TDP quits Modi Govt over Andhra package

The Telugu Desam Party (TDP) on Thursday quit the Narendra Modi government, with its ministers P. Ashok Gajapathi Raju (Civil Aviation) and Y.S. Chowdary (Science and Technology) submitting their resignations.

The two ministers drove to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s residence and handed over their resignations in accordance with the party’s decision to resign over the TDP’s charge that the Centre was not granting special status to Andhra Pradesh. The TDP, a key ally of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), had on Wednesday night decided to pull out of the NDA government after the Centre ruled out Special Category Status for Andhra Pradesh, among other demands. “We have decided to pull out of the Union Government, because the Centre has failed to meet the demands of the TDP on special status for Andhra Pradesh, which was promised at the time of bifurcation, and other demands relating to state’s finances,” Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu told the media mere late in the night after holding consultations with the party colleagues. “We wanted to convey the information about pulling out from the government to Prime Minister Narendra Modi out of courtesy, but he could not be contacted… My OSD has conveyed it to the PM’s OSD,” Naidu said. (IANS)]]>

Gujarat poll result: Pandit Rahul as Congress leader

Neither shocked nor surprised by Mani Shankar Aiyar’s referring to PM as ‘Neech.’ This is the culture of the Congress Party. People of Gujarat will punish anti-poor, anti-Dalit, anti-Tribal and anti-OBC Congress.

— Amit Shah (@AmitShah) December 7, 2017 For the Congress, the only real nationwide opposition to the Modi-Shah election juggernaut, losing seems to become have a habit since the debacle of 2014. What’s changed, however, is that the wheel is now finally and officially in Rahul Gandhi’s hands. What’s been done and how it’s been done in Gujarat by the new leader therefore has portents for the nation. The ‘Darling’ Leader Rahul Gandhi’s elevation to the post of Congress president turned into the big sideshow of the Gujarat elections. It had to be done, for the party had promised the Election Commission it would conduct elections to the post before 2017 ends. And Rahul had to be president, for there was no other contestant. The no-contest scenario was best explained by former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh who described the 47-year-old leader-in-waiting as a “darling” of the party. He may well start with a double-barrel loss but the Congress appears resigned to lose the hill state and even a slight dent in the BJP’s Gujarat fortunes will be painted as a Rahul ‘victory’. Heads he wins, tails he doesn’t lose. Bottomline: Rahul’s takeover of the party means he already owns the Congress show in the Himachal and Gujarat elections. Of Temples and Sacred Threads More importantly, Rahul’s campaign had all the symptoms of what is called ‘soft Hindutva’, as opposed to the presumed harder BJP version. During his vigorous campaign, the Congress leader visited 28 temples in the state, including the iconic Somnath temple that was looted by Mahmud of Ghazni in 1024 and from where Advani began his gamechanging rath yatra to the Babri Masjid in 1990. Mosques, churches and dargahs were not on the leader’s itinerary like they were in the Uttar Pradesh election campaign of earlier this year. Rahul’s temple run may have had something to do with the party trying to shed its “percieved pro-minority tag” as called out by former defence minister AK Antony in his party post-mortem of the 2014 Lok Sabha disaster. Maybe that’s why Sonia Gandhi’s political secretary Ahmed Patel, whose election to the Rajya Sabha from Gujarat this year turned into a bitter Congress-BJP nailbiter, wasn’t even seen on the campaign trail. At Somnath, Rahul stumbled on a register entry and his religious identity became the top issue. As expected, the party went overboard in defence, adding caste to the mix as spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala claimed Rahul is a ‘janeu-dhaari’ brahmin, and others traced his Brahmin ancestry through his grandmother. The posters followed in servile creativity. Rahul then broke his silence to say he is a “Shiv Bhakt”. The BJP couldn’t believe its luck and squeezed every drop out of the Somnath row, Modi leading the charge with a “Nehru didn’t want the Somnath temple rebuilt” salvo. Jaitley hammered it in too. “BJP has always been seen as a pro-Hindutva party and if someone wants to mimic us, I do not have any complaint. But there is a basic principle in politics, if an original is available why would anyone prefer a clone?,” he said about Rahul’s Hindu ways. But Pandit Rahul was not taken aback, visiting Ahmedabad’s famous Jagannath Temple on the day the campaign closed. Modi took a seaplane to visit the Ambaji Temple in Banskantha the same day but that seemed par for the saffron course. At a press conference addressed by the new Congress leader later, a rudraksh mala (necklace) was visible inside his kurta collar. It must be noted that Indira Gandhi always wore a special rudraksh mala, said to be of the impossibly rare ‘ek-mukhi’ kind. Bottomline: The rediscovered Hindu leanings of the Grand Old Party may well be one of the new themes that Rahul brings. Or is testing out in Gujarat, because the party’s traditional image has just not worked ever since 2014. (Reproduced tweets do not reflect Lokmarg editorial policy) // ]]>