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Kumaraswamy meets Sonia, Rahul, discusses government formation


JD-S leader and Karnataka Chief Minister-designate H.D. Kumaraswamy on Monday met Congress President Rahul Gandhi and UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi to discuss ministerial berth sharing between the coalition partners ahead of his swearing-in ceremony on Wednesday.

The details of the meeting were not divulged but the sources said the Congress demanded two posts for Deputy Chief Ministers — one for a Dalit and the other for a Lingayat, 12 for ministers and one for the Speaker. However, Kumaraswamy said the matter will be finalised when the two sides sit together on Tuesday in Bengaluru.

The Congress has authorised its General Secretary incharge of Karnataka K.C. Venugopal to discuss the matter with local Congress leadership, including former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah. He will also discuss the issue with the Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) leadership.

“Rahulji cleared the modalities to be done. He has given permission to Venugopal to discuss all those matters and finalise everything. He will sit together to finalise things,” Kumaraswamy told reporters after meeting the Gandhis.

He also invited both the Congress leaders to his oath-taking ceremony in Bengaluru on Wednesday. “Both agreed to come,” he said.

Kumaraswamy earlier met Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief Mayawati here and discussed plans of putting in place a Congress and JD-S coalition government. The JD-S contested the Karnataka election in a pre-poll alliance with the BSP and later had a post-poll tie-up with the Congress.

JD-S General Secretary and Spokesperson Danish Ali said Kumaraswamy and Congress leaders discussed “long term relationship on mutual trust” of the newly-formed coalition and vowed to give a joint contest to the BJP in Karnataka in 2019 Lok Sabha polls.

Ali told NDTV: “This is what we have decided. We will fight together.”

Asked about Congress’s demand of two Deputy Chief Ministers, he said: “Who will be their Deputy CM its up to them (Congress).”

Before Kumaraswamy meet the Gandhis, senior Congress leaders Ghulam Nabi Azad and Ashok Gehlot met Rahul Gandhi and are learnt to have discussed issues related to government formation in Karnataka.

Besides Sonia and Rahul Gandhi, Mayawati and Chief Ministers Arvind Kejriwal (Delhi), Pinarayi Vijayan (Kerala), Mamata Banerjee (West Bengal), Chandrababu Naidu (Andhra Pradesh) and K. Chandrashekar Rao (Telangana) are expected to attend the oath-taking ceremony.

Meanwhile, BJP President Amit Shah launched a scathing attack on both the parties and described the alliance as “unholy” while defending his party’s decision to form the government.

“We were invited to form the government. There was nothing unethical,” Shah told reporters here.

“The BJP emerged as the single-largest party in Karnataka. The mandate was in favour of the BJP. The Congress and the JD-S formed an alliance against the people’s mandate. This is what I call an unholy alliance.”

He said if the Congress and the JD-S had not “locked” their MLAs in five-star hotels and allowed them to interact with people, the JD-S would have supported the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in government formation.

Shah said the BJP was invited to form the governments in Goa and Manipur earlier because the Congress did not stake claim despite emerging as the single-largest party as their leaders were “resting and sleeping”.

The BJP chief said as the single-largest party, it was the BJP’s right to stake claim. Responding to charges of attempts at horse trading by the BJP, Shah hit back, saying it was the Congress which sold its stable to form the state government.

Hitting out at the Congress for “preaching on democracy”, Shah reminded how it formed the government in Goa in 1980 despite failing to win a single seat in the Assembly elections.

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Modi might spring surprise as Sonia unites opposition for President


BJP is known to spring surprises when it comes to naming its candidate in elections. The July presidential elections will probably be similar to the face-off between VV Giri and Neelam Sanjeeva Reddy in 1969. It is indisputable that a staunch supporter of Congress Pranab Mukherjee will not be given another term as a President. Unlike the US, India has no restrictions on the term of President. Except for VV Giri who was not only President but also an interim president, India never had same president for two consecutive terms.

As the country awaits surprise from BJP several names have surfaced. L K Advani, Murali Manohar Joshi, Sushma Swaraj and Sumitra Mahajan are likely in the race. Even RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat’s name appeared. Advani mentioned that he is not in the battle. With the Babri case surfacing the chances for Advani and Joshi are bleak. However, there are chances that a Dalit candidate may be named as a President.

Narendra Modi may just pick Governor of Jharkhand Draupadi Murmu a tribal candidate from Odisha as the NDA Presidential candidate.

Congress is already in consultations with its allies about the candidate they will be nominating. AICC President Sonia Gandhi will probably organise a meeting with leaders of non-NDA parties to pursue plans for tapping a common candidate. The names of Deva Gowda, Sharad Yadav and Hamid Ansari surfaced from the opposition parties.

The Presidential elections are indirect elections done through electoral college. NDA is mighty in Lok Sabha but UPA has strength in Rajya Sabha. In such situation, the support of regional parties becomes crucial. The elected members of the Legislative assemblies of the 29 states and the elected members of the legislative assemblies of the Union Territories of Puducherry and Delhi are significant as BJP doesn’t have half way mark yet. The support of AIADMK, TRS, YSRCP and BJD are imperative now. Speculations are rife that the regional parties do not want to vote for a congress candidate.

The values of votes polled by MP is 708 while it is not equal for all MLAs in the country. Based on population and number of elected legislators, the vote value of MLAs is considered. In UP the vote value of an MLA is the highest at 209 while the lowest vote value is from Sikkim at 7. The vote value of TS and AP MLAs is 148.

President Pranab Mukherjee’s term expires on July 25,2017. It would be elevating if NDA proposes a non-politician as it did in 2002 by making Dr APJ Abdul Kalam.

Telugu360 is always open for the best and bright journalists. If you are interested in full-time or freelance, email us at Krishna@telugu360.com.

Sonia’s term as AICC president extended


Today, amid speculation that Congress president Sonia Gandhi would step down and Rahul Gandhi would be anointed as AICC president, Congress Working Committee extended her term by one year. The Congress is in celebratory mood over its success in the rolling back of the controversial Land Acquisiton bill by Modi’s NDA government.The following is the text of her speech in CWC meeting held at 10, Jan Path, New Delhi.

Dr. Manmohan Singh ji,
Rahul ji,
Colleagues and Friends,

I welcome you to this meeting of the Congress Working Committee. We last convened barely two weeks after the Modi Government had first promulgated its draconian Land Ordinance. For reasons best known to it, the Modi-Government chose to disregard the will of Parliament and displayed an inexplicable hurry to snatch lands from our farmers.

Thanks to our Party’s sustained campaign, the government has been compelled to withdraw its anti-farmer amendments. The credit for this goes to every worker of the Congress Party, who under Rahul’s active guidance, carried out a sustained agitation. I should make a mention of all like- minded political parties and all members of civil society who joined hands with us in this fight. It goes without saying that lakhs of farmers across the country tirelessly demonstrated and agitated against this Ordinance. Even today they are under great distress because of excess rain or drought conditions, yet no adequate relief has reached them thanks to the Modi-government’s insensitivity to their plight.

Similar campaigns will now need to be mounted against the assault on tribal welfare,onwomen and child welfare, on labour laws, on laws that protect the environment and forests, on RTI and on our flagship initiatives MGNREGA which are being systematically undermined.

The U-turn on the Land Ordinance is evidence that the government is out of touch with ground realities. It has become painfully clear that most of the pledges made by the Prime Minister during his election campaign were nothing more thanhawa baazi. The Modi Government has failed abysmally to match words with deeds, to match media events with actual accomplishments, to match headlines with substance. The economy is on a downward slide while prices continue on their unrelenting rise. As for promises such as the creation of jobs or slogans such as Make in India, the less said about them the better. The autonomy and integrity of vital institutionswhich have stood the country in good stead are being systematically eroded. Writers and progressive thinkers are being physically eliminated. The media is being threatened with notices and other repressive measures. History is sought to be rewritten with special targetting of Jawaharlal Nehru, the architect of modern India and builder of democratic institutions.

This should hardly come as a surprise to us. The country last week was given clear evidence of what has been obvious for a long time—that the Modi government is controlled and directed by the RSS, whose agenda is well known to all of us. The security situation in our neighbourhood has deteriorated considerably. Our jawans and civilians are being increasingly targeted. Instead of a coherent policy on Pakistan , this government can’t seem to make up its mind on what it should do. From aggressively mocking Dr. Manmohan Singh and his policy during the election campaign, the Prime Minister has been reduced to unedifying flip-flops casting doubts on what he really stands for.

The Congress party has always been and will be accountable to party workers and to the people of India. And today we have gathered to deliberate on another important agenda. Our priority must be to strengthen our existing support base and actively reach out and win the confidence of new constituents.

To successfully implement these initiatives we will need to bolster organisational institutions right from the grassroots level. The party unit which is closest to the people, the Block Committees and Booth Committees, must be sufficiently empowered. As we are embarking on registering new members, we have to ensure that our internal processes and systems are sufficiently robust to recognize, reward and nurture talent. A transparent mechanism to recognize and reward hard working and performing workers should be institutionalized. As a party we have always championed the rights of the marginalized sections of society such as women, adivasis, dalits, minorities and OBCs. It is onlythrough affirmative action that we will guarantee greater say in the working of our party to these sections of society.

The proposed amendments to our Constitution, which have been circulated to you, were first presented to this committee on 13th January 2015. They were a result of extensive deliberations guided by the Vice President. I believe these proposals reflect the opinion of a large number of party workers and are built upon our continued commitment to inclusion and empowerment. These amendments will require some time to be implemented, but once done they shall go a long way in making our party institutions truly responsive and equip it to face the challenges that lie ahead.

Let us now proceed with the Agenda.

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