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Tide is turning against Narendra Modi government: Shashi Tharoor

I must compliment the Prime Minister for his tireless efforts, boundless energy and personal time that he has put in the foreign policy and traveling, but sadly things have not moved beyond this.

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Lucknow, May 14 : The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has suffered an “irreparable and irreversible reputational damage” in the last four years, says Congress leader and former foreign diplomat Shashi Tharoor.

In the state capital to attend an event of the Indian Professional Congress — an outfit of the grand old party aimed at reaching out to professionals, the two-time MP from Thiruvananthapuram said a momentum was building against the Narendra Modi government and in 2019, the general elections results were sure to go against it.

On a warm Sunday afternoon, as Tharoor spoke to IANS — before the chargesheet in Sunanda Pushkar death case was filed on Monday, he claimed the Karnataka Assembly polls were going the Congress way.

But not attaching much importance to Karnataka, which he said was just a “way station”, the 62-year-old Congress leader said that elections in Gujarat, where Congress inched “astonishingly close” to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in many constituencies, showed that the tide was now turning against the saffron camp.

The former Union Minister, who currently is the Chairman of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on External Affairs, also pointed out how defeats of the BJP in party strongholds like Gorakhpur and Phulpur in Uttar Pradesh recently had rendered a body blow to the party’s dream to return to power in 2019.

“What the BJP government and Prime Minister Modi has done in the past four years in power?” he asked, slamming them on the twin issues of Goods and Service Tax (GST) and demonetisation.

“GST was a good idea, which implemented in haste and in bad taste, has affected the whole tax system,” he said while pointing out how even the best global economists had come down heavily on the GST, even calling it the most complex tax system.

“Only the ones eating out of their hands think otherwise,” said the erudite Congress Lok Sabha member, who is knowing for his quaint words and subtle expressions.

Sweating profusely due to the sweltering heat and humidity, when the diplomat-turned-politician was asked if this sweat was symbolic of the challenging task the Congress was facing to make a comeback in the state, Tharoor gave a big smile and ducked the question.

“Well there are ifs and buts here and there, but with growing resentment against the BJP-led government at the Centre and the Congress being the biggest opposition party, we are set to be the natural beneficiaries,” he said confidently.

On Monday, the Delhi Police filed charges against Tharoor in the death of his wife Sunanda Pushkar, naming him as one of the accused. The charges were filed in the court of metropolitan magistrate under Indian Penal Code sections related to cruelty against a woman and abetment to suicide. Pushkar was found dead in a luxury hotel room in New Delhi on January 17, 2014.

In his interview he charged the Modi dispensation of rechristening the names of many schemes and welfare programmes of the Congress-led UPA governments and rolling them out as their own.

Asked to comment on whether Congress President Rahul Gandhi when pitted against Prime Minister Modi had a certain disadvantage, Tharoor was quick in his defense of the Gandhi scion, saying: “India has a parliamentary system and not a presidential one, which though has its own merits, does not fit in the Indian context.”

The Congress had its own brand of politics, while the BJP pursued the politics of one man, he said.

Asked whether it was not the “one family” brand of politics that prevailed in the Congress, he rebutted, saying that Rahul Gandhi, soon after his ascendancy. had made it clear that in Congress, every worker and leader mattered.

Coming to his favorite topic of international relations and foreign policy, the dapper Congress leader surprisingly had a back-handed pat for Modi.

“I must compliment the Prime Minister for his tireless efforts, boundless energy and personal time that he has put in the foreign policy and traveling, but sadly things have not moved beyond this.”

Sadly, he said, the foreign policy was being treated in an “episodical manner” by the NDA government, something which had given mistrust and a sense of insecurity in and around the immediate neighbourhood.

Asked how the transition from the United Nations to the hurly burly of politics in India had been when he was fielded as a Congress candidate in Kerala in 2009 and his face lighted up with a smile: “Initially it was pretty tough and I had very many stab wounds in the back and front… But that kind of has stabilized now,” he said.

By : Mohit Dubey

(Mohit Dubey can be contacted at [email protected])

Election

Bihar: Congress gears for ‘Mahila Kranti Sammelan’ to be addressed by Priyanka Gandhi

As preparations are underway for the women’s conference, Congress is booking cinema halls and auditoriums in all the districts of Bihar so that women can see and hear Priyanka Gandhi on a big screen

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Priyanka Gandhi Vadra

New Delhi [India], September 27 : As women have been hailed as the ‘silent force’ behind Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s electoral victories in Bihar, the Congress party has decided to woo them by launching ‘Mahila Kranti Sammelan’ ahead of the State Assembly polls.

According to sources, the party general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra will address this conference through virtual mode, which is likely to be held in the second week of October.

“We are preparing to hold a huge women’s conference. For this, we have sought time from Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi,” a top Congress said.

As preparations are underway for the women’s conference, Congress is booking cinema halls and auditoriums in all the districts of Bihar so that women can see and hear Priyanka Gandhi on a big screen.

The party has decided to install screens in rural areas as well. Apart from this, a large number of women will also be connected through mobile phones and social media. The aim of the party is that about 50,000 women from all over Bihar directly participate in the conference and in addition, about 5,00,000 people join the sammelan through social media, the source added.

Earlier, virtual conferences held in North Bihar were more successful than expected. Now, with the elections coming closer, the party is planning to arrange everything in a larger manner with campaigning by the top leadership of the party. For this, a platform will be set up in the national capital, from where big leaders will send a message to the people of Bihar.

It is to note that in Bihar, Congress is contesting on the faces of Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra. In such a situation, the party is dependent on them to woo the larger audience in Bihar. Along with Priyanka Gandhi’s women’s conference, virtual rallies of Rahul Gandhi are also being planned ahead of the Assembly polls in Bihar. In the first week of August, Rahul Gandhi had addressed the party workers of Bihar through video conferencing.

In Bihar, the main challenge before Congress is to get more seats in an alliance with the RJD.

Bihar has elections scheduled in three phases from October 28 to November 7. The counting of votes will take place on November 10.

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India

Karnataka’s Congress MLA Gundu Rao tests corona positive

As about 60 legislators and scores of legislature Secretariat staff tested positive, the 8-day session was curtailed to 6 days and adjourned sine die on Saturday night.

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Gundu Rao

Bengaluru, Sep 27 : Karnataka’s Congress legislator Dinesh Gundu Rao tested coronavirus positive and was sent in home isolation, an official said on Sunday.

“Rao’s swab sample result, which came earlier in the day, was positive. He is presently in isolation at his home in the city,” party spokesman Ravi Gowda told IANS.

Rao, 50, is a fifth-time legislator from Gandhinagar segment in Bengaluru central suburb.

“I have tested crona positive today. Therefore, will be quarantining myself for 10 days. I request all my primary contacts to get checked and take precautions,” Rao tweeted.

Rao attended the truncated 6-day Monsoon Session of the Assembly at Vidhana Soudha in the city centre till Saturday night.

“Rao attended the Assembly session from September 21, after he tested negative in mandatory corona test he took along with other lawmakers on September 18 and was well till yesterday (Saturday),” Gowda recalled.

Rao was the party’s state unit President till March and is the party’s Tamil Nadu unit incharge. He was a Minister in the Siddaramaiah-led Congress government in 2015-16.

“Rao visited Chennai on September 25 and met the party’s Tami Nadu unit members and DMK President MK Stalin before returning to the city on Saturday morning,” Gowda added.

As about 60 legislators and scores of legislature Secretariat staff tested positive, the 8-day session was curtailed to 6 days and adjourned sine die on Saturday night.

Those infected include Deputy Chief Ministers Govind Karjol and CN Ashwath Narayan, Home Minister Basavarj Bommai, Food and Civil Supplies Minister K Gopalaiah, Urban Development Minister Byrathi Basavaraj, and Animal Husbandry Minister Prabhu Chauhan.

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India

Uma Bharti tests Coronavirus positive

Uma Bharti said that she is at Vande Mataram Kunj located between Haridwar and Rishikesh and she will undergo a test again after four days.

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Uma Bharti

Former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Uma Bharti has tested positive for the Coronavirus. She is in quarantine at Vande Mataram Kunj located between Haridwar and Rishikesh in Uttarakhand.

Bharti gave the information through Twitter. “I want to bring it in your notice, that on the last day on my mountain journey I called up a Corona test team following the request by the administration because I had mild fever for last three days. Despite following all legal prohibition for Covid-19 and social distancing at Himalayas I have turned out to be Corona positive,” she tweeted late Saturday.

She said, “Right now I am at Vande Mataram Kunj located between Haridwar and Rishikesh which is like my family. I will undergo a test again after four days and if the situation persists then I will take a decision in consultation with doctors.”

Bharti also urged people, who came into her contact, to get themselves tested for coronavirus.

“All… who came into my contact… I appeal to them to get their corona tests done and take precautions,” she said.

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