After Kapil Sibal's Remarks, Sonia Gandhi Names 4 'Dissenters' To Panels | WeForNews | Latest News, Blogs After Kapil Sibal’s Remarks, Sonia Gandhi Names 4 ‘Dissenters’ To Panels – WeForNews | Latest News, Blogs
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New Delhi: Days after Kapil Sibal’s comments about the Congress’ decline sparked another bout of infighting, party chief Sonia Gandhi has included four members of the dissenting camp in three committees set up to keep her informed on matters relating to national security, foreign affairs and the economy.

Announced Friday, just before Ms Gandhi leaves for Goa to escape Delhi pollution, the appointments are being seen as a move to ward off further public embarrassment – such as that caused by Mr Sibal’s interview to the Indian Express or the letter by 23 leaders challenging the Gandhi family’s control.

The committee on economic affairs includes former Finance Minister P Chidambaram. The second committee (on foreign affairs) has both Anand Sharma and Shashi Tharoor, and Ghulam Nabi Azad and Veerappa Moily have been named to the third.

Mr Chidambaram, a Rajya Sabha MP from Maharashtra, was not initially placed in the dissenting camp, but appears to have been moved there after his support of Mr Sibal. He had criticised the party’s on-ground presence in the light of its performance in the Bihar election and bypolls in other states.

Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is a member of all three committees.

The very public breaking-of-ranks over a perceived lack of leadership and dismal electoral results extended Tuesday to questions over economic policies.

Anand Sharma, a former Union Minister for Commerce, criticised the decision to stay away from the RCEP (regional comprehensive economic partnership) – a free trade deal promoted by China.

The Congress had been the first to red-flag India’s potential membership. The Narendra Modi government subsequently skipped the deal citing concerns over its impact on small manufacturers.

Disagreement over the RCEP was after Kapil Sibal’s interview, in which he cited the Bihar results to call for “experienced minds… hands and those who understand political realities”. Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and senior leader Salman Khurshid both hit back at Mr Sibal.

Both Anand Sharma and Kapil Sibal were among the 23 Congress leaders behind August’s ‘dissent letter’, which caused an all-out clash but yielded little by way of actual changes.

The letter called for sweeping reforms, introspection and “full-time, visible leadership” of a party that has had Ms Gandhi as “interim” chief since Rahul Gandhi resigned after last year’s Lok Sabha polls.

A heated meeting of the Congress Working Committee – the party’s highest decision-making body – followed, in which Ms Gandhi offered to resign before being persuaded to remain as interim chief, with an AICC meeting to be called in six months.

A committee was set up to examine the dissenting leaders’ grievances, but Mr Sibal, in his comments on Monday, suggested little progress had been made on resolving issues.

“Since there has been no dialogue and there seems to be no effort for a dialogue by the leadership and since there is no forum to express my views, I am constrained to express them publicly,” Mr Sibal told the Indian Express on Monday.

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PM Modi should take lead in resolving impasse with farmers: Ashok Gehlot

The meeting remained inconclusive and the government has called for another round of discussions on Thursday, December 3, union leaders said.

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Ashok Gehlot

Jaipur, Dec 1 : Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot on Tuesday said Prime Minister Narendra Modi must take the lead in resolving the impasse with farmers.

He said the Centre”s invitation to farmer unions for talks is a step in the right direction, but taken too late.

“There is growing concern not only in the country but in other countries as well, where a sizable number of Persons of Indian Origin live, regarding protest of farmers in India. PM Modi ji must take the lead to resolve this impasse. Farmers” genuine demands must be met,” Gehlot tweeted.

The Centre on Tuesday offered to set up a committee to look into issues raised by farmers protesting against new farm laws, but it was rejected by representatives of 35 agitating organisations during their marathon meeting with three union ministers that ended without any resolution.

The meeting remained inconclusive and the government has called for another round of discussions on Thursday, December 3, union leaders said.

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Punjab CM slams AAP govt for implementing farm laws

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Amarinder Singh

Chandigarh, Dec 1: Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Tuesday hit out at the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) over their shocking double standards on the farmers’ protests, saying the party had exposed itself by implementing the draconian farm laws in the midst of the crisis while pretending to be standing with the farmers.

Even as AAP was claiming to be supporting the agitating farmers, the Arvind Kejriwal government in Delhi had brazenly executed the black laws through a gazette notification on November 23, the Chief Minister pointed out, adding the party was clearly indulging in political games to further its electoral agenda.

Quite clearly, AAP had been working behind the farmers’ backs all these days, said the Chief Minister, expressing shock at the fact that even before the farmers had embarked on their ‘Delhi Chalo’ march, the Kejriwal government had actually issued the notification which would spell the death-knell for the ‘annadattas’ in the national capital.

“Do they have no shame?” asked Amarinder Singh, slamming AAP for misleading the Kisan Unions by pretending to be supporting their cause while all this time, Kejriwal’s party was merely indulging in political theatrics.

“First they failed to pass any amendment laws in the Delhi Assembly to negate the central laws, as was done in Punjab. And now they have gone so far as to officially notify the agricultural legislations in Delhi, where AAP is in power. The party’s true intent and affiliation has been utterly exposed,” Amarinder Singh noted.

Responding to AAP’s criticism of his handling of the situation and for taking on Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar, the Chief Minister remarked that while he was busy fighting for the rights of his farmers, Kejriwal was preparing to pull the rug from under the feet of the farmers, who had been braving all kinds of atrocities by the Haryana government in their quest for justice.

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Nitish Kumar likely to expand cabinet in December

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Nitish Kumar Sad

Patna, Dec 1 : Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar is likely to expand his cabinet in December as the winter session of the assembly concluded in November after the formation of the new state government.

During this time the opposition parties, the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) and the Congress hurled political barbs at the ruling National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government.

There is wide speculation across the political spectrum especially with the opposition RJD claiming that not a single Muslim would be given a cabinet berth in the Nitish government.

Not a single Muslim candidate from the ruling NDA has reached the Bihar assembly so it is certain that if the Bihar CM wants to have a Muslim face in the cabinet, he would likely be a Legislative Council member.

During the recent Bihar elections, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) did not field a single Muslim candidate while the JD-U fielded 11.

As per the constitutional provisions, overall 36 ministers can be appointed in the state cabinet which at present has 13 ministers, including the Chief Minister. There are only four JD-U ministers besides Nitish Kumar. Twenty two more ministers are yet to be appointed.

Mevalal Chaudhary was also included as cabinet minister in the Nitish Kumar-led government but later resigned for alleged involvement in corruption. At present, all cabinet ministers have been assigned five departments each. Due to this Nitish Kumar may soon expand his cabinet regarding which he held a meeting with senior JD-U leaders on November 29.

Sources say that Nitish’s cabinet is likely to be expanded soon. If sources are to be believed, a meeting of the NDA would soon be held where Nitish would discuss the prospective names of MLAs to be inducted as ministers into the cabinet.

In this cabinet expansion, at least 10 new faces from the BJP could get an opportunity which may include MLAs who are young and belong to the Other Backward Classes (OBC) and the Dalit community.

The JD-U could also give an opportunity to new faces from the party in the cabinet expansion and may also include a Muslim minister.

After the Bihar election results, the JD-U is playing the role of the ‘younger brother’ in the NDA government since it had won less assembly seats than the BJP. The JD-U has already started planning its future political course of action.

A JD-U leader believes that as expected the party did not get the support of the Muslim voters in Bihar, whose brunt the party had to bear in the recent elections.

Nitish Kumar could try to send a message to the Muslim voters by giving a ministerial berth to a Muslim from the party.

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