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Congress to review poll performance on Rahul’s return

Rahul Gandhi has gone abroad to join his mother and party president Sonia Gandhi, who is outside the country for health checkup.

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Indian-National-Congress

New Delhi, March 20 : The Congress said on Monday that party’s central leadership will review its performance in the assembly polls and introspect on reasons for the party’s defeat in Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand.

Party leader P.L. Punia said that party’s Uttar Pradesh unit has already embarked on the exercise and discussed reasons for the party’s performance with all candidates who had contested. He said a review at the national level will be done on return of party vice-president Rahul Gandhi from his visit abroad.

“Congress party at the state level has already carried out the exercise and reviewed (the performance) with each and every candidate. I think at the national level, the review will take place once our senior leader Rahul Gandhiji is back from abroad,” Punia said.

Rahul Gandhi has gone abroad to join his mother and party president Sonia Gandhi, who is outside the country for health checkup.

The Congress won only seven of 105 seats it contested in alliance with the Samajwadi Party in Uttar Pradesh, the country’s most populous state that sends the largest number of MPs to Parliament.

Rahul Gandhi had talked of structural and organisational changes after the result of assembly polls to five states. While Congress badly lost in Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh, it emerged as the single-largest party in Goa and Manipur, but could not form the government in the two states. It won a decisive mandate in Punjab.

Congress leaders from Uttar Pradesh have suggested various reasons for the party’s debacle in the state including delay in stitching alliance with the Samajwadi Party and both parties fielding candidates on some seats.

Responding to a query on a reported poster outside the Uttar Pradesh Congress announcing a reward for searching poll strategist Prashant Kishor, Punia said no one in the party is looking for him.

“I do not think anybody from the Congress party is looking for him. Election is over and I think everything is now settled. People keep on playing such games. We have nothing to do with that,” Punia said.

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Bihar CM Nitish Kumar gets Z plus security

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Patna, Jan 20: The Union ministry of home affairs (MHA) has upgraded Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar’s security to Z plus category on basis of the latest threat perception. 

The Centre government was prompted to bestowed Kumar’s security after his cavalcade was attacked by a stone-pelting mob in Buxar last week in which several security personnel were injured, Hindustan Times reported.

Earlier Kumar was under Z category security cover.

The highest category of ‘Z plus’ protection is secured round the clock by at least 40 police personnel drawn from paramilitary forces, like the National Security Guard, Central Reserve Police Force, Indo Tibetan Border Police Force and Central Industrial Security Force.

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4 SDPI activists arrested over killing of ABVP activist Shyam

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Kerala, Jan 20: Four Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI) activists have been arrested by police in Kannur on Saturday in connection with the murder of ABVP activist Shyam Prasad.

Prasad, an ITI student, was hacked to death by a group of people in the district. He tried to flee but the gang chased and stabbed him with machetes, seriously injuring him.

Though locals rushed him to the government hospital at Koothuparamba, he died on the way, the police said.

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Congress wants Mani back in UDF, CPI says no place in LDF

For the past two days, the CPI-M leadership has started giving clear signals that Mani is no longer the ‘bad boy’ in Kerala politics.

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KM Mani

Thiruvananthapuram, Jan 19 : The Kerala Congress (Mani) with six legislators, currently sitting as an independent bloc in the Kerala Assembly, is being wooed by the Congress to return to the United Democratic Front (UDF), even as the Communist Party of India (CPI) says there is no place for it in the ruling Left Democratic Front (LDF).

On Friday, the Congress party made its overture to him, with former Chief Minister Oommen Chandy saying they would be glad if Mani returns to the UDF.

“Even though no talks in this respect have commenced, there is a strong feeling in the UDF that Mani should return to the UDF. This is our wish and Mani now has to take the call,” said Chandy.

In August 2016, the KC (M) led by veteran legislator K.M. Mani decided to leave the UDF, which they were part of for close to over three decades. Mani had said he was leaving because a section in the Congress party was responsible for the rout of the UDF in the May 2016 assembly polls.

Mani was under a cloud over the infamous bar scam case when a bar owner had alleged that he had paid Mani Rs one crore to reopen closed down bars in 2014. Following a huge onslaught by the then Left opposition, after an adverse remark from the Kerala High Court, Mani stepped down in November 2015.

Ever since Mani left the UDF, the CPI-M has been eyeing his party. Now, the bar scam case appears to have settled down, with the Vigilance probing the case on Wednesday submitting a preliminary report saying that there was no evidence to implicate Mani.

For the past two days, the CPI-M leadership has started giving clear signals that Mani is no longer the ‘bad boy’ in Kerala politics.

While the CPI-M overtly and otherwise has expressed that Mani should join the LDF, the CPI has always been against this. On Friday, CPI state secretary Kanam Rajendran said that while there is no bar on former Left allies (Janata Dal-U) to return, there is “no space for new allies“.

“The Reserve Bank of India has 66 note counting machines and Mani also has one such machine. (At the height of the bar scam, there were widespread reports that Mani was using a counting machine to count all the currency notes that he got as bribe). Also the LDF is not a ventilator to parties, that are on the death bed. Already we have a very good majority and we are not looking for new allies,” said Rajendran.

Mani has six legislators and his son Jose K. Mani is the Lok Sabha member from Kottayam. Mani has denied that the UDF has offered him the Wayanad Lok Sabha seat, if he fears that his son might not win from Kottayam for the third time.

“Who is saying all this and why should we ask for the Wayanad seat, when Kottayam is safe with us? I don’t have anything to say on this,” said Mani.

Already the Janata Dal-U led by media baron M.P. Veerendra Kumar left the UDF last week and they have been given the nod by the CPI-M to return to the LDF.

Mani holds prominence in constituencies like Kottayam, Pathanamthitta, Kozhikode and Wayanad, which are presently held by the Congress.

“Mani as soon as he gets cleared in the bar scam case, will join the LDF,” said a top leader in the know of things to IANS, but did not wish to be identified.

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