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Manmohan Singh to campaign in Gujarat, meet SMEs over demonetisation, GST

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Gandhinagar, Nov 6: With the Gujarat atmosphere charged with election fever, the Congress is hoping to cash in on the anti-incumbency factor and the general dissatisfaction over demonetisation and GST, and will pitch former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to campaign for the party on Tuesday.

The Congress is holding a meeting for the business community in Ahmedabad on Tuesday which will be addressed by the senior party leader and noted economist.

Singh will address representatives of small and medium businesses, who have grudges against the GST and note ban which hit their businesses hard. The event will be the former Prime Minister’s sole event in Ahmedabad.

The ruling BJP is worried over the growing turnout at Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi’s rallies and meetings across the state.

Earlier, Singh’s event was to be held at the Gujarat Chamber of Commerce and Industries (GCCI) premises and the Congress had circulated written information about it. But the venue was shifted to Sardar Patel Memorial in Shahibaug.

Congress spokesperson Manish Doshi on Monday confirmed that the venue has been shifted. However, he did not attribute any reason for it.

However, sources said that the GCCI platform has of late been turned into a political one. A social gathering held recently for members was addressed by Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani, who turned it into a political address. This irked many members who said the chamber was not a place for such political propaganda.

IANS

Election

Kamal Nath is new Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh

“Rahul Gandhi has chosen Kamal Nath as the Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister,” party observer A.K. Antony said at the legislature party meeting.

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Bhopal, Dec 14 : Congress leader Kamal Nath was on Thursday chosen as the new Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh, heralding Congress rule in the state after 15 years.

Kamal Nath, who flew in here late in the evening, was formally chosen leader of the state Congress legislature party after party President Rahul Gandhi decided on his name over the other aspirant Jyotiraditya Scindia.

“Rahul Gandhi has chosen Kamal Nath as the Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister,” party observer A.K. Antony said at the legislature party meeting.

Kamal Nath told the gathering that he would fulfil all the promises made in the party’s manifesto.

“I assure every voter of Madhya Pradesh that we will fulfil our promises. The people have stood with the truth,” he said.

He thanked the party workers for effectively taking the message to people in the Assembly elections.

Later, talking to reporters, Kamal Nath said he would meet the state Governor Anandiben Patel on Friday morning to decide on the day and time of his swearing in.

“I shall strive to be true to the trust that the people of Madhya Pradesh have reposed in me,” he said.

Kamal Nath was accompanied at the meeting by Scindia. Both Kamal Nath and Scindia flew to Bhopal late in the evening after four-hour-long consultations with Gandhi.

An apparent reason for Congress President Rahul Gandhi choosing Kamal Nath over Scindia as Chief Minster is the nature of verdict in the state where the party is short of majority by two seats.

The Congress won 114 seats, two seats short of majority in a tight contest, while the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) finished a close second with 109 seats in the 230-member House.

The party is dependent on the Independents to cross the half-way mark even as the Bahujan Samaj Party and the Samajwadi Party have extended the support of their three MLAs. Kamal Nath is seen as someone who can deftly manage allies and supporting parties.

The decision came two days after the election results were declared in Madhya Pradesh.

Kamal Nath, a former Union Minister, was appointed Madhya Pradesh Congress chief only seven months back and immersed himself in preparations for the Assembly polls in the state where the BJP had been in power for 15 years.

He is the senior-most member of the Lok Sabha, having won nine elections.

Although the Congress is also poised to form governments in Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh, no decision has yet been taken on the Chief Ministers in the two states.

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Gehlot emerges top choice for Rajasthan CM, Pilot puts up spirited claim

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New Delhi/Jaipur, Dec 14 : Veteran Congress leader Ashok Gehlot on Thursday emerged Rahul Gandhi’s pick as the Chief Minister in Rajasthan, but suspense continued the with state party chief Sachin Pilot putting up his claim strongly as the two leaders had late night meetings with the Congress President.

Both Pilot and Gehlot had separate meetings with Gandhi, unlike in Madhya Pradesh where the two aspirants — Kamal Nath and Jyotiraditya Scindia — had met him together.

Party observer for Rajasthan K. C. Venugopal, who was also at the meetings, told the media later that taking decision on leadership was not easy but it will be announced on Friday.

“Taking decision on CM is not an easy job. The final decision will be taken tomorrow in a meeting to be held here around 10 a.m.,” he said.

Pilot, who had a meeting with Gandhi earlier in the day, reached Gandhi’s residence at 10.30 p.m on Thursday.

The meeting came hours after the leadership issue was settled in Madhya Pradesh, with Gandhi tweeting his picture with Kamal Nath and Scindia, who were both chief ministerial aspirants. The smiling picture carried the line “The two most powerful warriors are patience and time – Leo Tolstoy.”

Kamal Nath was chosen as the new Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh and both he and Scindia flew down to Bhopal to announce the decision.

Party sources said Gandhi is keen to give a similar message for Rajasthan as well.

Both in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh, the Congress missed the majority mark by two seats and is now dependent on some external support.

Pilot, who stayed put in Delhi, appealed to party workers to maintain peace and saying that he would “welcome” any decision that will be taken by the party.

He issued the appeal on Twitter as reports emerged that Gehlot has been picked by the party leadership to lead the government and that his (Pilot’s) supporters were protesting on the streets demanding that Pilot should be made the Chief Minister.

The name of 67-year-old Gehlot, a two-time Chief Minister, is expected to be announced by the party on Friday.

Earlier, Gehlot and Pilot met Rahul Gandhi. UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi is understood to have counselled Rahul Gandhi over relying on “experience” as it was a verdict with a narrow margin of victory and a seasoned leader would be better equipped to deal with a situation in which the party would need the backing of MLAs belonging to BSP and Independents, who won 13 seats. Most of them are Congress rebels.

The party won 99 seats and with its pre-poll alliance partner it managed to touch the halfway mark in the 200-member Assembly.

Pilot reportedly put up a strong claim to the post on the ground that he had galvanised the party after the defeat in 2013, when he was appointed the state party chief.

Gehlot, who was planning to leave for Jaipur but was asked to stay back in Delhi, also appealed to workers to maintain peace and said any decision taken by the leadership will be acceptable to all.

Asked by the media why he returned from the airport, he said he could leave at night or on Friday accompanied by central party observer K.C. Venugopal and Avinash Pande, who is the party in charge in the state.

About the delay in announcing a decision, Gehlot said: “Such decisions take time because three states are involved. It is good that the leadership has decided to consult various leaders and workers.”

Replying to another question, he said, “What right BJP has to question us on the decisions? A signal has gone from the elections to the country that those who created an atmosphere of hate have been wiped out from the Hindi heartland. And this is what will happen in the Lok Sabha elections too.”

On Tuesday and Wednesday, the central Congress observers met the newly elected MLAs in a bid to find out who they would prefer as Chief Minister.

The MLAs authorised Gandhi to take the call on the Chief Minister’s name.

Both Gehlot and Pilot had also called on Governor Kalyan Singh on Wednesday evening and staked claim to form the government. Both contested the Assembly elections and won their seats.

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Taking Inputs from MLAs, Workers: Rahul Gandhi on New Chief Ministers

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New Delhi, Dec 13: Congress President Rahul Gandhi Thursday said that the names of Rajasthan, Chhatisgarh and Madhya Pradesh chief ministers will be announced soon.

Speaking to media, Gandhi stated ” We are taking inputs from different people in the party. We are taking inputs from MLAs, from workers. You will see a Chief Minister soon”.

KC Venugopal, All India Congress Committee observer for Rajasthan, chief ministerial hopefuls Sachin Pilot and Ashok Gehlot and other are in New Delhi to meet the Congress president.

Earlier in a day, All India Congress Committee’s observer for Chhattisgarh, Mallikarjun Kharge stated “All MLAs have unanimously authorised AICC President Rahul Gandhi to select Congress Legislative Party (CLP) leader (for Chhattisgarh). Whatever decision he takes, the MLAs are ready to accept”.

“We can’t make the conclusion of confidential discussion public. MLAs are given the rights that they can express their individual opinions, nothing will be disclosed for now. Decision on CM candidate (Chhattisgarh) should be taken by today”, On Chhattisgarh CM candidate, party leader TS Singh Deo told media.

Prior to this, Venugopal and state-in-charge Avinash Pandey were here on Wednesday to attend a Congress Legislature Party meeting of the newly-elected MLAs, who were to give their views on Chief Minister.

As per the reports, the meeting held for around eight hours but no consensus could be reached.

Eventually, it was decided that the Congress President would take the final call.

WeForNews 

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