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New Delhi, Feb 20 : Rahul Gandhi is set to return as party President in April, said party sources here in New Delhi on Thursday.

It is expected to be after the Budget Session and might coincide with Baisakhi, the harvest festival.

The Congress is mulling on calling a plenary session in April just to formalise Gandhi’s re-appointment.

In 2017, Rahul Gandhi was elected President unopposed following demand from different quarters of the party, but after the drubbing faced by the party in the 2019 General Elections that saw the Congress barely getting over 50 seats, losing out to even being called the Opposition, Gandhi resigned in May taking the responsibility of poll debacle.

Rejecting apprehensions, a party leader said: “The leader must be accepted from Mizoram to Porbandar and the party is considering all the factors in place. The leader has to be a homogeneous entity accepted to all.

“So nobody can guide us to chose our leader. It is the party which will decide who will lead the us. And not somebody from outside.”

The Congress Working Committee (CWC) appointed Sonia Gandhi as interim President in August last year.

While many party leaders have been demanding the appointment of the party president, including Shashi Tharoor, who has been advocating elections to the CWC, said: “I renew my appeal to CWC to hold leadership elections to energise workers and inspire voters.”

The Kerala MP added: “Some have asked who should vote for what. I was referring to my earlier call — eight months ago — for elections among the 10,000 party workers who constitute the ‘AICC plus PCC delegates’ list. These should be for the elected seats in the CWC as well as for the Party Presidency.”

While Congress has reacted sharply to Tharoor and other leaders statements, Randeep Surjewala the chief spokesperson said: “Those who are talking of CWC should go and read the resolution which appointed Sonia Gandhi as Interim head of the party.”

Maharashtra leader, Sanjay Nirupam said: “Its inane discussion. No one from outside the family can lead Congress at this juncture. RahulGandhi is the only leader who can lead the party and can save it. Other leaders are just a group leader & such leaders at the helm will encourage more groupism. Period!”

Nirupam’s reaction came after late Delhi Chief Minister Shiela Dikshit’s son, Sandeep Dikshit in an interview questioned the party’s “continued inaction” mode. And also named senior leaders who should contribute “more” in the decision making.

The working Committee will take a call as and when required, it had said.

The Congress has been decimated to its lowest level in the just concluded elections and once more the question of leadership is being raised from within the party.

The Congress leader said that if Rahul gandhi had been President the result could have been better in various state election especially in Haryana and Maharashtra.


Ahmed Patel welcomes cut in MPs’ allowances




Ahmed Patel
File Photo

New Delhi, April 6 (IANS) After the Union cabinet decided to reduce allowances of members of Parliament by 30 per cent for one year, Congress leader Ahmed Patel welcomed the step and said in difficult times it was necessary.

“As a Member of Parliament, I welcome the government decision to cut salaries of MPs. In this difficult time, this is the least we can do to help fellow citizens,” Patel tweeted.

The cabinet approved an ordinance amending the Salary, Allowances and Pension of Members of Parliament Act, 1954, reducing allowances and pension by 30 per cent for a year from April 1, 2020.

The Congress leader said the government should also scrap the central vista project to save money. “Apart from cutting salaries of MPs and Ministers, the central government can save more than Rs 20,000 crore by scrapping the central vista redevelopment project & cutting down on non-Covid-19 publicity expenses,” Patel tweeted.

The Cabinet also approved temporary suspension of MPLADS for 2020-21 and 2021-22 to manage the adverse impact of the Covid-19 outbreak in the country.

The President, the Vice-President and the Governors have also voluntarily decided to take a pay cut.

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Covid-19 knocks at Thackeray’s doorstep




uddhav thackeray

Mumbai, April 6 (IANS) Covid-19 has apparently reached the doorstep of Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray’s private residence ‘Matoshri’ in Bandra.

A tea-vendor selling tea near the VVIP home has been found Covid-19 positive, sending the state and health officials in a tizzy. As an immediate precaution, the BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) on Monday sprayed disinfectants in the entire locality and surroundings.

The police, BMC and state health authorities have sealed off most parts of Kala Nagar where the CM’s residence is located in Bandra east and now the tea-seller’s contact tracking is underway.

Contacted for their reaction, top aides of the CM and his office declined to comment on the matter, nor was it clear whether Thackeray was present at his residence on Monday.

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Share profit from fuel with Public: Congress




Modi Petrol Price

New Delhi, April 6 : The Congress has asked the government to share the “profit” of Rs 20 lakh crore earned in last six years from the sale of gas, diesel and petrol with the public as due to pandemic people are suffering the most. Give healing touch by “subventions, injections and subsidies”, the Congress said.

Addressing a Press Conference on Monday, senior spokesperson of the party Abhishek Manu Singhvi said, “BJP has to realise that it has to stop this process of solo profiteering. All profits are for them, all pain is for the common man. Instead of stealing touch, they have to understand how to give healing touch, you can give it by subventions, injections, subsidies”.

“Can’t you part with even 5 per cent of our GDP? USA parted with 10 per cent and around the corner with another 5 per cent, total 15 per cent of their GDP. Our Government cannot pocket this profit, it has to give it back to the farmers for diesel, give subsidies to farmers and migrant workers,” said Singhvi.

The party said lives of people are most important, followed by livelihood and It’s not a time for profiteering, it’s time for the government to do profit sharing. The important figure to be noted is that in March 2014, international oil prices were $108 per barrel & 6 years later on March 30, 2020 it was $23 per barrel, 18-19 year historic low. We all should know that a decrease in oil prices internationally benefits directly the Government of India. Petrol as of today is available at Rs 28 per litre as far as international price is concerned, but it is sold to us at Rs 74 per litre.

“It is important that in the nation’s economic grief, the Government has to give monetary relief. It has to be the nation’s monetary relief not the government’s monetary relief,” added Singhvi.

The Congress said that the price of LPG cylinder has risen from Rs 412 in May 2014 to Rs 858 currently. In just the last 6 months, there have been 6 hikes in LPG cylinder price and it is sad that in the middle of Corona month – March, 4 terrible hikes happened.

The party slammed the government for raising fuel prices by Rs 3 per litre on March 14 and on March 24 – finance bill passed sanctioning special duty on petrol, diesel and on the same day on March 24, lockdown was announced but the international crude was at $23 till March 30.

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