Bharat Jodo Yatra

Bharat Jodo Yatra Likely To Conclude On Republic Day

In view of the upcoming 2024 Lok Sabha elections and state assembly elections, the Congress party has taken a big decision for the selection of a special day for the Bharat Jodo Yatra.

According to sources, in this context, the Congress has decided that the Bharat Jodo Padyatra, which started from Kanyakumari on September 7, will conclude on January 26 in Kashmir covering a distance of about 3500 km.

“In fact, the Congress was going to end this yatra by hoisting the tricolour in Srinagar on February 20, but now under the new strategy, Rahul Gandhi will conclude his yatra by hoisting the tricolour in Srinagar on Republic Day,” said sources.

According to Congress sources, after January 26, a plenary session of the Congress will also be held before February 7, in which the name of Congress Party President Mallikarjun Kharge will be approved, after which the new Congress Working Committee will be formed.

Immediately after that major changes will also be made in the Congress organisation which have been postponed for a long time. A Meeting of the Steering Committee is also scheduled to be convened on December 4 at Party Headquarters in Delhi and three issues from Bharat Jodo Yatra, Plenary Session and Organizational Matters are on the Agenda, said the Congress sources.

In fact, Congress felt that it was impractical to undertake major organisational programs and changes in the midst of Rahul’s Padayatra while delaying them could harm the party in future elections. That’s why a way has been found by cutting down the time by choosing a favourable day of 26th January for the yatra.

If sources are to be believed, in that case, the target of January 26 will be achieved by increasing the daily distance of the journey a little, reducing the number of days in the coming states like UP, and Delhi and this will not make any difference in the journey. (ANI)

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Congress Delegation Meets Election Commission

Cong Delegation Meets EC, Seeks Ban On Opinion Polls

A Congress party delegation on Wednesday met the Election Commission seeking a ban on the opinion polls before the elections.

Congress leader Rajeev Shukla, who was a part of the delegation, said that the opinion polls try to predict the results of the elections in a biased way.
He said that the party has also asked for proper security of ballot papers, especially in Gujarat.

Congress also alleged that when Prime Minister Narendra Modi or any other big BJP leader comes for election campaigning in a state, the opposition leaders aren’t allowed to enter with their helicopters.

Polling for 68 assembly seats in Himachal Pradesh was held on November 12, with the state recording a 75.6 percent turnout, breaking the 2017 record, whose results are scheduled to be declared on December 8

Meanwhile, the Assembly elections in Gujarat are scheduled to be held in two phases on December 1 and December 5, whose results will be declared on December 8, coinciding with that of the Himachal Assembly polls. (ANI)

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DNA of Gandhi Family

DNA of Gandhi Family And Congress Party Is Same: Tharoor

Congress leader Shashi Tharoor on Saturday drew an analogy between the Gandhi family and the DNA of the party and said that no party chief can distance himself from the Gandhi family, asserting that he is contesting the party’s presidential elections to bring a ” change” in the grand old party.

He called the family an asset to the party and said that no matter who becomes the Congress president after the party’s internal polls on October 17, he cannot be “such a fool” to tell “goodbye” to the Gandhi family.

Speaking to ANI before embarking on his visit to various parts of the country to campaign for the party polls, Tharoor said, “Gandhi family and Congress’ DNA is the same.” No (party) president is such a fool to tell “Goodbye” to the Gandhi family. They are a huge asset to us. “

Reiterating that he represents a “change” in the party twice within 24 hours of filing his nomination at the AICC office in the national capital on Friday, the Congress leader said that if the party leaders and workers are “satisfied” with the “working of the party”, they should vote for Mallikarjun Kharge, who is his opponent in the race to the top post in the party.

Tharoor stressed that the contest between him and Kharge is “not a battle” and it should be left upon the Congress workers to choose between the duo.

“This isn’t a battle… Let party workers choose, that’s our message. I’m saying that if you’re satisfied with the party’s work, vote for Kharge Sahab. If you want a change, I’m there. But there’s no ideological problem. “There will not be any change in the message of the Congress party,” he said.

Noting that all the decisions are being taken by the Central leadership in the party, Tharoor emphasized on giving rights to the lower levels of the organization to take decisions.

“All the decisions are being taken in New Delhi these days. It would be good for the party if the rights to take decisions are given to the grassroots at the levels of the blocks, Zilla, and states,” he said.

Notably, in the manifesto released by Tharoor soon after filing his nomination, he mentioned the need for “decentralization” in the party.

Talking about his decision to run for the party’s top post, he said that he intended to contest when the election was announced, which was backed by the party workers.

“The internal democracy that we are showing is not present in any other party. When the election was announced, I had the intention (to contest). I wrote an article, stating that the election is good for the party and mentioning its reasons, “he said.

“After that several people, ordinary workers told me to contest the poll. I started thinking and talking to people…I just want the party to strengthen and that I become a voice of the changes within the party and show its different face to people,” Tharoor added.

Tharoor and Kharge are up against each other in the race for the post of Congress president.

Digvijaya Singh pulled out from the race yesterday and extended his support to Kharge, who he said is a senior and respected leader of the party, and against whom he “cannot think of contesting”.

Singh is the second Congress leader to pull out of the race after Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot announced he would not contest the elections following the political turmoil in his state.

With the Gandhis not running for the top post, the grand old party is all set to get a non-Gandhi president after over 25 years.

The results of the party polls will be declared on October 19. (ANI)

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Congress Is Finished In Gujarat: Kejriwal

Delhi Chief Minister and Aam Aadmi Party supremo Arvind Kejriwal on Tuesday claimed that the Congress party is “finished” in Gujarat, where assembly polls will be held later this year.

Kejriwal’s claim came in response to a reporter’s question regarding a Congress leader’s allegation during his visit to the poll-bound state, where AAP is presenting itself as a strong contender and alternative to the ruling BJP.
Congress had alleged that the AAP government in Punjab is spending crores on ads for the Gujarat polls whereas Punjab is “on the brink of bankruptcy”.

Responding to the allegation, Kejriwal said, “Congress is finished. You should stop taking their questions. People no more care about their questions.”

Notably, the AAP supremo has urged the people on multiple occasions not to “waste their votes” on Congress.

Kejriwal has pitched AAP as the “only alternative” to the BJP in the state.

After its landslide victory in the recently held Punjab Assembly elections, AAP is seeking to expand its footprints in other states.

AAP had made its debut in Gujarat in the 2017 Assembly polls, but could not open its account.

AAP’s hopes in Gujarat have been fuelled by its performance in the February 2021 Surat Municipal Corporation (SMC) polls in which BJP won 93 seats, while Aam Aadmi Party bagged 27 seats and the Congress drew a blank.

Meanwhile, in the 2017 Assembly elections, Congress had given a scare to the ruling BJP by restricting its MLAs to 99 and winning 77 seats on its own. There are 182 assembly seats in Gujarat. (ANI)

First Non-Gandhi Prez

To Survive, Congress Needs A Major Split

Here’s a quick question. How many times do you think India’s so-called Grand Old Party, the Indian National Congress, has split since its inception in 1885? The answer is: at least 70 times. The splits have often been small regional ones such as when Chittaranjan Das and Motilal Nehru broke away in 1923 to form the Swaraj Party in what was then the Bengal Presidency (the Swaraj Party was later merged back into the Indian National Congress) but also a few major, national level breakups such as when leaders Morarji Desai and K. Kamaraj broke away in 1969 from Indira Gandhi to form what would later be part of the Janata Party. In later years there have been other major breakaway groups from the INC, notably the Sharad Pawar-led Nationalist Congress Party, which is still active.

In recent years, particularly after the Congress’ near-decimation in parliamentary elections in 2014 and the fact that it is in power in very few of India’s 28 states, speculation in political circles about a major split in the party has been rife. The Congress is in power in the states of Punjab, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan where the party has majority support. In Tamil Nadu, Jharkhand and Maharashtra it shares power with alliance partners Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, Jharkhand Mukti Morcha and Shiv Sena, respectively.

The party’s diminishing fortunes have led to disillusionment among many of its prominent leaders who have lost confidence in the leadership of the party, which remains a fiefdom of the Gandhi family. Sonia Gandhi continues to be its president; her son, Rahul, is a reluctant heir who many believe is ineffective in either leading the party or winning elections.

As a result of this and the ensuing crisis in the party, several senior leaders–either at the national level or at the state level–have left the Congress, some of them choosing to join the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party whose fortunes have been directionally quite the opposite of that of the Congress. Besides being in power at the Centre, the BJP or its alliances rule 18 Indian states and despite some recent setbacks, the popularity of the party or its leader, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has been ahead of any other political party or leader.

ALSO READ: Will The Congress Please Buckle Up?

The exodus from the Congress actually began nearly eight years ago when the BJP came to power. According to one estimate, more than 30 leaders, many of them former central ministers or state-level leaders, left the Congress to join the BJP. Many high-profile exits happened more recently. These include Jyotiraditya Scindia who is now a minister at the Centre; Jitin Prasada, now a minister in the Uttar Pradesh BJP-led government; and R.P.N. Singh, a former Congress minister who recently jumped ship to join the BJP. The Congress has been losing people from its second rung leadership and that is a blow for the party.

The informal G-23 or a grouping of 23 Congress leaders is a pointer to what could happen in the foreseeable future. The group comprises several heavyweights from the party. There are, for instance, five former chief ministers and several former Union ministers.

One of the most notable factors is that this group has mustered the courage to challenge the party’s leadership and call for reforms. Foremost among their demands is a call for elections to the Congress Working Committee, the powerful executive committee of the party, headed by Sonia Gandhi. The Congress has not held elections to the CWC since 1998 and this has meant that it has become an undemocratic, closed-club, which is in charge of running the party.

Recently, when the Indian government decided to honour the Congress leader, Ghulam Nabi Azad, with a national award, it set off rumblings in the party and speculation that Azad would quit the Congress and join the BJP. While that hasn’t happened yet, a split in the Congress could possibly be good for the party. For one, it would bring together some of its leaders with the potential to revive the party. Second, a strong enough breakaway faction would rid the party of the regressive leadership of the Gandhi family, which has failed at elections and at holding together its flock.

The Congress is the only party, besides the BJP, that still has a national presence, although its influence has waned. Today, however, the BJP is almost unchallenged: in 2019, the Congress won 52 seats in the Lok Sabha, failing to get 10% of the seats needed to claim the post of Leader of Opposition. With its decimation in Parliament, in the absence of a strong national party’s presence, the opposition is toothless. That is not exactly a good recipe for a democratic system.

What the party sorely needs is fresh leadership that could revive it by infusing new ideas, raising the confidence of its leaders and workers, and forging strategic alliances with regional parties so that the ruling party and its allies do not get a free run. Creating a strong opposition could be the first step towards getting back its status as the Grand Old Party.

Manmohan Singh filing papers for Rahul Gandhi

Can Rahul 'darling' revive the Congress?

New Delhi: Congress chief Sonia Gandhi and party vice president Rahul Gandhi  (Photo: IANS)[/caption] Within the Congress—as the hype surrounding his nomination demonstrated—Gandhi has a fawning fandom of many but things are different outside the party. Both, UPA I and UPA II, were coalitions where the Congress wouldn’t have been able to form a government had it not garnered the support of over a dozen other parties. As the 2019 general election approaches, Gandhi will have to demonstrate his ability to get the support of such parties. With hopes of winning a general election on its own akin to a fantasy, such support will be vital for the Congress but Gandhi is still far from commanding the confidence of these parties, many of which may not even accept him as a leader. Many of the UPA’s erstwhile constituents have senior leaders such as Sharad Pawar, Lalu Yadav, and Farooq Abdullah who agreed to coalesce with the Congress under the leadership of Sonia Gandhi. Things may be quite different when her son is at the helm of the party. There are other imponderables. Besides lambasting the Modi government’s policies and actions (such as demonetisation or the introduction of GST), Gandhi has never spelt out his economic agenda or vision for economic development. Neither is it quite clear what his thoughts are on foreign policy. It is true that during his foreign visits earlier this year, notably to the US, he did impress with his speeches and meetings but even those didn’t provide an insight into what he visualizes as the way forward for India. Even within his party, there are issues to tackle. The so-called old guard in Congress, including people such as Kamal Nath, Digvijay Singh, and Ahmed Patel could risk getting alienated if Gandhi chooses to create his own team of new faces. That could be detrimental. These leaders still have significant grassroots support—the sort of support that can come in handy if he wants to do well in elections. How he balances his ideas for a new and revamped Congress with older entrenched powers such as these could determine his as well as his party’s future. Life as Congress’s new party boss will be different for Gandhi who is known for his mysterious disappearances and short-notice vacations. There’s a story doing the rounds in Delhi’s political circles and some swear it isn’t apocryphal. Recently, after an internal meeting of the party’s leaders at his residence, Gandhi is said to have asked a senior leader and former minister: “Have you noticed a change in my political language? Now I’m fully into it (politics).” The leader, known for his candour, remarked: “Yes, but I’m waiting for your next vacation.” Gandhi is believed to have patted his colleague’s shoulder and said: “Why are you always so cynical?” // ]]>