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Sonia Gandhi chairs Lok Sabha MPs’ meet ahead of monsoon session

The party plans to raise the Narendra Modi government’s “mishandling” of Covid-19 crisis as the main issue. The other issues to be raised are India-China stand-off, rising petrol and diesel prices, and impact of lockdown on industries.

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Sonia Gandhi in Cong meeting

New Delhi, July 11 : Congress interim chief Sonia Gandhi, here on Saturday, chaired a virtual meeting of party’s Lok Sabha members to discuss the strategy for the upcoming monsoon session of Parliament, including India-China face-off, lockdown’s fallout and economic situation.

The meeting was attended by all 52 Congress MPs, including former party chief Rahul Gandhi.

The meeting also comes in the wake of government tightening noose around foundations related to the party. The government has set up an inter-ministerial panel to probe into various alleged violations by the Gandhi family”s Rajiv Gandhi Foundation, Rajiv Gandhi Charitable Trust and Indira Gandhi Memorial Trust.

The leader said Rahul Gandhi, MP from Kerala”s Wayanad, also spoke on issues, like the government”s handling of the Covid-19 and the border standoff with China.

“We apprised Sonia Gandhi about problems in holding committee meetings as well as the decision on MPLADS fund,” the MP said and added it was up to the government to convene the session. But most members felt there should not be any more delay.

According to a party MP, about half a dozen of Lok Sabha members stressed the need for Rahul Gandhi to return to the top party post. Several MPs reiterated their demand to bring back Rahul Gandhi to lead the party, said another MP.

Sonia Gandhi also asked MPs about the relevant issues to be raised in the House.

The party plans to raise the Narendra Modi government’s “mishandling” of Covid-19 crisis as the main issue. The other issues to be raised are India-China stand-off, rising petrol and diesel prices, and impact of lockdown on industries.

They also talked about the urgent need for convening Parliament session with social distancing protocol, the MP said.

India

From Booth-level Worker To Congress’s ‘Babbar Sher’: Rajiv Tyagi’s Ascent Through Forceful TV Debates

Over the past year, Rajiv Tyagi had become a regular face on TV debates, particularly on Hindi news channels, passionately defending his party.

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Rahul Gandhi

Congress spokesperson Rajiv Tyagi passed away Wednesday evening after suffering a massive cardiac arrest. Shortly before his demise, Tyagi had appeared in a debate on a Hindi news channel alongside BJP’s Sambit Patra and other panelists to discuss Tuesday’s communal flare up in Bengaluru. Soon after the debate got over, Tyagi collapsed at his residence in Vaishali locality of Ghaziabad and was rushed to a private hospital at around 6.30 PM where doctors tried to resuscitate him for nearly 45 minutes but failed.

An aggressive critic of the BJP, 49-year-old Tyagi had risen up the ranks in the Congress over the past 20 years from an ordinary booth level worker to become the party’s national spokesperson in January last. It was a chance interaction with Rahul Gandhi back in 2005 during a workshop of the Congress party’s youth workers from across the country that put Tyagi’s political career on a steadily ascendant path. Gandhi was, at the time, trying various ways to revive the Congress party’s frontal organisations, the Indian Youth Congress and the NSUI, in his bid to give younger party workers a greater say in the organisation. Impressed with Tyagi’s commitment to the party and his ability to make cogent arguments on various issues, Gandhi ensured that the young party leader got his political due. Between 2005 and 2019, Tyagi served in the Uttar Pradesh Congress as a general secretary and spokesperson before being elevated to the party’s team of national spokespersons. It was, thus, no surprise that when reacting to the news of Tyagi’s sudden demise, Gandhi said the party had lost a “babbar sher” whose “love for the Congress and struggle will always be remembered.” Later, interim Congress president Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra also called up Tyagi’s wife to personally express their condolences while several party leaders went to the Tyagi residence to pay their respects to their departed colleague.

Over the past year, Tyagi had become a regular face on TV debates, particularly on Hindi news channels, passionately defending his party despite often antagonistic news anchors. Last year, he had famously hit out at an anchor, using expletives, when he was repeatedly interjected while trying to make his point. Tyagi refused to back down and ever since that heated TV debate, he would often use the same expletives for that anchor while chiding him on Twitter or other social media platforms.

When several members of the Congress media department began adopting a forceful approach on TV debates in recent months – in part due to violently acerbic tenor of their BJP rivals but perhaps also, to a great measure, due to what the party believes was a deliberate attempt by large several media outlets, to only present the ruling party’s views – Tyagi firmly believed this was “the only way our view can be heard”.

On Wednesday too, as Tyagi made his last TV debate appearance, he was mocked repeatedly by Patra while the anchor made token interjections to stop the BJP spokesperson’s personal attacks against the Congress rival who kept requesting – “please let me speak”. This was, of course, not the first time that Patra and Tyagi had got into a vicious exchange on live TV, the verbal scuffles had become a regular affair in recent months, nor was this news anchor’s evidently partisan handling of the debate, giving Patra a free pass to call rivals various names, a new thing.

As leaders across political parties, including Patra, expressed their shock and condolences at Tyagi’s passing, RJD MP and spokesperson Manoj Jha had a message that media outlets, TV channels in particular, would do well to take note of. Stating that he witnessed Tyagi’s final debate shortly before the leader passed away, Jha tweeted, “I request you all (owners of TV news channels) with folded hands: stop these debates that harvest hate and intolerance otherwise it will mark the end of this country… no one will survive.”

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India

Congress blames ‘toxic’ TV debate for Rajiv Tyagi’s untimely demise

“Till when will toxic debates and venomous spokespersons continue to kill sober and simple people? Till when TV channels will continue to run the TRP business through such debates? Surjewala tweeted

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Randeep Surjewala

New Delhi, Aug 13 : The Congress has blamed ‘toxic’ TV debate for the untimely demise of its spokesperson Rajiv Tyagi, who passed away on Wednesday after suffering a cardiac arrest.

The Congress leader had attended a television debate at 5 p.m. and complained of chest pain soon after the programme ended. He then fell unconscious and was rushed to the Yashoda Hospital, where doctors pronounced him dead.

Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala tweeted, “Till when will toxic debates and venomous spokespersons continue to kill sober and simple people? Till when TV channels will continue to run the TRP business through such debates? Till when will divisive communal agenda continue to poison the soul of the country? Till when? #rajiv_tyagi.”

Congress interim President Sonia Gandhi, former party chief Rahul Gandhi and senior leader Priyanka Gandhi spoke to Tyagi’s wife and extended their condolences.

Rahul Gandhi said in a tweet, “Congress has lost a lion. We will always remember his love for the party. My condolences are with the family.”

“Shocked to hear about the tragic demise of Shri Rajiv Tyagi. He was too young and had a long life ahead of him. It is a big loss for the party. My heart goes out to his family & wellwishers. May God give them the strength in this hour of grief,” tweeted senior leader Ahmed Patel.

A resident of Ghaziabad, Tyagi was a member of the Uttar Pradesh Congress before becoming the party’s national spokesperson.

The Congress in a statement said, “We are deeply saddened by the sudden demise of Rajiv Tyagi, a staunch Congressman and a true patriot. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends in this hour of grief.”

Congress leader Jitin Prasada said, “I am shocked and deeply saddened by his untimely demise.”

BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra said, “I can’t believe that my friend Rajiv Tyagi is not with us any more. He was in a debate with me at 5 p.m. Life is uncertain.”

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Cities

Action against cops after Aligarh incident involving MLA

After the incident, about half a dozen BJP MLAs conveyed to the chief minister that they wanted action against the police officer who reportedly misbehaved with Sahyogi.

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BJP MLA Rajkumar Sahyogi

Lucknow, Aug 12 : The Yogi Adityanath government in Uttar Pradesh has suspended the station officer of Gonda police station, Anuj Kumar Saini, who was involved in an alleged brawl with BJP MLA Rajkumar Sahyogi.

Superintendent of Police rural Atul Sharma has also been transferred after the incident which took place earlier on Wednesday.

Chief minister Yogi Adityanath has asked the IG zone to probe the incident.

After the incident, about half a dozen BJP MLAs conveyed to the chief minister that they wanted action against the police officer who reportedly misbehaved with Sahyogi.

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