2024 Lok Sabha polls

Lalu, Nitish Call On Sonia To Fortify Oppn Ahead Of 2024 Polls

During a press conference, RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav slammed the BJP government at the Centre for rising poverty and unemployment in the country.

Earlier in the day, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and the RJD supremo met Congress President Sonia Gandhi at her residence in a bid to unify opposition parties before the 2024 Lok Sabha polls.
He further added, “We need to remove the BJP and have to save the country. For that, we all have to come together in a way we removed BJP in Bihar. We have had talks with Sonia Gandhi. She asked us to meet again after 10-12 days once the Congress party gets a new president”.

When asked about the 2024 polls, Nitish Kumar said, “If all the parties form a coalition overpowering, defeating the Modi government in the elections won’t be a difficult job and we are in continuous talks for the coalition by 2024 polls.”

As per RJD sources, the meeting is important not only to strengthen the Opposition for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections in 2024 but also for various reasons as the party chief will seek assurance from Congress interim president Sonia Gandhi in the ‘unity of the opposition to agree for compromises’.

Lalu and JDU chief Nitish Kumar will further ask Gandhi for the right to approach the Opposition camp by meeting the leaders of regional parties who are politically distant from Congress to join the alliance.

As per the sources, JDU and RJD chiefs are likely to approach Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) in Telangana, Yuvajana Sramika Rythu (YSR) Congress Party in Andhra Pradesh, Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) in Haryana, Left in Kerala, Samajwadi Party (SP), Bahujan Samajwadi Party (BSP), Odisha’s Biju Janata Dal (BJD), and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the National Conference (NC) in Jammu and Kashmir.

Interestingly, Congress will have to adopt compromising nature if Lalu Yadav and Nitish Kumar succeed in uniting these Opposition parties.

The campaign to unify the Opposition will speed up manifold if today’s meeting of Lalu Yadav and Nitish Kumar with Sonia Gandhi succeeds.

It is pertinent to mention that it will be the first meeting between the three parties in more than five years.

Both the leaders arrived in Delhi to attend a rally to be held in Fatehabad district in Haryana on the birth anniversary of Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) founder late Devi Lal with INLD leader OP Chautala.

Taking a dig at the rally held in Fatehabad Sushil Modi told ANI, “The entire rally was a big flop as only Nitish Kumar was present. The claims that he had made of forming a strong alliance been crushed as no other party member was present during the rally”. (ANI)

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Nomination For Cong President

Tharoor To File Nomination For Cong President On Sept 30

Senior Congress leader and MP Shashi Tharoor will file a nomination for the post of party President on September 30, as per sources.

Tharoor said, “He will be approaching delegates from various states as he has taken 5 sets of nomination papers, for which he’ll need 50 delegates as proposers for his candidature”.
This will be the first time in 25 years that Congress will see a non-Gandhi chief after Sonia Gandhi defeated Jitendra Prasad in 1998. The last time the party had a non-Gandhi chief was in 1996 when Sitaram Kesri defeated Sharad Pawar and Rajesh Pilot.

Chairman of Central Election Authority Madhusudan Mistri will be available in Congress headquarters in the national capital to take the nomination papers as returning officer of the election.

As per the notification released by the Congress Party, the aforesaid elections for the party’s new president are slated to be held on October 17 at all PCCs, whose results shall be announced on October 19, immediately after the counting of votes.

The final list of candidates will be released at 5 pm on October 8.

Mistry has called upon the delegates of the Congress party to elect the President of the Indian National Congress in accordance with the provisions made under Article 18.

However, there were speculations that Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot has expressed their willingness to contest for the party’s topmost position. But Gehlot cleared the air over his nomination for the All India Congress Committee (AICC) presidential election.

Congress leader Digvijay Singh on Friday said that he was not in the race for the party chief. Addressing a press conference in Jabalpur, the veteran leader said that he would not contest the Congress Presidential election, but he would follow the instruction given to him by the higher authority in the party.

There is an intense build-up to the Congress president election after Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot confirmed his candidature on Friday. Gehlot also confirmed that Rahul Gandhi has made it clear that “no member of the Gandhi family” would become the next party chief.

Meanwhile, with Digvijay Singh’s clarification, Ashok Gehlot and Shashi Tharoor are the top contenders for the post now.

Describing the post of Congress president as an “ideological post”, Rahul Gandhi said the position “represents a set of ideas and belief system and vision of India”. (ANI)

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Cong President Elections

No Gandhi To Contest Cong Prez Elections, Reiterates Gehlot

Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot on Friday confirmed his candidature for the upcoming Congress president election and said that Rahul Gandhi has made it clear that “no member of the Gandhi family” would become the next party chief.

Speaking to the media, Gehlot, who is in Kerala to take part in the Bharat Jodo Yatra, said, “I said earlier that I will request him (Rahul Gandhi) to accept this post when all the Congress Committees are passing resolutions in this regard. He made it clear that no one from the Gandhi family will become the next chief. He said he has decided this due to some reasons, a non-Gandhi family member will become the party chief”.
When asked if it is because of the BJP’s allegations of nepotism, he said, “Rahul Gandhi said it in 2019 that he would work more without any post. He had said this in the working committee. He said that he still stands on his statement that he would work for the party without a post, as the party says.”

Congress’ presidential post-election will be held on October 17 and the election results would be declared on October 19.

“It’s decided that I’ll contest (for the post of Congress president). I’ll fix the date soon (to file his nomination). It’s a need for the Opposition to be strong, looking at the current position of the country,” he said while adding that Congress General Secretary Ajay Maken and party interim President Sonia Gandhi will decide the further proceedings “if he becomes the party president”.

Earlier on Thursday, Rahul Gandhi emphasized the “one person, one post” norm and said he believes the commitment to the party’s Udaipur declaration would be maintained in the election for the party’s topmost post.

Describing the post of Congress president as an “ideological post”, Rahul Gandhi said the position “represents a set of ideas and belief system and vision of India”.

Answering a question during a press conference on the 15th day of the Bharat Jodo Yatra here, Gandhi said: “You are taking on a position. It is a historic position that defines and has defined a particular view of India. It is not just an organisational post. The Congress president is an ideological post, it is a belief system. My advice would be whoever becomes the president should remember that he represents a set of ideas and a belief system and a vision of India.”

“What we had decided in Udaipur. ‘One person, one post’ is a commitment of Congress and I expect that commitment will be maintained (on party’s presidential post),” he added.

The Congress had decided on a set of organisational reforms during the Udaipur Chintan Shivir held earlier this year. The declaration said that the principle of “one person, one post” should be followed.

Party MP Shashi Tharoor has also given an indication of contesting polls and had met Sonia Gandhi on Monday. He met Congress Central Election Authority chief Madhusudan Mistry on Wednesday.

Taking a veiled jibe at the Bharatiya Janata Party, Gandhi today said that Congress is fighting a “machine” that has “captured the institutional framework” of the country.

“We are fighting a machine that has captured the institutional framework of this country and has unlimited money, unlimited ability to pressurise, buy and threaten people. The yatra is designed to tell the people of India that they need to be united and need to go back to an India that was loving and affectionate,” he said.

The nomination process for the post of Congress president will begin on September 24 and conclude on September 30. (ANI)

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Amarinder

Amarinder: No Modern Defence Equipment During Antony’s Tenure As Def Min

Former Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Monday accused the Congress of not taking steps for supplying defence forces with modern equipment despite India being surrounded by two hostile neighbours and said during the tenure of AK Antony as defence minister in UPA governments “not even one type of weapon was purchased for Army, Navy or Airforce”.

Amarinder Singh, who formally joined the BJP at the party headquarters on Monday, said necessary weapons are being procured by the BJP-led government.
Punjab Lok Congress, headed by Amarinder Singh, also merged with the BJP.

Amarinder Singh said it is time to join a party that is looking after the interests of the country.

He said China had gone ahead of India in terms of modern defence equipment and “it is fault of Congress”.

“We are hemmed in by two hostile nations China and Pakistan and we (Punjab) are the ones suffering. It is our duty to protect our state and country. Unfortunately, China is way ahead of us in weaponry and it is the fault of Congress. I am not saying this because I am no longer part of Congress but I don’t think that in the four terms that AK Anthony was there, not even a one type of weapon was ever purchased for Army, Navy or Airforce. Now weaponry is coming which is necessary for us if we are to secure our nation”.

Antony was Union Defence Minister for the most part of the two Congress-led UPA governments from 2004 to 2014.

Amarinder Singh BJP was looking after the interests of the country.

“Now is the time that we should think that what we should do for our country and for ourselves… we have seen with Congress for so many years and now is the time that we should go to a party that looks after the interest of the country and that is BJP,” he said.

Amarinder Singh also referred to efforts by Pakistan to create trouble in Punjab.

“Punjab is a border state, and I have seen our relations with Pakistan deteriorating…Drones are coming into our territory now to create complete chaos in Punjab. China is also not far from us. It’s our duty to protect our state and the country,” he said.

Further, Amarinder thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home Minister Amit Shah and Party President JP Nadda for welcoming him.

“I am today grateful to the PM, Home Minister and President Nadda Ji for welcoming… We are a local party but we have grown with time and we have made our reach and support in Himachal Pradesh too…”

Amarinder Singh formally joined the BJP on Monday at the party headquarters here in presence of union ministers Narendra Singh Tomar and Kiren Rijiju.

Earlier in the day, Amarinder Singh met BJP chief JP Nadda in Delhi.

Law Minister Kiren Rijiju hailed Amarinder Singh for joining the party and said the right-thinking people of the country should be united.

“A sensitive state like Punjab should be handled carefully. During his tenure as CM, he never kept politics before national security,” Rijiju said.

Amarinder made the announcement of joining the BJP after he met Union Home Minister Amit Shah on September 12 in Delhi.

Amarinder Singh served Congress for long years and resigned as Chief Minister in September last year ahead of assembly polls.

He later also resigned from the Congress and formed Punjab Lok Congress which tied up with BJP and SAD (Sanyukt) for the assembly polls held early this year.

Amarinder Singh’s joining the BJP is a big shot in the arm for the party in the border state. The BJP now has a credible Sikh face in Punjab who has been active in state politics for several decades. (ANI)

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Capt. Amarinder

Capt. Amarinder Joins BJP, Merges Punjab Lok Congress With The Party

Former Punjab Chief Minister Capt. Amarinder Singh formally joined the BJP on Monday at the party headquarters here in the presence of union ministers Narendra Singh Tomar and Kiren Rijiju.

Amarinder Singh also merged his party, Punjab Lok Congress (PLC), with the BJP.
Earlier in the day, Capt. Amarinder met BJP chief JP Nadda in Delhi.

Talking to reporters at the BJP headquarters, Amarinder said he was grateful to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home Minister Amit Shah and the BJP president, JP Nadda.

Law Minister Kiren Rijiju hailed Capt. Amarinder joining the party and said right-thinking people of the country should be united.

“A sensitive state like Punjab should be handled carefully. During his tenure as CM, he never kept politics before national security,” Rijiju said.

Amarinder made the announcement of joining the BJP after he met Union Home Minister Amit Shah on September 12 in Delhi.

Amarinder Singh served Congress for long years and resigned as Chief Minister in September last year ahead of assembly polls.

He later also resigned from the Congress and formed Punjab Lok Congress which tied up with BJP and SAD (Sanyukt) for the assembly polls held early this year.

Amarinder Singh‘s joining the BJP is a big shot in the arm for the party in the border state. The BJP now has a credible Sikh face in Punjab who has been active in state politics for several decades. (ANI)

Mughal-Style Coronation

Cong Prez Elections Are Fake, Mughal-Style Coronation: Poonawalla

Taking a potshot at Congress over its upcoming presidential election, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Shehzad Poonawalla on Monday said that the entire process is a “Mughal-style coronation” and is “fake and fabricated”.

This comes after various state units of the party including Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Bihar and Tamil Nadu demanded that Rahul Gandhi, who was earlier the party president before the 2019 Lok Sabha elections and later stepped down, should reclaim his previous position (party chief) in the party. Sonia Gandhi has been the interim president of Congress since Rahul backed off.
Speaking to ANI, Poonawalla said, “Many of the Congress leaders have said that the party’s election is a sham. It is not free and fair, but fake and fabricated. 11It is a Mughal-style coronation.”

Alleging that there is “no internal democracy” in Congress, the BJP leader said that the party workers have “accepted” that there can be “no party president other than a Gandhi family member”.

“It is now clear that there is no internal democracy in Congress, and neither is there any responsibility. A family is chosen over performance. The party is passing resolutions to make the one its president who has lost 40 out of 50 elections. It is an acceptance by the party that there can be no party president other than a Gandhi family member. What’s the need for the drama of elections, coronation should be done straight away,” he said.

Shehzad Poonawalla also took a jibe at senior party leader P Chidambaram’s remark in which he stated that whoever becomes the President of Congress, Rahul Gandhi’s place in the party “will always remain pre-eminent”, and said that Rahul Gandhi will be like a “remote control” for the party president.

“Chidambaram has to say that if someone other than Rahul Gandhi becomes the party president. he will only be for name sake. Just like Manmohan Singh’s remote control as a prime minister was in the hands of Sonia Gandhi, the remote control of the party president will be in the hands of Rahul Gandhi,” he said.

It is worth noting that the nominations for the Congress President’s election will start from September 24. In elections, only ‘nominated’ voters cast their votes on behalf of the PCC office bearers and the party high command. Many party leaders believe that for more than two decades, the leadership of the party is in the hands of the Gandhi family, so the loyalty of voters is natural in them. But, many leaders like Anand Sharma, Shashi Tharoor, and Manish Tewari in the party have exposed many flaws in the entire election process and questioned the party.

Congress said that the election for its president will be held on October 17, and its result will be declared on October 19. (ANI)

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Punjab Chief Minister

Captain Amarinder Singh To Join BJP On Monday

Former Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh will join the Bharatiya Janata Party on Monday.

According to Punjab Lok Congress (PLC) spokesperson Pritpal Singh Baliawal, Amarinder Singh is also likely to merge his party PLC with the BJP in the national capital on September 19.
The development comes days after Singh met Union Home Minister Amit Shah in Delhi.

“Had a very productive meeting with Union Home Minister Amit Shah Ji. Discussed various issues pertaining to National security, the rising cases of narco-terrorism in Punjab and the future roadmap for the overall holistic development of Punjab,” Singh had tweeted.

Captain Amarinder Singh who broke ties with Congress ahead of the Punjab Assembly elections had fought the polls in alliance with BJP. (ANI)

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Kejriwal

Kejriwal On 8 Cong MLAs Joining BJP: It’s Congress’ Fault

Delhi Chief Minister and Aam Aadmi Party national convenor Arvind Kejriwal on Wednesday reacted to the eight Congress MLAs joining the Bharatiya Janata Party in Goa and alleged it was the former’s fault for not being able to save its MLAs in the country.

“BJP is breaking MLAs by giving crores of rupees to them across the country in the name of Operation Lotus, this is wrong. But the fault is also of Congress,” Kejriwal said addressing a press conference in the national capital.
“They could not break our MLAs in Delhi-Punjab because we expose them, but Congress has failed to save its MLAs,” he added.

His remarks came hours after eight Goa Congress MLAs including former Chief Minister Digambar Kamat and Leader of Opposition Michael Lobo merged with the Bharatiya Janata Party in Goa on Wednesday.

Delilah Lobo, Rajesh Phaldesai, Kedar Naik, Sankalp Amonkar, Aleixo Sequeira and Rudolf Fernandes also joined the party after meeting with Chief Minister Pramod Sawant at the Goa Assembly complex during the day.

Taking a jibe at the Centre, Kejriwal further asked where the crores of money are coming to them. He accused BJP of ‘siphoning off’ the public’s money and said it has resulted in an increase in the inflation rate.

“Where are the thousands of crores to buy the MLAs coming from? This is the money of the government, which is being siphoned off, thus increasing inflation,” said Kejriwal mentioning that the “BJP tried its Operation Lotus in every state including Punjab.”

Days ago on September 4, Gujarat Youth Congress President Vishwanathsinh Vaghela resigned from his post which is considered to be a major jolt for the party.

On September 2, party leader Rajinder Prasad, who is also the son of late Master Beli Ram Sharma from Nowshera, Rajouri, resigned from all posts and the primary membership of the party. Prasad blamed the ‘coterie’ system for being a reason for the ‘demise’ of the party.

In recent months, Rajinder Prasad and several high-profile leaders have quit Congress. The exit of veteran leader Ghulam Nabi Azad from the Congress, months before the upcoming Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh Assembly polls, as well as the general elections in two years’ time, dealt a huge blow to party.

Jaiveer Shergill, who is a lawyer by profession and was one of the prominent ones among young Congress leaders, on August 24, tendered his resignation claiming that the vision of the decision-makers no longer was in sync with the aspirations of the youth.

Earlier this year in May, senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal, a prominent face of the G-23 group of dissenting leaders, resigned from the party and filed nomination papers for the Rajya Sabha elections as an independent candidate backed by the Samajwadi Party (SP).

Former Punjab Congress chief Sunil Jakhar too parted ways with the Congress in May this year.

Former Union Law Minister Ashwani Kumar in February also resigned from Congress after a long association of 46 years with the party.

Back in May, Gujarat Patidar leader Hardik Patel had quit the party after he felt that he was being “ignored”. (ANI)

Cong

8 Congress MLAs, Including Kamat, Lobo Likely To Join BJP Today

Ahead of joining the Bharatiya Janata Party on Wednesday, eight Congress MLAs, including former Goa CM Digambar Kamat and Leader of Opposition Michael Lobo met with Chief Minister Pramod Sawant at the Assembly Complex.

The eight MLAs who met with CM Sawant are Digambar Kamat, Michael Lobo, Delilah Lobo, Rajesh Phaldesai, Kedar Naik, Sankalp Amonkar, Aleixo Sequeira and Rudolf Fernandes.
After holding a meeting with Congress Legislature Party, Lobo told ANI that they “will join BJP”, however no official confirmation from the Sawant has come forward yet.

The development came amid the Congress leader Rahul Gandhi-led Bharat Jodo Yatra, which is being held to combat the BJP-led Centre and awaken the country’s people to the dangers of economic inequalities, social polarisation, and political centralization.

The Yatra includes Padayatras, rallies, and public meetings which will be attended by the senior Congress leaders including Sonia Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra.

Days ago on September 4, Gujarat Youth Congress President Vishwanathsinh Vaghela resigned from his post which is considered to be a major jolt for the party.

On September 2, party leader Rajinder Prasad, who is also the son of late Master Beli Ram Sharma from Nowshera, Rajouri, resigned from all posts and the primary membership of the party. Prasad blamed the ‘coterie’ system for being a reason for the ‘demise’ of the party.

In recent months, Rajinder Prasad and several high-profile leaders have quit Congress.

The exit of veteran leader Ghulam Nabi Azad from the Cong, months before the upcoming Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh Assembly polls, as well as the general elections in two years’ time, dealt a huge blow to party.

Jaiveer Shergill, who is a lawyer by profession and was one of the prominent ones among young Congress leaders, on August 24, tendered his resignation claiming that the vision of the decision-makers no longer was in sync with the aspirations of the youth.

Earlier this year in May, senior Cong leader Kapil Sibal, a prominent face of the G-23 group of dissenting leaders, resigned from the party and filed nomination papers for the Rajya Sabha elections as an independent candidate backed by the Samajwadi Party (SP).

Former Punjab Congress chief Sunil Jakhar too parted ways with the Cong in May this year. Former Union Law Minister Ashwani Kumar in February also resigned from Congress after a long association of 46 years with the party.

Back in May, Gujarat Patidar leader Hardik Patel had quit the party after he felt that he was being “ignored”. (ANI)

Bharat Jodo Yatra Wearing Foreign T-Shirt: Shah Takes Jibe At Rahul

Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Saturday, took a swipe at Rahul Gandhi, saying that the Congress leader is leading a campaign to unite the nation- the Bharat Jodo Yatra “wearing a foreign t-shirt”.

The BJP on Friday attacked the Congress on social media, claiming that Rahul Gandhi, who has been raising the issue of inflation during the ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’, was himself wearing a T-shirt worth Rs 41,257 and that too of a foreign brand when Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been leading the mission of ‘make-in India’.
Reminding Gandhi of his speech in the Parliament where he said that “India is not a nation”, Shah said that lakhs of people have sacrificed their lives for this country, and asked the Congress leader to “study India’s history”.

“Rahul Gandhi has set out with Bharat Jodo Yatra wearing foreign t-shirt. I am reminding a speech by Rahul Gandhi and Congressmen in his Parliament. Rahul Baba had said that India is not a nation. Rahul Gandhi, in which book have you read this? This is the nation for which lakhs and lakhs of people have sacrificed their lives. Rahul Gandhi needs to study India’s history,” Shah said while addressing the Booth President Sankalp Mahasammelan in Jodhpur.

The Home Minister further hit out at Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot over the “highest prices” of fuel in the state and said that his government did not reduce the taxes on petrol and diesel despite the Centre slashing the tax rates on them.

“The prime Minister reduced the tax on petrol recently, all the BJP-ruled states reduced it too, but Ashok Gehlot did not do it. The most expensive petrol and diesel in the country is sold in Rajasthan today. The most expensive electricity is available in Rajasthan. Who is responsible?” he said.

Shah urged the people to “uproot the Gehlot government” and said that the BJP government will reduce the taxes as well as the price of electricity.

“Congress government cannot do development work. Cannot build roads, cannot provide electricity, cannot provide employment. The Gehlot government can only do the vote-bank and appeasement politics,” he added.

Shah also targeted the law and order situation in the state and recalled the brutal murder of tailor Kanhaiya Lal who was hacked to death in Udaipur earlier this year.

“Tailor Kanhaiya Lal was brutally killed, would you bear it? Would you tolerate the Karauli violence? Would you tolerate the demolishing of the 300-year-old temple in Alwar?” he said.

“The Congress had done the pre-planned riots of, Jodhpur, Chittoor, Nohar, Malpura and Jaipur. I want to tell Ashok Gehlot that if you can’t handle, then step down, people of Rajasthan are ready to bring the BJP. The cases against women have increased by 56 per cent. A woman teacher was set ablaze alive in Jaipur. Gau Mata is also not safe here. PM Modi approved 23 medical colleges in Rajasthan,” the Home Minister added launching a scathing attack on Gehlot.

Shah urged the people to vote the BJP to power in the 2023 Assembly elections which would pave the way to the party’s victory on all the seats in the state in the 2024 general elections in the state.

“We have to win all the seats in Rajasthan in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections. 2023 elections come before the 2024 polls. If the government is not formed in 2023, then winning all the seats won’t happen. If you have to make us win all the seats in 2024, then you have to form the BJP government in 2023 with two-thirds majority,” said Shah.

Earlier today, Amit Shah laid the foundation stone for border tourism development work at Tanot temple complex adjacent to India-Pakistan international border, which lies around 120 km from Jaisalmer in Rajasthan.

The Home Minister laid the foundation stone of the project as part of his two-day visit to Rajasthan. He reached Jaisalmer on Friday evening. (ANI)