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BJP not going anywhere, problem is with Rahul: Prashant Kishore


Poll strategist Prashant Kishor has said that the Bharatiya Janata Party ‘is not going anywhere for many decades and the problem with Rahul Gandhi is that he thinks that the BJP will be overthrown by people’.

Kishor said this in Goa on Wednesday and a clip of his Q and A session has been shared in social media.

The statement comes at a time when the Trinamool is spreading itself outside Bengal, and is also a proof that the talks of Kishor’s entry into the Congress have ended.

He said that the BJP will be at the centre of Indian politics for years, it wins or loses, much like the Congress in the first 40 years after Independence.

“BJP is going to be the centre of Indian polity, whether they win, whether they lose, like it was for the first 40 years for Congress. BJP is going nowhere. Once you secure 30 per cent plus votes at the national level you are not going away in a hurry. So do not ever get into this trap that people are getting angry and they will throw away (Prime Minister Narendra) Modi,” he said.

“Maybe they will throw away Modi, but BJP is not going anywhere. They are going to be here, they are to fight it out for the next many decades. It is not going in a hurry,” Kishor answered when asked.

He added: “Unless you examine, understand and take cognizance of strength, you will never be able to put a counter to defeat him (BJP & Modi’S strength)”. He said the problem with Rahul Gandhi is he does not realise this but thinks people will overthrow the BJP.

Earlier, he had said that the Congress party’s fortunes in Uttar Pradesh, which goes to the polls next year, would not be revived despite all the “hype” generated around the Lakhimpur Kheri incident, and the subsequent arrest of party general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra.

“People looking for a quick, spontaneous revival of GOP led opposition based on #LakhimpurKheri incident are setting themselves up for a big disappointment. Unfortunately there are no quick fix solutions to the deep-rooted problems and structural weakness of GOP,” Kishor, who played an instrumental role in propelling Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress back to power in the West Bengal Assembly polls held in March-April this year, wrote on Twitter.

The remarks have come amid “strong speculation” that Kishor would join the Congress and the party was deliberating on the issues raised by him.

Even as no one in the party is averse to the idea of Kishor joining the Congress, the party leaders have said that he should not be given sweeping powers regarding elections.

The Congress is preparing for the upcoming Assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh along with a few other states which are going to polls next year.

In the politically crucial north Indian state, the Congress is pitted against the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, Samajwadi Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party.

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Rahul Gandhi-Amit Shah faceoff in Telangana on this September 17


September 17 will see a big face-off this time. Yes. The two second-in-command leaders in the two biggest parties in the country will be in Telangana. BJP’s biggest leader after Narendra Modi and union Home Minister Amit Shah and Congress Party’s past and future president Rahul Gandhi would be in Telangana on September 17. This will be a unique face-off for Telangana.

September 17 is an important date for the BJP as it is the Hyderabad Liberation Day from the yoke of Nizam and the Razakars. It is also the birth anniversary of BJP’s biggest icon Sardar Patel. More importantly, it is the birthday of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Amit Shah will join Bandi Sanjay’s Yatra and will address a massive public meeting in Kamareddy. Later, he would proceed to Nirmal, where he would address another meeting atop Nirmal fort. The location is important because it was here in 1857 that over a thousand freedom fighters were hanged from a banyan tree. The occasion, the location, the speaker and the yatra confirm the BJP’s ideological agenda.

Congress senior leader Rahul Gandhi too will visit Telangana on September 17. He would speak at a public meeting organised to mark the conclusion of the Dalit and Girijan conferences that the TPCC has been organising. The Congress is trying to gather around 5 lakh people for the occasion. The Congress is planning to launch its Mission 2023 on the occasion. The Congress leaders are already busy with the preparations for Rahul’s visit. This will be Rahul’s first visit to the state after October 2018. He is also likely to review the party’s organisation work and the visit is primarily intended to establish Revanth Reddy’s authority in the state Congress affairs.

So, expect a lot of political action on September 17 this time. The target of both the national parties would no doubt be the ruling TRS in Telangana. Let’s see how the TRS deflects the two-pronged attack.

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Rahul to visit Visakhapatnam to raise VSP issue


Is Congress leader Rahul Gandhi planning to visit Visakhapatnam soon? Is he trying to meet the employees unions opposing the privatisation of the Vizag Steel Plant? Congress sources say that Rahul indeed is going to visit Vizag soon to take up this issue.

Interestingly, the project was set up due to the efforts of the then prime minister and Rahul Gandhi’s grandmother Indira Gandhi. The project works were inaugurated in 1971 and the works began in the 1980s and the production began from the 1990s. The setting up of the project is because of the Congress Party’s efforts. So, Rahul has an emotional connection with the project. Now that Modi is hell-bent on privatising the project, Rahul Gandhi wants to use this emotional connect to fight the BJP and raise the issue of VSP privatisation.

Congress sources say that he would use Vizag as a forum to launch an anti-Modi tirade. He is likely to express his solidarity with the striking employees union. He is also likely to invoke grand-mother Indira Gandhi and recall her connection with the Telugu people. In fact, she had contested and won from Medak in the then undivided Andhra Pradesh. Rahul wants to recall these memories to attack Modi.

But there are discordant notes too. With the Congress completely down in the dumps in Andhra Pradesh, will the Congress be able to capitalise on the steel plant movement? He may be able to highlight the issue but, he may still be not able to stop the privatisation. Will parties like TDP and YSRCP stand with the Congress Party in the fight against the privatisation of the Vizag steel plant. Whether the VSP issue gets resolved or not, the Congress boss is likely to visit Vizag in August.

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Prashant Kishore teaches ‘Youth Mantra’ to Rahul Gandhi


Rahul Gandhi, it appears , has shed his diffidence and became active once again. He is now moving very fast to set his house in order and reactivate the party setup. He is now planning to tour the whole country and meet the party workers. He now wants to capitalise on the growing unhappiness against Narendra Modi, who is in power for more than 7 years.

Rahul Gandhi always felt that youth should be promoted in the party and that the differences between various factions within the party should be quickly ironed out. Now that he has solved the dispute between Punjab CM Amarinder Singh and PCC chief Navjot Singh Siddhu and appointed young Revanth Reddy as the PCC chief in Telangana, he is now planning to address similar issues in other states. He is said to be focusing on the Gehlot-Sachin Pilot dispute in Rajasthan. He is now planning to meet both CM Gehlot and Sachin Pilot.

In fact, it was his inability to solve the dispute between Kamal Nath and Jyotiraditya Scindia that has led to the fall of the Congress government in Madhya Pradesh. Now Jyotiraditya is a shining star in the BJP and is made a union minister. Sources in the Congress say that Rahul Gandhi is determined not to allow such developments in future. He is now trying to bring the warring factions in various states together and focus on the young leaders. Election wizard Prashant Kishore has reportedly told Rahul Gandhi to focus on the young leaders in the party. Rahul Gandhi, it is being reported, is doing as per the directions of Prashant kishore.

Soon, Rahul Gandhi is likely to undertake a nation-wide tour to reactivate the cadres. He is likely to involve more and more youth in the party affairs. He is also likely to promote young leaders within the party. Sources say that he has promoted young leaders as PCC chiefs in Kerala, Punjab and Telangana and is likely to bring in more young leaders in other states too. Let’s wait and watch if the youth mantra works for him.

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Modi sarkar has failed to save people: Rahul Gandhi


Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday said that the Modi government has failed to provide relief to the public.

“No vaccine, no employment, public is suffering from corona, and Modi sarkar has absolutely failed,” he tweeted in Hindi.

Rahul Gandhi has been attacking the government and on Tuesday had said lockdown is the only option which was endorsed by Anand Sharma. “Endorse the call given by @RahulGandhi that a lockdown is the only option available, given the constant denial and false claims of the govt on the number of infections, deaths and shameful claims of no oxygen shortages when hundreds of Indians, including doctors, have died,” Sharma had said.

Former Congress President Rahul Gandhi had on Tuesday said, the only way to stop the apocalyptic march of the pandemic was an immediate complete lockdown with the protection of NYAY scheme for the vulnerable sections.

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A crime has been committed against India: Rahul


Former Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday once again attacked the Narendra Modi government for its inaction as “many innocent people” continued to lose the battle against Covid and said a crime has been committed against India.

He said the only way to stop the apocalyptic march of the pandemic was an immediate complete lockdown with the protection of NYAY scheme for the vulnerable sections.

“Government of India (GOI) doesn’t get it. The only way to stop the spread of Corona now is a full lockdown – with the protection of NYAY for the vulnerable sections. Government of India’s inaction is killing many innocent people,” he tweeted.

In another tweet, lamenting at the government he said, “I just want to make it clear that a lockdown is now the only option because of a complete lack of strategy by GOI. They allowed, rather, they actively helped the virus reach this stage where there’s no other way to stop it. A crime has been committed against India.”

Rahul Gandhi, who is a Lok Sabha MP from Kerala’s Wayanad has been critical of the central government over the handling of Covid-19 pandemic in the country.

On Tuesday, India recorded over 3.57 lakh fresh cases of Covid with 3,449 fatalities.

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Rahul Gandhi tests Covid positive


Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday tested positive for Covid-19.

He shared this information on social media and asked people to follow Covid guidelines.

He tweeted, “After experiencing mild symptoms, I’ve just tested positive for COVID. All those who’ve been in contact with me recently, please follow all safety protocols and stay safe”.

Congress leader P. Chidambaram wished him speedy recovery: “Learned that Mr Rahul Gandhi has tested positive and has isolated himself. Deeply concerned. I wish him a full and speedy recovery.”

Earlier in the day, Rahul Gandhi demanded that the government should transfer money into the accounts of the migrants who are compelled to go back home due to the lockdown and pandemic. He tweeted in Hindi, “Migrants are again moving back, so this is the responsibility of the Union government to transfer money to their accounts. Will the government, which is blaming the public for the spread of the Covid, take such a public supportive step.”

The Congress has questioned the government over the handling of the Covid pandemic. “Where has the money of Covid tax and the PM-CARES fund gone?” asked Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala.

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T’gana Cong passes resolution favouring Rahul as party chief


The Telangana unit of the Congress on Sunday passed a resolution urging Rahul Gandhi to again take up the national president’s post of the party.

A meeting of all 33 District Congress Committees (DCCs) held in Khammam unanimously passed the resolution favouring Rahul Gandhi as the president of All India Congress Committee (AICC).

It urged him to take up the post again and offered full support.

The meeting was attended by AICC incharge for party affairs in Telangana and party MP Manickam Tagore, Telangana Pradesh Congress Committee (TPCC), working president Ponnam Prabhakar, Congress Legislature Party (CLP) leader Mallu Bhatti Vikramarka, senior leaders and presidents of DCCs.

The meeting was held as part of the efforts by the party to strengthen the organization in the state.

Tagore said formation of all booth, mandal, town and district level committees would be completed in 15 days.

He said that booth level committees will be constituted in 30 days.

Tagore, who launched our polling booth our pride strategy, said each booth committee will have 15 members.

He said that after Congress comes to power at the Centre and in Telangana an inquiry by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) will be ordered into corruption charges against Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao and his family members.

On the allegations of corruption being made by union minister of state for home G. Kishan Reddy and other BJP leaders against Chandrasekhar Rao, the Congress leader wanted to know why BJP government has not ordered any probe against the chief minister and his family members.

Tagore alleged that CM KCR bows before Prime Minister Narendra Modi and union home minister Amit Shah out of fear that the Centre may order investigations against him. “Every time KCR goes to Delhi he bows before them,” he said.

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Help Andhra fishermen stranded in Gujarat: Rahul


Former Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Saturday appealed to the government to move 6,000 Andhra Pradesh fishermen stranded in Gujarat in their fishing trawlers to relief camps.

“Over 6,000 fishermen from AP, stranded in Gujarat, have been confined to their tiny fishing trawlers for over a month, in unhygienic conditions with limited food & water. I appeal to the Govt to move my brothers to relief camps and ensure their well being,” Rahul Gandhi said in a tweet.

He also attached a news report highlighting the plight of the fishermen staying in their fishing trawlers in Gujarat for over a month.

Several migrant workers and fishermen have been stranded in several parts of the country following the nationwide lockdown to combat the spread of novel coronavirus (Covid-19) as train, bus and airlines services have been suspended.

On Saturday, the total number of Covid-19 cases in India rose to 24,506 with 775 people losing their lives due to pandemic.

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Join protest against hate, violence unleashed by Modi-Shah :Rahul


Ahead of the Congress protest against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and the National Register of Citizens (NRC) at Rajghat, former Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Monday appealed the students and youth to join the protest.

In a tweet Rahul Gandhi said: “Dear Students and youth of India, it’s not good enough just to feel India. At times like these it’s critical to show that you’re India and won’t allow India to be destroyed by hatred.

“Join me today at 3 p.m. at Rajghat, to protest against the hate and violence unleashed on India by Modi-Shah.”

The Congress has planned to hold protest at Rajghat against the CAA and NRC. On Sunday, the Gandhi scion attacked Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah, accusing them of destroying the future of the students and youths.

The Congress has come out in support of the students and other aggrieved citizens, and has attacked the government for not listening to the people’s voice.

In fact, the Congress has faced flak over its non participation in the protest against the CAA and NRC.

A day after the violent protest at the Jamia Millia Islamia, Rahul Gandhi had left for South Korea on an official tour.

In his absence his sister Priyanka Gandhi took the centrestage and protested against the government as she joined the symbolic protest against the ‘police brutality against students’ at India Gate on Tuesday. She again joined the protest of students at India Gate on Friday evening, soon after the protest over the CAA and the NRC turned violent near the Delhi Gate area in Daryaganj and a car parked just outside the Deputy Commissioner of Police’s office was torched and other vehicles vandalised.

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Row in LS over Rahul’s ‘Rape in India’ remark


Angry scenes were witnessed inside the Lok Sabha on Friday as the winter session drew to a close with fierce attack of the treasury bench all aimed at Congress leader Rahul Gandhi for his insensitive “Rape in India” remark. BJP members condemned the statement and sought an apology.

The issue was raised by the Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Arjun Ram Meghwal after the Lok Sabha Speaker paid tributes to the security personnel who sacrificed their lives in the December 13, 2001 Parliament attack when the House assembled for the day.

Meghwal said Rahul Gandhi mocked Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “Make in India” slogan calling it “Rape in India”. “Is he inviting people to rape in India? What does his mean? It is shameful. He should apologies to the people of the country.”

Following which, BJP member and West Bengal MP Locket Chatterjee hit out at Gandhi condemning his statement. “Does Rahul Gandhi want people to rape women in India? Come rape us. Is this his thinking?”

Union Minister Smriti Irani said it has happened first time in the history of India that an MP has been inviting people to come and rape “Indian women”.

“The son of Gandhi family is calling people to rape women.”

Gandhi made the controversial “Rape in India” remark during a public rally in Jharkhand’s Godda district on Thursday aiminmg to highlight crimes against women under Prime Minister Modi’s regime. He said Modi’s pet project “Make in India” was nowadays more like “Rape in India”.

All the women BJP members gathered at one side sloganeering “Rahul Gandhi Mafi Mango (Rahul Gandhi apologies), “We want justice”. The opposition also stood on their seat rejecting the allegations against Gandhi sloganeering against the Centre.

Gandhi, too was seen inside the House. He had reached following the one of the adjournments and television visuals caught him smiling even as the uproar continued.

Following the uproar, Lok Sabha Speaker tried to conduct Question Hour but adjourned the House till 12 noon.

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Ahead of Assembly polls, Rahul Gandhi leaves for Bangkok


Former Congress President Rahul Gandhi has left for Bangkok on Saturday, as per media reports. Ahead of the crucial Aseembly elections in Maharashtra and Haryana scheduled for October 21, Rahul Gandhi leaving the country will raise many eyebrows.

As per reports, Rahul Gandhi left for Bangkok on a Vistara flight on Saturday.

The Congress is presently facing tough challenge to contain dissidence within its ranks with Rahul Gandhi’s aide and former Haryana Congress President Ashok Tanwar resigning from the party on Saturday.

Tanwar has alleged that those groomed by Rahul Gandhi are being sidelined in the party.

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As Rahul Gandhi sulks, Sonia’s coterie is back in Congress


With an angry Rahul Gandhi sulking and his mother Sonia Gandhi returning to take charge of the Congress, the syndicate of her coterie is back in the party and asserting its clout.

This is clear from a slew of decisions taken during the last over one month after Sonia Gandhi took charge, most of which have been undoing of the decisions taken during the presidentship of her son Rahul Gandhi.

To name a few, Rahul Gandhi’s appointee Ashok Tanwar was removed as Ghulam Nabi Azad, the party General Secretary In-Charge of Haryana, sided with Bhupinder Singh Hooda.

The seniors in the party are not willing to hand over the baton to young leadership, said a youth leader considered close to Rahul’s team. The return of Sonia Gandhi is also marked by return of her powerful political Secretary Ahmed Patel, who is now Treasurer of the party.

The buzz in the Congress is that there is a power tussle between the respective teams of Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi. ‘Team Sonia’ is calling the shots in AICC, a party leader said.

This was clear during the episode involving the dramatic appearance and press conference at the AICC headquarters on August 21 by P. Chidambaram, who was wanted by CBI in INX deal case.

His appearance at 24, Akbar Road, accompanied by a host of Congress workers and leaders like Kapil Sibal, Abhishek Manu Singhvi and Vivek Tankha, was organized and choreographed by Patel.

The press meet was organized to enable Chidambaram to tell the media that he was not on the run and that he had done no wrong.

Even on Monday last, before Sonia Gandhi along with Manmohan Singh went to meet Chidambaram in Tihar jail, she sent Patel and Ghulam Nabi Azad to meet him.

However, in these series of events, Janardan Dwivedi has been missed out. He was removed by Rahul Gandhi. But Motilal Vora enjoys the same clout, being In-charge of the party Headquarter.

At the same time, Rahul Gandhi has managed retention of some of his close confidantes in key positions, like K C Venugopal, who continues as General Secretary (Oganisation).

The appointments of election screening committees in Maharashtra and Haryana also had the stamp of Rahul Gandhi. Jyotiraditya Scindia was made the head of Maharashtra screening committee while Madhusudan Mistry was made the head of Haryana screening committee.

Mistry, like Patel, hails from Gujarat and two are considered rivals in the state politics.

The recent appointment of Supriya Shrinate, Ragini Nayak and Sharmishta Mukherjee in the AICC media department also tells the story of Rahul intervening in party affairs.

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Congress leadership conundrum

The opposition’s role in democracy is always very important. Ruling party and opposition dialectics is the core strength of democracy. It keeps the balance of power in the system. The ruler becomes a dictator if the opposition is weak. From President Donald Trump to Russia’s Vladimir Putin, a new right-wing populism has emerged. It has also emerged in London. Many people think it is a phenomenon that has emerged out of weak opposition space.

After the massive victory of Narendra Modi in the 2019 Lok Sabha election, what is the news of Rahul Gandhi? What is happening in the opposition Congress? What is the status of the Congress? What is happening in the Gandhi family? I rang up at Tughlak Lane and heard that he was abroad; will be back soon. Many of the leaders go abroad for some days in this horrible summer of Delhi – not a new thing here. But since the budget session is on till July 24, political leaders have to stay in Delhi. Rahul Gandhi is also staying here most of the time. He is visible in Parliament.

Rahul Gandhi has resigned. He has left the post taking responsibility for the party’s defeat. It is not just drama. He is firm in his decision. If you look at the Congress benches from the Lok Sabha’s press gallery today, you will feel the sadness of the fact about this hundred-and-a-half year old political party. From Allan Octavian Hume to Surendranath Banerjee – what a history it has been of the Congress!! Where has it come today?

I think Rahul Gandhi is a good soul. It is true that he is very interesting in a private chat but the task of becoming a leader of such a complex country’s political party is probably not suitable for him. I also saw how he was nominated as Vice President at the Congress session in Jaipur. I was in Jaipur that day. During the announcement that day, it seemed that Rahul himself was not very excited about this responsibility. He has always been a ‘reluctant’ politician.

After Rahul Gandhi’s resignation, the Congress’s situation has become worse. Actually, the Congress is now without a guardian. State leaders and other organizational leaders have resigned but senior leaders are not able to accept their resignation letters. The all-India President of the party himself has resigned. The Congress Working Committee will have to accept the resignation, but Rahul tweeted that he is no longer the president.

Modi and the BJP’s top leadership said during the elections and even now that the Congress is run by a family. Modi repeatedly attacked the Congress. So from Jawaharlal Nehru to Rahul Gandhi, the Congress has been running this country, but the people of India are against this dynastic rule.

Now, look at the organization’s situation. I do not know whether the Congress party can survive without this family. There is infighting in the Congress in all states. There is friction between Ashok Gehlot and Sachin Pilot in Rajasthan, between Chief Minister Kamal Nath and Jyotiraditya Scindia in Madhya Pradesh. It is the old versus the new controversy. How many conflicts are there? But Rahul Gandhi or the members of the family can have the last word which all leaders will accept. Therefore, the Gandhi family is a wonderful cementing factor in congress united force.

I saw how many leaders were fired by the dream of leadership when Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated. Arjun Singh, Sharad Power, Karunakaran, Narasimha Rao, and many others. But, what was the first resolution of the Congress Working Committee after this? The Congress Working Committee unanimously requested Sonia Gandhi to be the next leader. But Sonia politely refused the offer – it can be called a positive ‘No’. The next question was, who would be leader. Narasimha Rao became the leader but Sonia Gandhi endorsed this.

When Narasimha Rao was accused of trying to lead the ‘Bofors’ investigation against Sonia, even after allegations of laxity in investigating the murder case of Rajiv Gandhi, she went to Amethi and started her political journey. I was in Amethi that day. It was raining that afternoon. She started her political life. Priyanka was also there that day. In Congress history Sitaram Kesri became the president of the party, but we have also seen how Sonia Gandhi became party president by removing Keshri. It was a smooth operation. It was possible only for someone with the brand name Gandhi.

Pramod Mahajan, the late BJP leader, once told me that the Congress party had a great advantage, where a leader and a family took all decisions. Taking decisions was easy for them. Atal Bihari Vajpayee was Prime Minister in the party but the decisions were usually taken by four or five people. L.K. Advani, Jaswant Singh, Yashwant Sinha, Murli Manohar Joshi, and others. I have left out the RSS and Brajesh Mishra. In Congress, this can be called dictatorship, but for the sake of decision making process it works.

Today, after seeing the Congress party in this situation, I am reminded again of Pramod Mahajan. What is this party? Assembly elections in Jharkhand, Haryana, Delhi and Maharashtra are close at hand. For the Congress party, victory in these states is difficult. By contrast, if Rahul Gandhi becomes Congress president, then he will have to take responsibility for the next defeat as well.

So in today’s acute crisis in Congress, will Priyanka Gandhi come to the rescue of the party? Or can a senior leader be the working president as of now? Or will a young leader be made the full-time president? Or, will Rahul Gandhi eventually return under party pressure? At present, whether Akbar Road or in the Central Hall of Parliament everyone is busy speculating on who will be the Congress President. I think the Congress party should decide quickly for the sake of democracy of our country.

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With 10mn Twitter followers, Rahul to celebrate in Amethi


Former Congress President Rahul Gandhi has amassed 10 million followers on Twitter and said he will celebrate the “milestone” in Amethi where he lost the Lok Sabha battle to BJP’s Smriti Irani.

“10 Million Twitter followers – thank you to each and every one of you! I will celebrate the milestone in Amethi, where I will be meeting our Congress workers and supporters today,” Gandhi, who arrived here on Wednesday, said in a tweet.

Gandhi joined Twitter in April 2015. Compared to his 10 million followers, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who joined Twitter in January 2009, has 48.5 million followers on the social media platform.

This is Gandhi’s first visit to Amethi in Uttar Pradesh after the disastrous Lok Sabha elections in which the Congress was mauled.

Gandhi, who lost the Amethi seat after holding it for three terms, will meet party activists in the Uttar Pradesh constituency which for long was considered a Gandhi family bastion.

According to party leaders, Gandhi will attend a closed door meeting of party workers at the Nirmala Institute of Women’s Education in the afternoon at Gauriganj in Amethi.

He then pay a private condolence visit to ex-block President Dwinda Prasad Dwivedi’s family in Babhanpur village.

The party leaders said Gandhi will discuss with party workers the reasons for his defeat. He will also interact with the public.

Gandhi’s visit is an indication that he has not given up on Amethi although he was elected to the Lok Sabha this time from Wayanad in Kerala.

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I am to blame for Congress rout, no more President: Rahul

Rahul Gandhi announced on Wednesday that he has resigned as the Congress President and that he was to blame for the party’s rout in the Lok Sabha elections where it could win only 52 of the 542 seats.

In an open letter made public on his Twitter account, Gandhi, son of UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi, also said that the BJP’s sweeping election win proved that the RSS’ aim of capturing the country’s institutional structure was now complete.

“As President of the Congress party, I am responsible for the loss of the 2019 election. Accountability is critical for the future growth of our party,” he said in a letter that was put on his Twitter account which no longer described him as the Congress President.

“It is for this reason that I have resigned as Congress President.”

The letter said: “Rebuilding the party requires hard decisions and numerous people will have to be made accountable for the failure of 2019.

“It would be unjust to hold others accountable but ignore my own responsibility as President of the party.”

Gandhi said that while it was important for someone new to lead the Congress, “it would not be correct for me to select that person”.

Earlier in the day, Gandhi told reporters: “I have already submitted my resignation and I am no longer the party chief.

“The Congress Working Committee should convene a meeting at the earliest and decide on a new party chief.”

Gandhi announced on May 25, two days after the Lok Sabha election results became known, that he would resign as the Congress chief after the party was drubbed. Gandhi was himself defeated in Amethi in Uttar Pradesh but won from Wayanad in Kerala.

In his four-page letter, Gandhi said the RSS, the BJP’s ideological parent, had succeeded in capturing the country’s institutional structure.

He sought to question the role of the Election Commission in the 2019 Lok Sabha battle.

“A free and fair election requires the neutrality of a country’s institutions — an election cannot be fair without arbiters, a free press, an independent judiciary and a transparent Election Commission that is objective and neutral.

“Nor can an election be free if only one party has a complete monopoly on financial resources.”

Gandhi said: “We didn’t fight a political party in the election. Rather, we fought the entire machinery of the Indian state, every institution of which was marshalled against the opposition.

“It is now crystal clear that our once cherished institutional neutrality no longer exists in India..”

“There is a real danger that from now on, elections will go from being a determinant of India’s future to a mere ritual.”

Gandhi alleged that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s victory “does not negate the breath of corruption allegations against him, no amount of money and propaganda can ever hide the light of the truth”.

He said he would remain “a loyal soldier of the Congress” and “a devoted son of India”.

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Congress won’t stake claim for LoP in Lok Sabha

The Congress on Saturday said that it will not formally stake claim for the post of Leader of Opposition (LoP) in the Lok Sabha as it is two seats short of the required number of 54.

The party also said that Rahul Gandhi will continue to be the Congress President.

According to the rules, a party needs to have 10 per cent of 545 members, the total strength of the Lok Sabha, to qualify for the post of Leader of Opposition, which is a Cabinet-rank position. But the Congress has got only 52 members in the Lower House, two short of the required numbers.

Addressing a press conference at the party headquarters here, Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala said: “We will not stake claim for the post of LoP in the Lok Sabha as we are two short of the 54 members required for the status. However, the onus also lies with the government… whether it wants to designate a party formally as the principal opposition.”

Even in the previous Lok Sabha, the leader of Congress in the House, Mallikarjun Kharge, was not granted the status of Leader of Opposition as the party had won only 44 seats in the 2014 general elections.

When asked if the party was looking at a merger with the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), Surjewala said that he had no information about any such merger between the two parties.

When asked if the Congress could stake claim for the LoP status as an Opposition block along with other opposition parties, he said, “The newly-elected Parliamentary party will decide the party’s strategy.”

The Congress Parliamentary Party (CPP) met earlier in the day for the first time after the Lok Sabha elections where UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi was elected the leader of the Congress parliamentarians.

However, the suspense over the post of leader of the Congress in the Lok Sabha continues. The party has authorised Sonia Gandhi to take a decision on this matter.

When asked if Rahul Gandhi was still insisting to step down from the post of Congress President, Surjewala said: “Rahul Gandhi continues to be the Congress President. The naysayers will say what they have to. The media has to wait rather than trying to jump to any conclusion. The Congress Working Committee (CWC) has urged him (Rahul Gandhi) to continue as the party President.”

When asked about nationalism and other important issues which were used by the BJP to consolidate support ahead of the Lok Sabha elections, Surjewala pointed fingers at Doklam, where Indian and Chinese troops were engaged in a two-month standoff in 2017.

“Even today Chinese army is deployed in Doklam just 10 metres from the Indian post where a road has been constructed. It is a diplomatic failure on the part of the Indian government,” he said.

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Congress in crisis as resignations pile up

In the wake of the electoral debacle, the Congress appeared to be in a crisis on Monday with resignations of its leaders piling up and the leadership planning to crack the whip.

Amid the shock in the party, Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Monday met party treasurer Ahmed Patel and general secretary K. C. Venugopal.

Patel sought to scotch speculation that they had gone to meet Gandhi in the context of Congress Working Committee meeting which rejected his offer to resign.

He said meeting with Gandhi was for routine administrative work.

“I had sought time before the CWC to meet the Congress President to discuss routine administrative work. The meeting today was in that context. All other speculation is incorrect and baseless,” Patel said in a tweet.

Meanwhile, three more state party chiefs have tendered their resignations, taking the total number to six.

Congress party chiefs of Jharkhand, Assam and Punjab have also resigned in addition to those from Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh and Odisha. Karnataka Pradesh Campaign Committee chairman H. K. Patil has also resigned.

Punjab Congress chief Sunil Jhakar, who was the sitting MP from Gurdaspur, sent his resignation to Congress President Rahul Gandhi taking moral responsibility for losing to actor Sunny Deol from the seat. The Congress has generally done well in Punjab winning eight of 13 seats.

Jharkhand Congress chief Ajoy Kumar has also tendered his resignation. The party won only one seat in the state where it had an alliance with the JMM, RJD and other parties.

While the party won Singhbhum seat, it lost Khunti by only 1,445 votes and Lohardaga by 10,363 votes.

The party’s Assam unit chief Ripun Bora also wrote to Gandhi taking moral responsibility for the party not being able to increase its tally from its previous tally of three seats. He has said in his letter that Gandhi may choose to replace him.

Maharashtra unit chief Ashok Chavan, Uttar Pradesh unit chief Raj Babbar and Odisha Congress chief Niranjan Patnaik have already sent their resignations.

Yogendra Misra, the district Congress chief in Amethi in Uttar Pradesh has also sent his resignation, owning moral responsibility for Rahul Gandhi’s defeat from Amethi.

Gandhi had also offered to resign taking moral responsibility for the party’s defeat but the Congress Working Committee unanimously rejected the offer.

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Rahul Gandhi takes back offer to resign

Rahul Gandhi on Sunday took back his offer to quit as the Congress President, a proposal he made during the Congress Working Committee (CWC) meeting on Saturday following the party’s rout in the Lok Sabha elections, party sources said.

A party source told IANS: “Rahulji has taken back his proposal to resign as the party chief today.”

The source added that responsibility will be fixed for the party’s debacle in the general elections and action will unfold in the next 10 days. Many party General Secretaries and state unit chiefs could face the heat, the source said.

Gandhi offered to step down from the President’s post at the CWC meeting, taking responsibility for Congress’ embarrassing defeat in the Lok Sabha polls in which it won just 52 seats.

However, his offer was unanimously rejected by the CWC members though Gandhi had insisted on its acceptance.

Party sources said Gandhi took back the offer to resign in the wake of the views expressed by the CWC members who wanted him to remain at the helm of the country’s oldest political party.

The CWC has authorised Gandhi to make complete overhaul and detailed restructuring of the party at every level.

According to the source, the Congress President was quite forthright at the CWC meeting, not sparing even some senior leaders of the party.

Gandhi is believed to have said that Congress Chief Ministers Ashok Gehlot and Kamal Nath were eager to give ticket to their sons although the party President was not very keen on the idea as he felt that they had a bigger role to play in campaigning.

While Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath’s son Nakul Nath successfully contested from his father’s stronghold Chhindwara, Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot’s son Vaibhav Gehlot tasted defeat in Jodhpur.

Gandhi said that Ashok Gehlot campaigned in Jodhpur for a week, ignoring the other tasks of the party.

The source said that Gandhi also referred to veteran Congressman and former Finance Minister P. Chidambaram for pushing for a Lok Sabha ticket for his son Karti Chidambaram from Sivaganga in Tamil Nadu.

Karti Chidambaram is one of the eight Congress candidates who won in Tamil Nadu.

The Congress President reportedly told the CWC that these senior leaders had put the interests of their sons before the interests of the party.

Gandhi is learnt to have said that Chidambaram was even willing to walk out of the party if his son was denied a Lok Sabha ticket.

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Rahul accepts defeat, congratulates Modi


Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Thursday accepted the shocking defeat in the Lok Sabha elections as “people’s verdict” and congratulated Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for the victory.

Addressing a brief press conference at the party headquarters here as the results trickled in, Gandhi also conceded defeat in the Amethi Lok Sabha constituency, the pocket borough of his family, and congratulated Union Minister Smriti Irani for the victory.

He, however, refused to state what went wrong for the party and suggested that the Congress Working Committee (CWC) would decide whether he would continue as the party chief.

“It’s between me and the party and me and the CWC,” he said when asked whether he would step down.

“I had said during the campaign that ‘janata maalik hai’ (people are the decision-makers) and the ‘maalik’ has given the verdict,” Gandhi said.

“First of all, I want to congratulate Modiji and BJP. We have to accept that Modiji has won this election,” the Congress President said.

Asked about the reasons for the debacle, he evaded the query by saying “I don’t want to colour the discussion by saying what went wrong.”

Questioned about Amethi, the outgoing MP from the constituency said, “I can say that Smritiji has won. I congratulate her.”

Gandhi said he respected the verdict given by the people of Amethi and hoped that Irani would live up to the trust reposed in her by the people of the constituency.

He said his party’s fight against the BJP was ideological and it will continue.

Gandhi also asked the party cadres to keep fighting for the Congress ideology.

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