31, 1984. A photo exhibition has been organised there to mark her 100th birth anniversary.Sonia Gandhi said Indira Gandhi took pride in India’s rich diversity and its democratic and secular values.”She fought for secularism, against all those forces seeking to divide the Indian people on lines of religion and caste. For her as Prime Minister there was but one religion, a sacred creed passionately held– that all Indians were equal children of the motherland,” the Congress president said in her speech.Indira Gandhi also fought for India’s dignity and independence as a sovereign nation, against the dominance of superpowers, she said.”And not only for India, but for all countries that resisted colonial and post-colonial forms of hegemony,” Sonia Gandhi added.Rahul Gandhi recalled his grandmother, whom he described as his mentor and guide.”I remember you Dadi with so much love and happiness. You are my mentor and guide. You give me strength. #Indira100,” he tweeted.Congress communications incharge Randeep Surjewala said on Twitter that she worked tirelessly “to shape a new future” for the country.”…India first & India always. That was Indiraji! #Indira100,” he said on the micro-blogging site.Often described as the ‘Iron Lady of India’, Gandhi was born on this day in 1917 in Uttar Pradesh’s Allahabad.

The lowdown on Congress’ plan to make Rahul Gandhi party president before Gujarat elections

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Rahul Gandhi could be made Congress President as early as in the first week of December with party’s apex decision making body—Congress Working Committee set to meet on Monday to take a call on the issue.The CWC meeting on November 20 takes place amid growing view in the party, particularly its young leaders to elevate, Gandhi to the top position at a time the party braces for a generational change in leadership after a gap of nearly 20 years and Congress President Sonia Gandhi under medical treatment for some years.Sonia Gandhi had become Congress President on March 14, 1998 and could have completed 20 years, a record of sort had she continued till March next year.
ALSO READ ‘Why no questions on PM Modi over Rafale deal,’ Rahul Gandhi asks media The agenda of the CWC meeting is to finalise the schedule for party President’s election. According to a tentative schedule sent by Congress Election Committee, nomination filing exercise could begin from November 21 and candidates can withdraw their names till December 1. The polls, if necessary, will be held on December 8 and counting could be carried out on December 11.Talking to reporters regarding CWC meeting, party general secretary (Organisation) Janardan Dwivedi said, that dates for election of Congress President will fixed on Monday.He said that if only one nomination is filed, Gandhi’s elevation can be announced on date of withdrawal of nominations since there is no other nomination for contesting the President’s post. This means that Rahul who is spearheading the party’s campaign in Gujarat assembly polls will be party President before polling begins in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s home turf on December 9. The elections are likely to go uncontested but if somebody files nomination, then the Congress Vice President’s elevation can take a few more days as formalities will to be completed and the result could be clear only after the last day of withdrawal of nominations.Up till now no Congress leader has dropped indications about contesting against Gandhi, though the Congress Vice President has been a strong votary of internal elections in the party from the top to the bottom rung.Elections for Congress President’s post have happened only twice post-independence- Sharad Pawar and Rajesh Pilot had filed nominations against incumbent President Sitaram Kesri in 1997 and lost badly. Later in 2001, senior Congress leader from Uttar Pradesh Jitendra Prasada filed his nomination for the top post against incumbent Sonia Gandhi and again he lost badly.With the Election Commission having set a deadline of December 31 for Congress to complete its organizational elections, the party was running short time. Quite recently the Chairman of Congress’ Central Election Authority Mullappally Ramchandran , who was looking after the party’s organizational polls, had written to Sonia Gandhi to convene CWC to announce the election schedule for the new Congress President early.The entire election schedule will be around a fortnight long. The CWC meeting begins the final action towards elevation of Rahul Gandhi the state Congress committees have already submitted resolutions to the leadership seeking Rahul Gandhi as new President.The Congress Vice President’s elevation has been in speculation for more than three years. When recently it became clear that Congress has finally decided on Rahul Gandhi’s Presidency, there was a view that he should be taking over as Party President only after November 19, the 100th birth anniversary of Indira Gandhi.Now the spotlight will on Sonia Gandhi’s next role at a time when Congress is trying to arrive at maximum possible Opposition unity and a number of Opposition leaders, having indicated their preference for Sonia remaining in the lead role for Opposition unity.There are speculations that she could continue to be Congress Parliamentary Party Chairman or UPA Chairperson, a post she earlier also held during the last two UPA alliances led by Congress. Gandhi had UPA Chiarperson on May 16, 2004.Rahul, a three term Lok Sabha MP from family pocket borough Amethi in Uttar Pradesh, became AICC general secretary in September 2007, before he was elevated as Congress Vice President on January 19, 2013.Rahul (47) also mentored Youth Congress and party’s student wing NSUI as AICC general secretary in-charge.

Rahul Gandhi to be elevated as Congress President by December 5, Sonia calls CWC meeting on Monday

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Rahul Gandhi is set to be anointed as Congress president before Gujarat elections. Congress President Sonia Gandhi has called a crucial meeting of the Congress Working Committee on November 20 at 10.30 am.Sources in the Congress Party confirmed that the meeting has been called to finalise the schedule of the organizational elections of the Congress Party.Sources also said that Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi would be elevated as the President of the Congress before 5th of December. Sources also said that the elevation is not going to be delayed any further.The CWC is expected to adopt the resolution to make Rahul Gandhi as President on Monday which would subsequently be ratified by the All India Congress Committee later.As per the rules of the Congress constitution the final ratification has to be done by the AICC. Sonia Gandhi’s elevation as the President by CWC was challenged by Jitendra Prasad which led to an election.Earlier there were speculations that Rahul Gandhi’s elevation has been put off but the sources inside Congress confirmed that no such decision had been taken.The CWC can also expect to look in the Gujarat elections but it would be peripheral. It is for this reason that agenda of the CWC has been kept open. Sonia Gandhi had been the longest serving President of the grand old Congress Party. She assumed office in 1998 and continued since then.

Congress to hold on to list for longer

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Congress is likely to hold back on announcing its list for Gujarat Assembly polls for a few more days till there is clarity on its on-going talks with Patidar leaders led by Hardik Patel even as Central Election Committee of Congress chaired by party chief Sonia Gandhi held deliberations for the second time on Friday.Sources said that a group of leaders from Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti met Sonia Gandhi’s political secretary Ahmed Patel and AICC in-charge for Gujarat Ashok Gehlot separately.Emerging from the CEC meeting, Gehlot told reporters that a discussion had been completed on almost all the seats but the list of candidates will be released in a day or two as talks on an alliance with Sharad Pawar’s NCP and JDU were also going on.”All the 182 seats may have been discussed but we will have to leave our claim on some seats when the alliance happens,” he said adding that both JDU and NCP want to have an alliance with Congress and vice versa.On a day when the Election Commission recognised Nitish Kumar’s JD-U as the party and allotted the arrow symbol to it, Gehlot said that that it has now split into two and Congress is talking to Sharad Yadav regarding the alliance with Chhotu Bhaavi Vasava led party in Gujarat.”We are also talking to NCP and when the discussions are complete, we will release our list,” he said.NCP had in the high pitched Rajya Sabha polls in Gujarat a few months had sided with BJP. Both its MLAs in Gujarat had voted for the BJP and Ahmed Patel could emerge victorious only after Vasava’s vote in its favour and Election Commission declaring two other votes null and void.PAAS leader Hardik Patel has met senior leader of NCP Praful Patel a number of times in recent days, fueling speculations.Gujarat goes to poll in two phases on December 9 and December 14. The election result will be declared on December 18. In first phase 89 of 182 seats will go to polls and the party is keen to declare candidates all the 89 seats at least on November 16.

How Sonia Gandhi tried to protect Tehelka

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A letter written by Congress President Sonia Gandhi to then Finance Minister P Chidambaram in 2004 surfaced on Monday. It asked him to look into the allegations of harassment of financers of ‘Tehelka’, a news portal that shot to fame with a sting operation on defence deals when the NDA was in power.The letter dated September 25, 2004, said that directors of First Global alleged harassment by some agencies under the Finance Ministry.”I have been informed that this matter has already been discussed in a high-level meeting and certain corrective measures have been agreed to. I would like you to look into these issues on priority in order to ensure that no unfair and unjust treatment is meted out to these petitioners,” the letter said.”My noting on the letter is correct. I am certain that, on behalf of the ministry, I would have sent a reply based on the material put up to me,” Chidambaram told a news agency.The letter of Mrs Gandhi and my reply should be read together. I suggest that the media may ask the government to release the reply to the letter,” Chidambaram said.’Tehelka’ magazine had “exposed” alleged corruption in defence deals during the Atal Bihari Vajpayee-led NDA government which later resulted in the resignation of then defence minister George Fernandes.The then BJP president, Bangaru Laxman, who was caught on camera taking money, was convicted later.Following the expose, a number of cases were registered against promoters of First Global, Devina Mehra and Shankar Sharma, by various investigation agencies. When the UPA government assumed office in 2004, Mehra and Sharma wrote a letter to Gandhi, who was the chairperson of the National Advisory Council with the rank of a Union minister, alleging that persecution by the agencies was continuing even then and sought redressal.Appending First Global’s letter, Gandhi on her official letterhead wrote to Chidambaram asking him to look into the issue on “priority” in order to ensure that “no unfair and unjust” treatment is meted out in the case.(with PTI inputs)The letterDear Shri Chidambaram,I am enclosing a copy of a letter written to me by Directors of First Global regarding alleged harassment by some of the agencies under the Finance Ministry. I have been informed that this matter has already been discussed in a high-level meeting and certain corrective measures have been agreed to. I would like you to look into these issues on priority in order to ensure that no unfair and unjust treatment is meted out to the petitioners.With good wishes, Yours sincerely, Sonia Gandhi

In Raebareli, Rahul Gandhi consoles NTPC blast victims, says ‘main, meri maa aapke saath hain’

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Cutting short his crucial ‘Navsarjan Yatra’ in poll-bound Gujarat, Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi today visited Rae Bareli to offer condolences to the victims of NTPC boiler blast.Gandhi rushed to his mother Sonia Gandhi’s parliamentary constituency in morning and visited the site.Striking an emotional chord, the Congress leader consoled victims crying outside the morgue and said, “Main, meri maa, mera parivaar aur pura desh aapke ke saath iss dukh ki ghari mein khada hain (me, my mother, family and entire nation is with you in this moment crisis).”He said that the central and state relief given to the workers was not enough.Giving credence to workers’ allegation that the boiler explosion was due to negligence of the NTPC officials, he demanded a judicial inquiry into the blast and government jobs for the dependants of those killed in it.After reaching Rae Bareli, Gandhi first went to the mortuary where dead bodies were kept awaiting autopsy. He consoled wailing wives, parents, children and relatives of those killed in the tragedy. He also spoke to doctors and urged them to perform the post mortem at the earliest and hand over bodies for cremation.Before anyone could point out, the Congress Vice President himself clarified that his mother was unwell and so he rushed Raebareli. He also told them that his sister, who look after mother Sonia’s constituency, will also come to share their grief.The Congress vice-president then visited Rae Bareli district hospital and other private hospitals and personally inquired about the condition of those admitted there. Since majority of seriously burnt patients were already shifted to Lucknow, he met each of them in person and wished their speedy recovery.Later, he visited the blast site at NTPC Unchahaar Thermal Power Plant. His visit coincided with that of Union Energy minister RK Singh and State Energy Minister Srikant Sharma. Both leaders were seen talking briefly about the tragedy. Singh is reported to have assured Gandhi of best possible help to victims.Rs 20 lakh compensationMeanwhile, Union Minister Singh has formed a high-powered inquiry committee, headed by NTPC Director Technical, to probe the massive explosion at its Unchahaar Thermal Power Plant.Accompanied with State Energy Minister Srikant Sharma, Singh who rushed to Unchahaar on Thursday afternoon announced that the committee will submit its report within 30 days.“We will come to some conclusion about causes of the blast only after the investigation is completed and report submitted by the committee,” said Singh.The Union Energy Minister also announced a compensation of Rs 20 lakh by the Central government to the families of those killed in the tragedy.He further said Rs 10 lakhs would be paid to seriously injured and Rs 5 lakhs to those injured. In addition to the compensation, government will also offer a job to dependants of those who are permanently disabled in the blast, he added.

‘Ma is much better, nothing to worry’, tweets Rahul after Sonia Gandhi hospitalised

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi said that party President and his mother Sonia Gandhi was much better and there was nothing to worry.Sonia Gandhi, who was on a visit to Shimla, was on Friday rushed back to the national capital and admitted to the Sir Ganga Ram Hospital after she complained of stomach upset.”Ma was in Shimla and caught a stomach bug so we got her back,” Rahul said in a tweet.He added that there was nothing to worry, “Ma is much better. Thanks for the tremendous love and concern.”DS Rana, Chairman (Board of Management) of the hospital said that Gandhi, 70, is under observation.”Sonia Gandhi was brought to the hospital at 5 PM on Friday. She has been found to be suffering from stomach upset and has been admitted for observation,” said Rana in a statement.A team of doctors from the hospital was deputed to bring her back from Shimla.

Subramanian Swamy writes to PM, says corruption cases delayed, CBI should be hold accountable

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>BJP MP Subramanian Swamy has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, alleging “inordinate delay” in taking several corruption cases to the “logical end” and said that the CBI should be held accountable.”The nation is grateful to your re-affirmation of fighting (sic) against corruption and bringing to book the corrupt, especially those at the high levels. “In this connection, I wish to draw your attention to the inordinate delay in prosecuting to the logical end all prima facie proved corruption cases by the CBI,” Swamy said in his letter to Modi.He then went on to name some cases like Aircel-Maxis, Saradha chit fund scam, Agusta Westland deal and land deals related to Robert Vadra, son-in-law of Congress president Sonia Gandhi. “The PMO, while cannot direct the CBI, nevertheless can hold the CBI accountable under the Constitution for the expenditure the CBI incurs from the consolidated fund of India,” he wrote.

Pranab Mukherjee had every right to feel grievance, was better qualified to be PM: Manmohan Singh

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>On Friday, former PM Manmohan Singh broke silence on being picked as Prime Minister ahead of his colleague and former President – Pranab Mukherjee. Speaking at the book launch of the former president he called Pranab Mukherjee the ‘one of the greatest politicians living in our country’.He was quoted saying by ANI: “Pranab Mukherjee is a politician by choice and he is one of the greatest politicians living in our country. I became a politician by accident when PV Narasimha Rao invited me to become Finance Minister.”He added: “In 2004, Sonia ji chose me to be the Prime Minister. Pranab ji was the most distinguished colleague that I had. He had every reason to feel a grievance that he was better qualified than I was to be PM but he also knew I had no choice in matter.” Many though that Sonia Gandhi would pick Pranab Mukherjee to lead the UPA as PM.Manmohan Singh was speaking at the launch of Pranab Mukherjee’s book The Coalition Years: 1996-2012.”Mukherjee wrote in his book that after the 2004 election victory there was intense speculation in the party about who would be the prime minister, but the consensus within the Congress was that the incumbent should be a political leader with experience in party affairs and administration.”The prevalent expectation was that I would be the next choice for prime minister after Sonia Gandhi declined. This expectation was possibly based on the fact that I had extensive experience in government,” he wrote.Mukherjee also said that when he declined to join the government headed by Manmohan Singh, Sonia insisted on his being a part of it as he would be “vital to its functioning and also be of support of Singh”.Mukherjee, in his speech at the book release function, decribed the Congress as a coalition in itself, as it brings all ideas on one platform.”It was difficult to have one coalition within and another outside. But that was done,” he said.Mukherjee said in the book he has described the coalition years and tried not to bring in any personal matters. He said running the coalition government seemed difficult but everything worked out smoothly.Mukherjee said in writing the book about the coalition years of 1996 to 2012, he did not claim the objectivity of a historian, which he is not, but put down things while viewing them as a political activist.Singh said with their relation smoothened, they ran the government as a cohesive team. He said history would record Mukherjee’s great contribution to the management of Indian polity.The former prime minister described Mukherjee as the “most distinguished living parliamentarian and Congressman”, whom everyone in the party looked up to for discussing and resolving ticklish and difficult issues.”He is a politician by choice. He is the greatest politician living in the country. I became a politician by accident when P V Narasimha Rao asked me to become the finance minister,” he said.Singh described Mukherjee and NCP chief Sharad Pawar as respected senior members of his government both of whom were of great calibre. He said if the UPA government ran smoothly, a large measure of credit would go to Pranab Mukherjee.While Sonia Gandhi and Rahul did not speak nor sit on the dais, a number of leaders including CPI-M general secretary Sitaram Yechury, CPI Secretary Sudhakar Reddy, SP leader Akhilesh Yadav and DMK leader Kanimozhi spoke.Akhilesh Yadav, in his brief speech, said Mukherjee’s book would come in handy for young politicians like him when elections are due just like good notes ahead of exams.He also said people look forward to another coalition as elections draw closer. Akhilesh, who was recently re- elected the SP president, said people earlier dealt with his father Mulayam Singh Yadav but would now deal with him.Yechury said Pranab Mukherjee has an “elephant-like memory”, remark that prompted Sonia Gandhi to quip he had the memory of “two elephants”.

Seven drown during Durga idol immersion

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Seven people have been feared drowned in different parts of the during the Durga Idol immersion on Saturday evening. Rescue operations continued till late in the night as out of seven, only six bodies could be recovered so far.According to fire officials, a call was received from North-East Delhi’s Sonia Vihar area where a 13-year-old boy Himanshu who was participating in the idol immersion, along with his friends, drowned. Locals revealed that the child’s foot slipped while he was playing near the water body.Along with Himanshu, a friend of his drowned as well, and divers managed to recover the two bodies. In Palla village in Outer Delhi, a group of youths who had gone to participate in the idol immersions entered the river and were soon swept away into the water.Out of the group, six were swept away and two of them swam to safety. The fire department who received a call around 5 pm swung into action. Divers successfully managed to recover three bodies, all in the age group of 12-17. Rescue operations are still underway to hunt for the fourth missing body.Meanwhile, another body of a girl was recovered from Sonia Vihar area later in the evening.Police say that all the bodies are yet to be identified. Rescue operations are underway at all major Durga Puja immersion sites in order to check if any more people are feared dead.

Bodies of two women with their throats slit found in Wazirabad

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In a tragic incident, bodies of two women with their throats slit were found at their residence in Wazirabad area. The killings came to light early morning on Monday. Police suspect role of the husband of one of the deceased women behind the killings, as he is absconding. Police also ruled out any sexual assault but said medical reports are awaited.The deceased were identified as Premlata, 24, and her sister-in-law Sonia, 22. According to the police, their bodies were found lying in a pool of blood at Sonia’s residence in north Delhi’s Wazirabad, police said. The two women had multiple sharp stab injuries on their throats which the police suspects were either inflicted using ice prick or a needle-like thing.The brutal murder came to light when Sonia’s father called her early morning on Monday but no one answered his calls. He then asked the tenants in the building to check on Sonia. When the tenant went downstairs to check on the woman, he found both of them lying on the floor with their throats slit.Prima facie, senior police officers who visited the spot said that the house was not ransacked and the accused had made a friendly entry. They said, Premlata’s husband Mohit, who had also been staying with them and is Sonia’s cousin, is absconding since the killings came to light and therefore is the prime suspect in the case so far. Initial questioning also revealed that Mohit and Premlata had a fight late night on Sunday, which was also followed by a violent scuffle. Police suspects if the fight escalated to a level that Mohit, in a fit of rage killed his wife and when Sonia, his cousin sister, who also apparently intervened, was killed by Mohit.DCP north, Jatin Narwal said that a case has been registered and crime and forensics teams also visited the spot to collect crucial evidence. “CCTV footage from the vicinity are also being checked and the deceased women’s family and friends are being questioned to know more,” Narwal said.Police also said that Mohit’s phone was switched off. “He was seen in the house and locality last night. We are trying to reach to him as he can be one of the crucial links to the murder. Role of an outsider is also being probed,” a senior police officer said.Initial probe revealed that Sonia had recently undergone a surgery and Premlata and Mohit came to stay with her to take care of her.In April this year, severed body parts of a man were found at three different locations in north Delhi’s Timarpur in the early hours. The body parts were wrapped in sacks and plastic bags.

National Herald Case: Delhi court adjourns hearing till November 18

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The National Herald matter, involving Congress Party President Sonia Gandhi and vice president Rahul Gandhi, among others, filed by BJP MP Subramanian Swamy, has been adjourned by the Patiala Court on Saturday and will be next heard on November 18.The matter was listed for filing of reply by accused person on Swamy’s application.The newspaper gained limelight after the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader filed a case in 2012 against Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi, Congress treasurer Motilal Vora, party leaders Oscar Fernandes, Suman Dubey and Sam Pitroda.Earlier on July 1, Delhi court sought a reply from Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and other party leaders on Swamy’s plea.After which, as per reports, the Congress president and party vice-president filed their reply to the plea on July 22.Swamy, in his new application, sought documents from the Associated Journal Limited (AJL), including the copy of the ledger extract, bank statement filed with Registrar of Companies (ROC), minutes of the meeting in which the decision to convert the loan into share capital was taken, balance sheet, profit and loss account with Auditors Report in the year in which the loan was taken.In the case drawn since 2012, Swamy’s application alleged that the Congress granted an interest-free loan of Rs. 90.25 crore to Associated Journals Limited (AJL), owner of the National Herald newspaper.He also alleged that Congress did bungling in the loan and it was not repaid, and that Sonia and Rahul were made directors of a company – Young Indian – in November 2010, which acquired almost all the shareholding of the AJL and all its properties, reportedly worth Rs. 5,000 crore.​

Women’s Reservation Bill: Sonia Gandhi writes to PM Modi, govt sources say talks underway

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> The Modi government may introduce in Parliament the Women’s Reservation Bill, which seeks to reserve one-third of seats in the Lok Sabha and state assemblies for women.A senior BJP leader said top echelons of the government and the party have been brainstorming over the bill, which had polarised the political class whenever various governments introduced it earlier. Asked if the government will bring the bill in its original form or incorporate some changes, he said the matter is still being debated. On being asked if the bill will be introduced in the Winter Session, the leader, on condition of anonymity, said, “It may be introduced. But a final call has not been taken yet.”Congress president Sonia Gandhi had yesterday written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, urging him to introduce the bill passed in the Lok Sabha by taking advantage of the BJP’s majority in the House. BJP leaders claimed that Gandhi was doing politics over the matter and said the UPA government did not introduce the bill in the Lok Sabha as it could not overcome opposition from within its own ranks. The bill is unique in the way it has polarised opinions as despite getting public support from all major national parties, including the BJP, Congress and the Left, it has drawn fierce opposition from some regional outfits and MPs from backward classes.
ALSO READ Women Reservation Bill: Sonia Gandhi urges PM Narendra Modi to take advantage of majority in Lok SabhaMany OBC MPs cutting across party lines, including the BJP and the Congress, believe that such a law will give advantage to women from upper castes, who are better educated and more resourceful. Regional satraps like Lalu Prasad and Mulayam Singh Yadav have also opposed it bitterly, demanding reservation for OBCs and minorities within the quota for women and also that the quantum of reservation should be far less than 33.33 per cent.A strong view within the BJP is that if its government succeeds in getting this constitutional amendment bill passed in Parliament, then it can upend conventional political faultlines and boost its prospects ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha poll. Reservation for women in local bodies already exists and have brought about positive changes, another BJP leader said.The bill was first introduced by the the United Front government in 1996 and then the Vajpayee government tabled it a few times. However, it could never be passed in any of the two Houses on all these occasions. The prospects of its passage brightened when the UPA government tabled it in the Rajya Sabha in 2010 and managed to get it passed in the Upper House. However, reluctance from some of its allies and opposition from backward caste MPs from many parties meant that the Lok Sabha never took it up and it lapsed with the dissolution of the 15th Lok Sabha in 2009.

Sonia Gandhi’s full letter to PM Modi asking Lower House to pass Women’s Reservation Bill

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Congress president Sonia Gandhi has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, urging him to get the women’s reservation bill passed in the Lok Sabha by taking advantage of the BJP’s majority in the House. Gandhi assured him of her party’s support to the legislation, which she said would be a significant step forward in the empowerment of women. The Rajya Sabha had passed the bill on March 9, 2010.”I am writing to request you to take advantage of your majority in the Lok Sabha to now get the women’s reservation bill passed in the Lower House as well,” Gandhi said in the letter, dated September 20.Speaking to reporters, Congress women’s wing chief Sushmita Dev questioned the alleged delay by the government in ensuring the passage of the bill in the Lok Sabha.
ALSO READ Women’s Reservation Bill: Sonia Gandhi writes to PM Modi, govt sources say talks underway The ruling BJP should show that its commitment towards the legislation is not mere “symbolism”, she said. She asked Modi to assure the country’s women that the reservations would be implemented before 2019, when the next general elections will be held.In her letter, Gandhi recalled that the Congress and its late leader Rajiv Gandhi had first mooted the provision for quotas for women in panchayats and municipal bodies through Constitution amendment bills
ALSO READ After ‘suit boot ki sarkar’ and Rohith Vemula, economy is PM Narendra Modi’s third and biggest challengeRead the full letter below;Dear Prime Minister,You may recall that the Rajya Sabha had passed the Women’s Reservation Bill on March 9, 2010. Since then, however, it has languished in the Lok Sabha for one reason or another.I am writing to request you to take advantage of your majority in the Lok Sabha to now get the Women’s Reservation Bill passed in the Lower House as well. The Congress Party has always and will continue to support this legislation which will be a significant step forward in the empowerment of women. You may recall that it was, in fact, the Congress Party and its late leader Shri Rajiv Gandhi who first mooted the provision for reservation for women in panchayats and nagarpalikas in the Constitution Amendment Bills which the Opposition parties thwarted in the Rajya Sabha in 1989 but later were passed by both Houses of Parliament in 1993 becoming the 73rd and 74th Amendments.With Regards,Yours sincerely,Sonia Gandhi

Women Reservation Bill: Sonia Gandhi urges PM Narendra Modi to take advantage of majority in Lok Sabha

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Congress president Sonia Gandhi has urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to take advantage of his party’s majority in the Lower House of Parliament and pass the Women’s Reservation bill which aims to reserves a third of seats for women in Parliament and state legislatures. In a letter to PM Narendra Modi on Wednesday, Sonia Gandhi wrote: You may recall that the Rajya Sabha had passed the Women’s Reservation Bill on March 9, 2010. Since then, however, it has languished in the Lok Sabha for one reason or another. Sonia Gandhi has extended support for this legislation. Congress has released a press statement asking political parties to come together to get women’s reservation bills passed. “Times demand, that India must rise to this historical opportunity to ensure truly representative and participative role for 50% of India’s population in shaping her (India’s) destiny in the 21 st Century. Congress party had painstakingly made the efforts to pass Women Reservation Bill through Rajya Sabha yet it did not pass through Lok Sabha, on account of freshelections. Another opportunity lies with us to rise above political differences to revisit and passthis historical imperative”, the press statement reads. Here is the full text of the letter Sonia Gandhi wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi:Dear Prime Minister,You may recall that the Rajya Sabha had passed the Women’s Reservation Bill on March 9, 2010. Since then, however, it has languished in the Lok Sabha for one reason or another.I am writing to request you to take advantage of your majority in the Lok Sabha to now get the Women’s Reservation Bill passed in the Lower House as well. The Congress Party has always and will continue to support this legislation which will be a significant step forward in the empowerment of women. You may recall that it was, in fact, the Congress Party and its late leader Shri Rajiv Gandhi who first mooted the provision for reservation for women in panchayats and nagarpalikas in the Constitution Amendment Bills which the Opposition parties thwarted in the Rajya Sabha in 1989 but later were passed by both Houses of Parliament in 1993 becoming the 73rd and 74th Amendments.With Regards,Yours sincerely,Sonia Gandhi

A failed dynast talked about his failed political journey: Smriti Irani attacks Rahul Gandhi’s speech in US

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Bhartiya Janata Party on Tuesday attacked Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi over his comment on dynasty while addressing students at the University of California, and called him a failed leader.Hitting back at those who have accused him of reaping the benefits of ‘dynasty politics’, Rahul said that the entire nation is running on it and hence, one should not go only after him.”Most of the country runs like this. Akhilesh Yadav is a dynast. Stalin is a dynast. Dhumal’s son a dynast. Even Abhishek Bachchan is a dynast. Also Ambani. That’s how India runs. Don’t go after me,” he said responding to a question.However, Information and Broadcasting Minister Smriti Irani slammed his defense citing background of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, President Ram Nath Kovind and Vice President Venkaiah Naidu.Speaking about Rahul’s admission that arrogance was creeping in Congress in 2012, Irani said, “It must be the first incident in Indian politics where the Congress Vice President made a remark on Congress President at international level. Probably, he forgot that the Congress command was in the hands of her mother Sonia Gandhi.””Making remark that in Sonia Gandhi’s leadership congress became arrogance and hence lost the election is a big political confession,” Irani added.When Rahul said that – That’s how India runs – he forgot that in independent India there are many people who are giving contribution but have no political legacy. “Prime Minister comes from a small village, Vice President is from a family that comes from marginalised community. Vice President is a farmer’s son. The three people being at the top post is a signal that in a living democracy merit is important. A failed dynast talked about his failed political journeys in US,” Irani said in a scathing attack.Rahul Gandhi also criticised Narendra Modi’s economic policies, accusing him of causing ‘tremendous damage’ to India’s economy with ‘reckless and dangerous’ decisions like demonetisation and ‘hastily-applied’ GST.apparently referring to rights activist and journalist Gauri Lankesh’s killing, he said “The politics of polarisation has raised its ugly head in India,” he said, adding that liberal journalists are being shot.”People being lynched because they are Dalit. Muslims were killed on suspicion of eating beef. This is new in India and damages India very badly, he said”Gandhi also said the politics of hate divided and polarised India and was making millions of people feel that they have no future in their own country.

When Vivekananda called Khetri ruler his ‘only friend on earth’

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>As the nation paid homage to Swami Vivekananda on the occasion of the 125th year of his historic address at the World Parliament of Religions in Chicago, the copper town Khetri in Jhunjhunu district too has reasons for celebrations. The trip to United States by the Swami was made possible because of the financial help given by the Maharaja Ajit Singh of Khetri. It was the maharaja who provided the saffron robe and the turban to the Swami that became his trademark attire.The district administration of Jhunjhunu in 1999 had discovered 106-year-old rare letters written by Swami Vivekananda to the then ruler of Khetri. Vivekananda lived in Jhunjhunu for a number of years at the invitation of the maharaja . The rare letters were found in the record room of the sub-divisional officer’s office. The record room was being cleaned on the eve of the visit of then collector Sudhansh Pant when the letters written by Swami Vivekananda were discovered by chance by a patwari. The village patwari (who keeps land records) brought the old letters to the notice of sub-divisional officer Ram Niwas Mehta who went through them and was surprised to know that they were written by Swami Vivekananda and Motilal Nehru.The letters, all of them in English, were handwritten by the Swami Vivekananda. They were written between February and December 1893.The letter which was a prized possession of the state government was presented to the Ramakrishna Mission at Belur in West Bengal on the suggestion made by the Congress President Sonia Gandhi to the then Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot in 2002. It was Sonia Gandhi,who presented these rare letters to the Ramakrishna Mission at Belur during a function.There are letters which are now displayed at the Mission’s museum at Belur in which the Swami appreciated the role of Khetri state in providing him help and patronage. The Swami has elaborately written about his experience in Chicago.Besides discovering the letters of Swami Vivekananda, letters written to the ruler of Khetri by Motilal Nehru, were also discovered. Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru’s mother, Swaroop Rani, belonged to Khetri and her father was in the service of the ruler.All these papers and letters, which belonged to the erstwhile princely state of Khetri, were transferred alongwith other papers to the Rajasthan government after its formation in 1949.During the residence of the Swamiji in America, the maharaja wrote him on March 4th, 1895, in which the maharaja gave heartfelt thanks of his state for his worthy representation of Hinduism at the Chicago Parliament of Religion.The Swami’s reply to the maharaja is also among the letters displayed at the Belur museum.There are letters written by the Swami to the maharaja where he demanded two tiger skins for the Belur Math and also help for his poor mother and brother in Calcutta and had requested for Rs 100 per month’s help for the family and help to build a house for the family in Kolkata.

Women’s Reservation Bill: The battle for 33%

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In the corridors of the Danish Parliament, a wall painting depicts a historic moment when women in that country were granted the right to vote in 1915. The artist has well captured the gloom on the faces of male politicians who had been resisting women’s suffrage, but mechanically thumped the desks at the passing of the legislation. Women in India did not toil for their enfranchisement. But in their arduous journey for a share in the country’s political system, they have been failed by a similar male resistance.Most of the main political parties (BJP, Congress and Left) with the exception of the socialists and caste-based parties (SP, BSP and RJD) are principally committed to the idea of providing 33 per cent reservation to women in the Lok Sabha and state Assemblies. But the opposition within means that the Women’s Reservation Bill, first introduced in 1996, is yet to see the light of the day. There is a palpable sense of insecurity. Many male politicians believe that the reservation would mean their bastion is gone, since being part of an elected office now involves money, muscle and political power.Since 1996, when the then HD Deve Gowda government tried to introduce the Bill, there has been high drama — marked by frayed tempers and war of words, and, sometimes, scuffles and snatching of papers from presiding officers and ministers, in Parliament — whenever governments tried to give women a voice in the highest seats of power. Outside, there have been protests, rallies, demonstrations and hunger strikes by several women’s groups.Prime Minister Narendra Modi has backed India’s most empowering legislation for women, but his BJP colleague, and now Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister, Yogi Adityanath argued, as an MP in 2014, against it. It must first be analysed that how much the quotas in gram sabhas and local bodies were impacting women’s primary role as mothers and wives, he had said. “Reservation is not the need of the hour, it is not required now, as there are other issues of national interests to discuss. It is a conspiracy on the part of Congress to divert attention from such issues and if BJP falls in this trap, it would be unfortunate,” he had said.The Congress takes credit for getting the Bill passed in the Rajya Sabha in 2010. Though its MPs refuse to come on record, fearing they could invite party president Sonia Gandhi’s wrath, they sing the same tune as the SP and the RJD, demanding quota within quota for minorities and other backward communities (OBCs). The Bill says the proposed two-thirds reservation will also apply to seats already reserved for scheduled caste (SC) and scheduled tribe (ST) candidates. But BSP chief Mayawati wants a separate and additional quota for SC and ST women, not disturbing the existing quota reserved for these categories.The JD(U) has changed its position, with its spokesperson KC Tyagi saying that his party will support once the government decides to bring the legislation in the Lok Sabha. But rebel party leader Sharad Yadav faults the Bill. He says he is not against women’s empowerment, but he did not and would not support the Bill in its present form. “The Bill must empower the poor and backward women,” he says. In June 1997 Yadav had asked, “Do you think these women with short hair can speak for women, for our women?”Being a Constitution Amendment Bill, it requires a special majority for its passage in each House i.e., a majority of the total membership of a House and by a majority of not less than two-thirds of the members of that House present and voting. Since 1996, the Bill has lapsed each time the House was dissolved and was later reintroduced by the government of the day. In 2010, the then UPA government adopted it in the Rajya Sabha to keep it alive on the legislative agenda as Bills introduced and passed by the Upper House do not lapse.Expecting trouble, Hansraj Bhardwaj, flanked by two women ministers, Kumari Selja and Ambika Soni, was seated in the middle row of the Treasury Benches. Two other women MPs, Jayanthi Natarajan and Alka Balram Kshatriya, stood guard, not allowing opposing MPs to get close. The BJP, the Left and some other parties came together with the ruling Congress to help pass the Bill.The media captured a rare moment of Congress’ Sonia Gandhi, BJP’s Sushma Swaraj and CPM’s Brinda Karat walking hand in hand, celebrating the “historic occasion”. It’s been six years, the Bill is yet to be introduced in the Lok Sabha.THE JOURNEY SO FAR1974
Report submitted to Ministry of Education and Social Welfare by a Committee on Status of Women in India. Recommends that seats be reserved for women in panchayats and municipal bodies
1993
73rd and 74th Constitutional Amendments reserve one-third of seats for women in panchayats and municipal bodies
Sep 12, 1996
Women’s Reservation Bill introduced in Lok Sabha by Deve Gowda govt
June 26, 1998
Bill reintroduced by NDA govt. It lapses as Lok Sabha is dissolved prematurely with Vajpayee govt being reduced to a minority
Nov 22, 1999
Bill again introduced by NDA govt. No consensus
2002-2004
NDA govt brings Bill twice in Lok Sabha, could not get it passed
May 6, 2008
UPA introduces Bill in Rajya Sabha
February 25, 2010
Union Cabinet approves Women’s Reservation Bill
March 9, 2010
Bill passed by Rajya Sabha with overwhelming majority. Is yet to be introduced in Lok Sabha

Priyanka Gandhi Vadra diagnosed with dengue, undergoing treatment at Delhi’s Ganga Ram Hospital

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Priyanka Gandhi Vadra is undergoing treatment at the Sir Ganga Ram Hospital in Delhi after being diagnosed with Dengue fever. According to reports, Congress President Sonia Gandhi’s daughter Priyanka was admitted to the hospital on August 23. Priyanka’s treatment is being monitored by chest medicine consultant Arup Basu. Priyanka Gandhi Vadra is recovering well, say agency reports. Delhi has recorded 657 cases of dengue so far – with 325 patients from Delhi and 332 from other states. The patients are being treated in Delhi hospitals.

Sonia Gandhi condoles death of former Manipur CM Keishing

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Congress President Sonia Gandhi condoled the demise of former Manipur chief minister Rishang Keishing, who passed away at the Regional Institute of Medical Sciences (RIMS) in Imphal, on Tuesday evening. The Congress president said that she was ?deeply saddened by the demise of one of the senior most leaders with a sterling record of public service of nearly 70 years and who was member of India?s first Parliament.? “In his death, we have lost an important connect with our glorious past that will be hard to recoup,” she said. Sonia offered her prayers and condolence to Keishing’s friends and family and the people of Manipur at this loss and hoped that his good work and endearing commitment to people would always find a place in the working of future generations. Former Manipur chief minister and a member of the first Lok Sabha Keishing passed away yesterday following brief illness. The veteran Congress leader was 96. Keishing, a Naga, served as the chief minister of Manipur from 1980 to 1988 and from 1994 to 1997. Keishing was hospitalised on July 1. He is survived by two sons and four daughters. Keishing, who hailed from the Bungpa village in Manipur’s Ukhrul district, was elected to the Lok Sabha in the first Parliamentary elections held in 1952.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Cong Leader Ibrahim files nomination for upper House bypoll

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Congress leader C M Ibrahim today filed his nomination for the Legislative Council bypoll scheduled on August 31. He was accompanied by Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, Karnataka PCC President G Parameshwara and Working President Dinesh Gundu Rao. Congress President Sonia Gandhi had approved Ibrahim’s name for the bypoll on August 18. The filing of nomination had begun on August 14. Ibrahim was former civil aviation minister in the H D Deve Gowda ministry. The bypoll was necessitated by the death of BJP member Vimala Gowda, who passed away on April 17. The last date for filing nomination is August 21. The Karnataka assembly election is slated for early next year.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

BSP’s Twitter support for joint opposition: Party denies having ‘an official account’ @ 8/21/2017 4:36:28 PM

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) on Monday denied having an official Twitter account amid reports of them tweeting out a picture, showcasing support for a joint opposition and also having party supremo Mayawati’s arch rival and former Uttar Pradesh chief minister Akhilesh Yadav and Congress president Sonia Gandhi on it. The picture was taken from a verified account of the BSP (@BspUp2017), which the party has refused to own. ?Any poster generated on the Twitter on the working of the party does not carry credibility as there is no official twitter handle. The BSP condemns the tweet,? the BSP said, in an official statement. The poster that went viral on Sunday called for a united opposition for the society?s sake. It had Mayawati in the lead and showed icons of opposition party leaders, Akhilesh Yadav, Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) president Lalu Prasad Yadav and his son Tejashwi Yadav, Sharad Yadav, West Bengal Chief Minister and All India Trinamool Congress (TMC) president Mamata Banerjee and Sonia Gandhi. The poster further said, ?One step towards social justice – Unified effort of the Opposition.? The talks of a ‘joint opposition’ picked pace soon after JD(U) leader Nitish Kumar snapped ties with the RJD and the Congress, and stepped down from his chief ministerial seat in Bihar only to be sworn-in as the chief minister again the next day, this time in alliance with Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Veteran Sharad Yadav declared that he was still with the ‘mahagathbandhan’, including the RJD and the Congress. Another wagon was added in the midst of Bihar’s ongoing battle, when Yadav held a three-day Jan Samvad Yatra to discuss the repercussions of the withdrawal of the grand alliance in the state, adding that the ‘faith’ of 11 crore people of Bihar was ‘broken’.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

One of two MLAs voted for BJP in Guj RS polls, admits NCP

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Senior NCP leader Praful Patel today admitted that one of the two party MLAs had voted for the BJP candidate in the recent Gujarat Rajya Sabha election. He, however, dismissed the Congress’ allegation that both the NCP MLAs in Gujarat had voted against its candidate Ahmed Patel in the August 8 polls. The former Union minister said while Jayant Patel alias ‘Bosky’ had voted for Ahmed Patel, the political secretary to Congress president Sonia Gandhi, another NCP MLA, Kandhal Jadeja, voted for the BJP in the election to the Upper House of Parliament from Gujarat. “The NCP was very clear from the beginning that both of our MLAs will vote for Ahmed Patel and the whip was issued accordingly. However, Jadeja defied it and voted for the BJP, whereas Bosky stuck to the party directive,” Patel, the NCP in-charge for Gujarat, said at a press conference here. Asked if the party was mulling any action against Jadeja, he said it was an “internal matter of the NCP”. Ahmed Patel won the cliffhanger of the election with 44 votes after the Election Commission (EC) invalidated the votes of two rebel Congress MLAs, who had allegedly showed their ballots to BJP president Amit Shah. Congress sources had said Patel won the polls on the votes of the 43 party MLAs and the lone JD(U) MLA in the Gujarat Assembly, Chhotu Vasava, and not on the votes of the NCP MLAs. The narrow margin of Patel’s victory amidst the see- sawing number game and cross-voting has, however, soured the relations between the Congress and the Sharad Pawar-led party. The NCP, last Friday, skipped a meeting of opposition parties convened by Congress president Sonia Gandhi to express its displeasure over the allegations levelled by some Congress leaders that the two Gujarat MLAs of the party had not voted for Ahmed Patel in the Rajya Sabha election. Asked about a possible alliance with the Congress for the Gujarat Assembly polls due later this year, Patel said a decision to that effect would be taken by the NCP high- command. “The NCP was part of the Congress-led UPA government in the past. We had entered into a pre-poll alliance with the Congress for the 2012 Gujarat Assembly polls. We may enter into an alliance again if the Congress approaches us,” he said. Meanwhile, senior Congress leader Arjun Modhwadia alleged that the NCP did not stand by his party when it needed its support. “The Rajya Sabha election was a fight to save democracy. Just like some others had come forward to support us, the NCP too should have stood by us. However, it was unfortunate that the NCP failed to do its bit, which was very disheartening for us,” he said.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Reports of active political role for Priyanka fake news: Cong

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Congress today rejected reports of Sonia Gandhi indicating an active political role for daughter Priyanka and termed it as “mischievous instance of fake news” and unnecessary speculation. “The news is entirely false and baseless,” AICC incharge of media department Randeep Surjewala said in a statement. “It is a mischievous instance of fake news and unnecessary speculation,” he added Congress senior spokesperson Anand Sharma said it is laughable that the media takes planted news seriously. “It is mischievous and a fabrication. We reject it,” he said. “These are government planted fabrications and distractions. They require no comment from the Congress, except that I dismiss this,” Sharma said. The Congress leader alleged that the government was busy planting news and distracting the attention of people from their failures and shortcomings. Sharma, however, cautioned the media not to fall into this “trap of planted news” and said this is to distract attention and focus from what is happening. He said the government does not want to discuss issues like the failures of this government, non-performance, non- deliverance, rising terrorist attacks, killing of soldiers and jawans, as also what is happening and also what has happened in Gorakhpur.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

BJP confident of Nitish ‘neutralising’ Sharad Yadav’s revolt

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Sunday said that senior Janata Dal (United) (JD (U)) leader Sharad Yadav is unable to come to terms with the recent alliance forged with the saffron party, adding the reason behind his dissention is unclear. ?There is a vertical split now in JD (U) over the alliance with the BJP. Sharad Yadav is unable to come to terms with the change and he is disagreeing with the Chief Minister Nitish Kumar. Yadav is a soul fighter and I am unable to understand the reason behind his dissention, because the Chief Minister has categorically said that all decisions have been taken after due consultation and with the consent of all the party members,? BJP leader S. Prakash told ANI. He further said that Yadav does not command any numerical stand in the current activities of the party. ?He had also announced that he would put forth his point of view before the people. This is against the party?s point of view and calls for a disciplinary action which has been taken by Nitish Kumar. I am confident that he will handle the situation and ensure neutralising Yadav?s revolt in the party without causing anymore damage to it,? Prakash added. Another BJP leader Sudesh Verma said that Nitish Kumar has taken course correction because he needed someone who represents what JD (U) is saying, adding he has taken a right direction. The JD (U) on Saturday affirmed that there is no split in the party, however, adding it’s not hopeful of Yadav and Ali Anwar of attending the party meeting on August 19. ?There is no split in JD (U) as such. We are holding a party meeting on August 19, but I don?t think that Sharad Yadav and Ali Anwar will come,? Tyagi said addressing a press conference. Meanwhile, responding to his replacement by Ram Chander Singh in the Rajya Sabha “due to his anti-party activities,” Sharad Yadav said that he doesn?t take such matters seriously. However, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Friday said Yadav has every right to take his own decision as to where his loyalties lie, adding the decision to form an alliance with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was made with the consent of the entire party. Yadav earlier on Saturday, claimed that he had sent fellow party leader Ali Anwar to attend a meeting of opposition parties convened by Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, so that Bihar-like grand alliance is replicated countrywide. Anwar was suspended from the JD (U) parliamentary party for participating in the Opposition meeting called by Congress president Sonia Gandhi.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Sharad Yadav has equal rights in JD (U) as Nitish Ali Anwar

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Janata Dal (United) leader Ali Anwar on Sunday said that senior party leader Sharad Yadav?s exclusion will send a wrong message in the political arena, adding the latter has equal rights on the party when compared to Bihar Chief Minister and party chief Nitish Kumar. ?Sharad Yadav is the founder of the party. He has worked for the Dalits and the backward class. His exclusion from the party will send out a wrong message. He has a flawless personality in front of the nation. He is right that JD (U) is not only Nitish Kumar?s party but it is equally his,? Anwar told ANI. Meanwhile, another JD (U) leader K.C. Tyagi said that Yadav?s steps will result in rift within the party. ?JD (U) is a party of all but nobody is allowed to create a ruckus within the party. Yadav?s steps will result in rift within the party,? he added. The JD (U) on Saturday affirmed that there is no split in the party, however, adding it’s not hopeful of Yadav and Ali Anwar of attending the party meeting on August 19. ?There is no split in JD (U) as such. We are holding a party meeting on August 19, but I don?t think that Sharad Yadav and Ali Anwar will come,? Tyagi said addressing a press conference. Meanwhile, responding to his replacement by Ram Chander Singh in the Rajya Sabha “due to his anti-party activities,” Sharad Yadav said that he doesn?t take such matters seriously. However, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Friday said Yadav has every right to take his own decision as to where his loyalties lie, adding the decision to form an alliance with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was made with the consent of the entire party. Yadav had, earlier on Saturday, claimed that he had sent fellow party leader Ali Anwar to attend a meeting of opposition parties convened by Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, so that Bihar-like grand alliance is replicated countrywide. Anwar was suspended from the JD (U) parliamentary party for participating in the Opposition meeting called by Congress president Sonia Gandhi.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Sonia, Rahul Gandhi express pain, shock over @ 8/12/2017 12:46:18 PM

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Congress President Sonia Gandhi and party vice-president Rahul Gandhi on Saturday expressed deep shock at the tragic death of 30 ailing children in the last 48 hours of Baba Raghav Das Medical College in Uttar Pradesh?s Gorakhpur due to alleged shortage of oxygen. Pained beyond words by this humongous tragedy, Sonia Gandhi said, ?My heart goes out to the families of the innocent children who fell prey to gross negligence and incorrigible misconduct on the part of the authorities.” She urged the Uttar Pradesh government to take immediate cognisance of the crime and bring the culprits to book. She also called upon the state Congress workers to provide relief to the families of victims. Meanwhile, Rahul took to his Twitter page and said ?Deeply pained. My thoughts are with the families of the victims. BJP govt is responsible and should punish the negligent, who caused this tragedy (sic).” Yesterday, as many as 30 children lost their lives due to encephalitis, which is a sudden onset inflammation of the brain, in a span of 48 hours at the hospital of Gorakhpur’s Baba Raghav Das Medical College. Gorakhpur DM Rajeev Rautela said that the cause of the deaths at the BRD Hospital is the disruption in the supply of liquid oxygen and further appealed to the suppliers to not cut the supply henceforth. The state government has reportedly asked for a report on this incident within 24 hours. Further details are awaited.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

JD(U) suspends RS member Ali Anwar from parliamentary party

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>JD(U) Rajya Sabha member Ali Anwar Ansari, who was critical of the party’s alliance with the BJP, was tonight suspended from its parliamentary party for attending a meeting of opposition parties convened by Congress chief Sonia Gandhi. Party spokesperson K C Tyagi also accused Gandhi of “exploiting” the dissidence in the JD(U), saying it is against “political decorum”. He also said the Congress president was trying to “interfere” in the JD(U)’s internal matters, he said. Asked if the JD(U) would take disciplinary action against Sharad Yadav, its most high-profile leader to have come out against party chief and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s decision to ally with the BJP, he said it would like him to express his differences over the development at its national executive meeting in Patna on August 19. He also made light of Yadav’s public meetings in Bihar, saying he is addressing RJD workers and not of the JD(U). Yadav, who is the party’s leader in the Rajya Sabha, is likely to part ways with JD(U). He had yesterday claimed that the real JD(U) is with him while Kumar heads ‘sarkari’ faction. Ansari, Tyagi said, had attended the meeting despite his party severing its ties with the Congress-led UPA and joining hands with the BJP. Leaders of 16 opposition parties, led by Congress president Sonia Gandhi, met here today to deliberate on evolving an “alternative narrative” to counter the BJP. Ansari had criticised Kumar’s decision to walk out of the JD(U)-RJD-Congress Grand Alliance in Bihar and form government with the BJP. He is a two-term Rajya Sabha member and his tenure ends in April next. Ansari has said he is opposed to the BJP’s social and economic policies, and is ready to face any punishment if the party so decides. Suspension from the JD(U) parliamentary party means that he will be relegated to back benches in the Rajya Sabha and will no longer be a member of different parliamentary committees. Though it may amount to little as his tenure comes to an end during the next budget session.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

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