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Delay in making state-level changes in Haryana hurt Congress: Shashi Tharoor

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Shashi Tharoor

New Delhi, Oct 26 : Congress MP Shashi Tharoor agrees that the party was “stunned into negligence” by the defeat in the May general elections and as a result delayed state-level changes in Haryana which, had they happened six months earlier, could possibly have improved the party’s showing in the recent elections.

Tharoor said that a free and fair election was the best way of choosing the new Congress president but accepted that his was a lonely voice and possibly a minority of one. He said senior leaders of the Congress party were against choosing the new president by election because they believed it would create factionalism in the party and could also lead to a lopsided result. He revealed that he had discussed this with both Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi but refused to reveal their thinking.

Speaking about the new think-tank set up by Sonia Gandhi to determine the Congress party’s position on issues of critical importance, Tharoor said he did not know why he was not chosen as its member. As he put it, he cannot demand to be made a member. And if the party believes it doesn’t need him, it has a right to come to that conclusion. Though repeatedly asked he would not say whether he was disappointed by his exclusion. He said: “I’m available to the party whenever they need me and in whatever capacity”.

In a 45-minute interview to Karan Thapar, Tharoor said that the Congress party’s performance in Maharashtra and Haryana is a sign that it is reviving but this is only the very beginning of what is likely to be a lengthy process. He said that the recent state elections clearly suggest that economic issues such as unemployment and farmer distress are becoming more important than political issues such as national security and illegal immigration.

Tharoor readily acknowledged that in Maharashtra, where the NCP now has more seats than Congress both at the assembly and Lok Sabha levels, there is a need to re-think the relationship between the two allies. Today Congress is the junior partner. He praised Sharad Pawar’s tireless campaigning adding that it captured the imagination of the country.

However, Tharoor refused to accept that the Congress’s improved performance in Haryana, Maharashtra and in the by-polls, at a time when there was no major participation from the Gandhis, was a clear indication that the party could survive without the Gandhis and even perform better. But he accepted that in Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh in December and, now in Maharashtra and Haryana, voters have shown more faith in the Congress’s state and local leadership than in its national leadership.

Speaking about the divide in the Congress between the old guard and the young leadership, Tharoor said it was critical that both should find fair representation in the party. He believes that Bhupinder Singh Hooda, Capt. Amarinder Singh and Kamal Nath have shown that the party cannot do without the wisdom and experience of the elder generation but, equally, it needs to constantly infuse young blood into its ranks.

Tharoor also said that along with choosing a new president, the Congress party needs to choose new members for the Central Working Committee (CWC) and new general secretaries. He said that the party needs to enforce its own constitutional requirement that 12 members of the CWC are elected by the AICC and not nominated by the President. Tharoor also said that the Congress party should implement the block development council structure of party organization that exists in Kerala in states like Bihar and Uttar Pradesh.

Finally, speaking about the next session of Parliament which convenes on November 18, Tharoor was confident that the Congress, despite its depleted numbers, would make a significant impact opposing the BJP by the facts at the command of its speakers and the eloquence and force of their delivery.

Election

Jharkhand poll: Voting for 12 seats ends, 57.96% votes cast

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Jharkhand Assembly Election-min

Ranchi, Dec 12 : Voting ended for 12 of the 17 assembly seats at 3 p.m. in the third phase of the polls with 57.96 per cent votes being cast on Thursday.

The voting will end at 5 p.m. for the Ranchi, Hatia, Kanke, Ramgarh and Barkatha assembly seats.

There are a total of 309 candidates including 32 females whose fate will be decided by 56,06,743 voters including 26,73,991 women and 95 third gender. These 17 seats are spread across Ranchi, Hazaribagh, Chatra, Giridih, Bokaro, Koderma and Saraikela. More than 35000 security personnel have been deployed to ensure peaceful polling.

Jharkahnd Governor Draupdi Murmu cast her vote at ATI Ranchi while AJSU president Sudesh Mahtyo cast his vote along with his wife at Silli. Jayant Sinha cast his vote in Hazaribagh.

A newly married couple cast their votes at polling booth number 225 of Hazaribagh. Priyanka was married on Wednesday night and she came with her husband for voting on Thursday morning. Maoist leader Maharaja Parmanik’s parents cast their votes at Ichagarh.

In the third phase the key candidates are three ministers — CP Singh, Ramchandra Sahis and Neera Yadav, Former Chief Minister Babulal Marandi and former Deputy Chief Minister and All Jharkhand Students Union (AJSU) president Sudesh Mahto.

Of the 17 seats, BJP, JMM and Congress had won 10, three and two seats respectively in the 2014 Assembly elections.

There is a direct fight on between the BJP, Congress and JMM candidates on seven seats. For the Silli seat the fight is between AJSU president Sudesh Mahto and JMM sitting legislator Seema Devi. There is a triangular fight on six seats. For some seats the fight is four-cornered or multi-cornered.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Jharkahnd Chief Minister Raghubar Das have appealed to the voters to cast their votes.

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After defeat, Dinesh Gundu Rao resigns as KPCC president

The BJP had fielded 11 Congress and 3 JD-S defectors to wrest the seats from the opposition parties.

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Gundu Rao

Bengaluru, Dec 9 : Karnataka Congress president Dinesh Gundu Rao on Monday tendered his resignation to the party chief Sonia Gandhi, after the party suffered a massive defeat in the by-elections.

“Taking moral responsibility, I am resigning as the Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee president,” said Rao at the Congress office.

Rao said that the Congress thought people will not favour the defectors, yet the BJP won.

“Operation Kamala has been ratified by the people,” said Rao, describing the way BJP attracted and fielded the disqualified Congress lawmakers.

The BJP had fielded 11 Congress and 3 JD-S defectors to wrest the seats from the opposition parties.

Rao said he will meet Congress president and submit a detailed report about the party’s rout in the bypolls.

Earlier, following a humiliating defeat in the by-elections, Siddaramaiah also resigned as the leader of opposition in state Assembly.

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Rahul Gandhi questions PM’s silence over rape incidents

“Women and farmers are being targeted with bullets. Women cannot step out from their houses without fear,” Rahul said.

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Rahul Gandhi

Ranchi, Dec 9 : Former Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Monday hit out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi for maintaining silence over rape incidents in the country.

“India has become rape capital of the world. Prime Minister Narendra Modi maintains silence over rape incidents. His MLA in Uttar Pradesh was accused of a woman’s rape, he maintained silence. The women are being burnt, shot down and raped in the country but Modi maintains silence,” said Rahul Gandhi, while addressing a rally at Hazaribagh district’s Barkagao, where five farmers were killed while protesting land acquition by the state government two years ago.

“Women and farmers are being targeted with bullets. Women cannot step out from their houses without fear,” Rahul said.

“Modi claims protecting farmers. Whereas, the farmer’s land is being snatched. When farmers protest, they are killed. We had brought Land Acquisition Act to protect farmers’ land. As per the Act, farmers’ land cannot be acquired without permission of the Panchayat but MOdi opposed it. Modi asked his Chief Minister not to implement the Act,” said Rahul Gandhi.

“MOdi claims to fight against corruption, but his Jharkhand Chief Minister is the most corrupt politician,” he alleged.

He further targeted Modi on political issues such as demonetisation and GST.

“Modi’s face is shown on TV because your (People) money is being handed over to Adani and Ambani. Have you seen MOdi embracing farmers or poor people but you have seen him embracing the industrialists. This government is being run for only 10 to 15 industrialists. The PSUs are being handed over to these companies. The Centre is ending the government employees’ pension,” said Rahul Gandhi.

“Under UPA regime, the economy was growing and world used to learn from India. The economy of the country has worsened under Modi government. There is an environment of hatred in the country,” the former Congress chief said.

“Modi government is waiving loan of rich people but ignoring poor and farmers. This will not be tolerated. There cannot be two form in the country. We need single where loan of both poor, farmers and rich are waived off,” he added.

Rahul promised to increase minimum support price (MSP) of paddy from existing Rs 1300 per quintal to Rs 2500, waiving loan of farmers upto Rs 2 lakh and implementing 27 per cent reservation to back caste people. He also promised to implement the land acquisition Act in Jharkhand if voted to power.

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