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Somen Mitra to head Congress in Bengal

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Somen Mitra

Kolkata, Sep 22 : The Congress on Friday appointed Somen Mitra as President of its West Bengal unit, replacing Adhir Ranajan Chowdhury who was bitterly anti-Trinamool Congress and pro-Left. Chowdhury will be the Chairman of the campaign committee.

Immediately after the announcement, Mitra said he would work to strengthen the party in the state ahead of the 2019 general elections.

“If we fail to strengthen the party’s organisation, we will not be able to get people’s support. Therefore, my first aim will be to strengthen the party in Bengal. We need collaborative cooperation by party leaders, activists and general people to achieve that goal,” he said.

Mitra, who takes over the reins of the state Congress after over two decades, refused to say whether his party would join hands with the state’s ruling Trinamool Congress to counter the rising clout of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the state.

“We cannot take a decision on that. Congress is a national party. So decisions taken by the state units do not have any value. If the party asks us, we will convey our opinion,” he said.

“I will talk to co-workers and party leaders and then take the call on this issue.”

“Party’s central leadership has given me this responsibility. They have shown confidence and belief on me. I have never asked for any post from any level of our party’s leadership,” he said responding to a query on the possible reasons for which he was handed over responsibility at the age of 75.

Mitra assured he would hold talks with the Congress MLAs who had been opposing Chowdhury’s leadership in the state.

Chowdhury had repeatedly claimed that he does not have any political understanding with the Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress and argued in favour of an alliance with the Left in 2019.

Besides the appointments of Mitra and Chowdhury, Congress President Rahul Gandhi also named Pradip Bhattacharya as the Chairman of the Coordination Committee.

Shankar Malakar, Nepal Mahato and Abu Hasem Khan Chowdhury have been named as Working Presidents.

Mitra, affectionately called “Chhorda” (youngest elder brother) by the Congress rank and file, has enjoyed a bitter sweet relations with Trinamool chief Mamata Banerjee. The two became arch-rivals when Banerjee started rising in the party hierarchy by leaving behind veteran leaders in the mid 1980s and the 1990s.

It was after losing to Mitra’s organisational might in the state Congress presidential election that Banerjee quit the party and formed the Trinamool in 1997.

Mitra, on the other hand, left the Congress in 2008 to float his own party, Pragatisheel Indira Congress, which he merged with the Trinamool in 2009. He won the Lok Sabha polls on a Trinamool ticket in 2009, but rejoined the Congress in 2014.

There have been reports of infighting within the Bengal Congress for some time, with several state party members writing to the central leadership seeking Chowdhury’s removal to revive the Congress in the state.

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Politics

Ashok Gehlot takes oath as Rajasthan CM, Sachin Pilot as his Deputy

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Jaipur, Dec 17: Veteran Congress leader Ashok Gehlot on Monday sworn-in as the Rajasthan Chief Minister, while Party state president Sachin Pilot as the Deputy Chief Minister.

Governor Kalyan Singh administered the oath of office to Gehlot and Pilot at Albert Hall here.

Gehlot took oath as Chief Minister for the third time, Pilot for the first time as Deputy Chief Minister.

Former Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh and Congress President Rahul Gandhi attended the event.

Former Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje, Congress leader Mallikarjun Khadge, former J&K Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah, former Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Tejashwi Yadav, DMK working President M.K. Stalin, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu, Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy and opposition leaders from across the country gathered in Rajasthan for the swearing-in ceremony.

Raje also extended her greetings to Ashok Gehlot, Sachin Pilot.

“Congratulate Shri @ashokgehlot51 ji and Shri @SachinPilot on taking oath as Chief Minister and Dy. Chief Minister of #Rajasthan. I wish you the best,” she tweeted.

The Congress bagged 99 seats of the 199 in the Rajasthan Assembly, just one short of the halfway mark to form the government. However, it has the support of the BSP which won six seats.

In the recently held polls, the  BJP settled for 73 seats.

WeForNews 

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Stalin proposes Rahul as PM candidate to defeat ‘fascist’ Modi

He said Rahul Gandhi had the capability to defeat the “fascist” Prime Minister Narendra Modi. “We will strengthen Rahul Gandhi’s hands.”

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File Pic (DMK Stalin Sonia Rahul Kani Raju)

Chennai, Dec 16 : Putting an end to lingering speculation, DMK President M.K. Stalin on Sunday proposed the name of Congress President Rahul Gandhi for the post of Prime Minister and said he had the strength to defeat the “fascist” Narendra Modi.

He made the announcement at a public rally here in the presence of United Progressive Alliance (UPA) Chairperson Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and Chief Ministers N. Chandrababu Naidu (Andhra Pradesh), Pinarayi Vijayan (Kerala) and V. Narayanasamy (Puducherry) and leaders of several other parties.

“I propose, we will install a new Prime Minister in Delhi. I propose the candidature of Rahul Gandhi from Tamil Nadu,” Stalin said.

He said Rahul Gandhi had the capability to defeat the “fascist” Prime Minister Narendra Modi. “We will strengthen Rahul Gandhi’s hands.”

The public meeting was held after Sonia Gandhi unveiled former Chief Minister and DMK President M. Karunanidhi’s bronze statute installed at the DMK headquarters Anna Arivalayam in Chennai.

Stalin said it was Karunanidhi who first welcomed late Prime Minister Indira Gandhi to provide a stable government and then urged Sonia Gandhi to lead the nation in 2004 and added that he was following his leader’s steps in proposing Rahul Gandhi to lead the nation.

“Twenty-one political parties have come together against Modi and more parties will join,” Stalin said.

Coming down heavily on Modi, the DMK leader said: “Modi is a sadist Prime Minister. He is implementing all the schemes opposed by Tamil Nadu.”

Stalin said when the Gaja cyclone killed about 65 persons and left a trail of destruction in Tamil Nadu, Modi remained silent.

On the other hand, Modi tweeted if there was a forest fire in the US and a terror attack somewhere else, he said.

According to Stalin, under the Modi government, India’s economy, social justice, federal structure and various institutions have been destroyed.

“India has gone back by 15 years during the first five years of Modi rule. The country will go back by 50 years if he gets another term,” Stalin said.

Modi considered himself as the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), Income Tax Department (IT) and even the Supreme Court.

Addressing the rally, Rahul Gandhi showered praise on Karunanidhi and said: “Karunanidhi was not an ordinary politician. He was the voice of Tamil people. Whether it was people’s pain or their joy, Karunanidhi treated both as his own.

“While Karunandihi defended the voice of people and the institutions, the central government attacks the voice of Tamil Nadu and the institutions,” he said.

Gandhi said the Modi government believed that only one idea should run India.

“We are not going to allow the destruction of the idea of India. We are not going to allow the destruction of institutions like the Supreme Court, Election Commission, Reserve Bank of India and others. And we are going to do this together.”

Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Naidu accused the central government of misusing various institutions said the next danger the country faced was the tampering of electronic voting machines (EVM).

Naidu said the BJP government had belied the people’s faith when they voted for it in 2014.

Sonia Gandhi described Karunanidhi as a social reformer and said he relentlessly fought for federalism.

She said Karunanidhi brought in laws that enabled non-Brahmins to become temple priests in the state and reserved jobs for women.

“A secularist and rationalist, Karunanidhi respected other religions,” she said.

She said the Congress would always remember Karunanidhi’s support to Indira Gandhi in the abolition of privy purse and nationalisation of banks.

“He was a great support and strength for the UPA government in 2004-14.”

Sonia Gandhi said the mutual support between the DMK and Congress that existed when Karunanidhi was alive would continue “to protect the India that we have known”.

The Chief Ministers of Kerala and Puducherry praised Karunanidhi on the occasion.

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No need of JPC on Rafale after apex court verdict: Akhilesh

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Lucknow, Dec 15 : Samajwadi Party (SP) chief Akhilesh Yadav on Saturday said that his party has given up its demand for a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) probe into the Rafale deal after Supreme Court verdict in the matter.

Yadav said at an event here that SP had demanded JPC when the apex court had not given its judgement.

“But now the Supreme Court verdict has come and it has looked at all aspects. If someone has to say something in the future, then the doors of Supreme Court are open,” he said.

“There is no bigger court than the Supreme Court and there is nothing bigger on which people have faith,” he added.

The stance of Samajwadi Party is at variance with Congress which is persisting with its demand for JPC into the Rafale jet deal with a French company.

Yadav’s remarks have come at a time when efforts are being made to bring opposition parties together against the BJP in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. The SP has offered support of its lone MLA to Congress in Madhya Pradesh after the Assembly elections.

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