Posts tagged ‘congress’

August 4, 2012

Team Anna’s decision to join politics irks backers

New Delhi: It seems that Team Anna’s decision to enter politics has not gone down well with some of the supporters.

Reports claim that some supporters of Anna Hazare at Navsari in Surat have burnt posters of the social activist and India Against Corruption.

In fact, former Karnataka Lokayukta and Team Anna member Santosh Hegde also said yesterday that he does not support Anna Hazare and his team floating a political party, but would campaign for candidates who identify themselves with his movement against corruption.

There was a section of the volunteers of India Against Corruption at Jantar Mantar, who were cheering Anna Hazare during his fast, protested the team’s decision to take a political route.

Around 50 volunteers reportedly submitted their identity cards with the management of India Against Corruption and refused to turn up at the event.

Reports also said some of the volunteers were also beaten up for displaying placards requesting Team Anna not to join the politics.

However, Team Anna has given assurance to dejected volunteers that Arvind Kejriwal would meet them soon.

Team Anna’s decision to join politics irks backers On Friday, Team Anna moved towards forming a party to fight the 2014 Lok Sabha polls but Anna Hazare made it clear that he will not launch a party or contest elections. Ending their ten-day fast at Jantar Mantar, the team declared that “people” will decide on their candidates and fund their elections.

“We will have to throw this government out. It is a long fight. This is not a party. It will be a movement from the streets to Parliament.”

“Parliament has to be purified. There will be no high command. People will decide the candidates and they will fund it,” Team Anna member Arvind Kejriwal announced.

March 6, 2012

Assembly results major blow for Congress, Rahul

New Delhi: Congress leaders admitted they were stunned as results from five state elections showed the party faced defeats in Punjab and Goa and a poor showing in Uttar Pradesh.

The Congress was on top in Uttarakhand but short of an outright majority. The only good news came from Manipur, where the Congress was set to sweep and retain power.

Congress leaders quickly rushed to insulate their star campaigner in Uttar Pradesh and general secretary Rahul Gandhi from criticism, saying that a wide variety of factors were to blame for the multiple disaster.

“We are very surprised, we are shocked,” Congress leader and Minister of State for Science and Technology Ashwani Kumar said.

“This calls for very serious reflection and introspection on what went wrong,” he added, disappointment writ large on his face.

“This calls for very serious reflection and introspection on what went wrong,” he added, disappointment writ large on his face.

Congress chief spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi was downcast.

The results in Punjab, where the Akali Dal-BJP combine is set to retain power, a first in the state for any ruling party, were “extremely baffling”, he said.

“I am very disappointed,” he added, commenting on the overall outcome of the February-March polling in Manipur, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and Goa.

Rajiv Shukla of the Congress struck a different note: “We are not happy but you cannot say it is a pathetic showing.”

Political pundits and opposition activists heaped scorn on the Congress and its leadership.

A Congress source admitted to IANS that the results were “a major blow” and were partly a result of the corruption charges faced by the Congress-led government of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

“There is no doubt that corruption played a big role in voters’ thinking,” said the source not willing to be identified.

The source said the Congress also blundered by injecting “communal politics” towards the end of campaign in Uttar Pradesh when it promised to reserve special job quotas for Muslims.

Marxist leader Suhasini Ali said the Congress blundered by not projecting anyone as a possible chief minister even as it sought a clear mandate from voters.

“Then the central government’s non-performance and price rise are also factors,” she said. “As for the 22 Congress MPs who won in 2009, they were a huge disappointment for their electorate.”

Sudheendra Kulkarni of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) underlined that there was “a very strong anti-Congress sentiment” in almost all the states that went to the polls.

Congress-turned-Samajwadi Party politician Shahid Siddiqui said the Congress leadership’s “ostrich like attitude” and “refusal to learn” from previous mistakes were major factors.

Minister Ashwani Kumar added: “We (Congress) need to strengthen our organisational structure.”

Apart from Uttar Pradesh, where Rahul Gandhi’s 200-plus election rallies were expected to give the party a major boost, the Congress was also stunned that it was unable to dislodge the Akali-BJP combine in Punjab.

The Congress-led government was expected to be voted out in Goa but was in the reckoning for power in BJP-ruled Uttarakhand, though not in the manner it would have desired.

Insurgency-hit Manipur was its only saving grace, with the Congress-led government getting an emphatic mandate for five more years, decimating a coalition of several opposition parties.

Source: Zee News

August 5, 2011

Sonia Gandhi recovering after surgery: Congress Delhi: Putting an end to the speculations about party chief Sonia Gandhi’s health, Congress on Friday informed that the leader underwent a surgery in US and is currently in ICU. Her condition is stable, the party further added.

In a brief statement issued by the party, the ailment of Gandhi was not disclosed.

The surgeon, who operated upon the 64 year old leader said, “The operation was successful and she is recuperating in ICU.”

The statement by Congress General Secretary Janardhan Dwivedi, however, did not disclose what was the surgery and the hospital and the country where it was performed.

Her son Rahul Gandhi and daughter Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and son-in-law Robert Vadra are with Gandhi, the party said.

Gandhi’s family has requested that her privacy be respected.

“This is a personal matter that pertains to her health and medical treatment. Her family requests that her privacy be respected,” Dwivedi said.

Rahul Gandhi is expected to return to India as he has been named in the four-member core group that will look after the party in Sonia’s absence.

The fact that he has been named in the caretaker group for the Congress is being read by many as a response to the recent expression within the party for Rahul to play a larger role.

Sonia Gandhi recovering after surgery: Congress Earlier, Sonia Gandhi, in a written statement read out by Dwivedi, said during her absence, a four-member panel including Rahul Gandhi, Defence Minister AK Antony, her long-time political secretary, Ahmed Patel, and party general secretary Dwivedi will be running the party.

Congress sources said she had an abdomen-related ailment amid speculation that Sonia Gandhi was suffering from cancer. Dwivedi, however, said that it was not cancer, but an ailment that required surgery.

Meanwhile, good wishes poured in for Sonia from across the political spectrum.

“We realise how much we need her, and how much we miss her. We want her to be back as soon as possible,” said Congress leader and Information and Broadcasting Minister, Ambika Soni.

“I and my party wish her good luck. We want her to get well soon and come back,” BJP leader Sushma Swaraj said.


July 6, 2011

Rahul Gandhi resumes padyatra

Rahul GandhiTappal, Aligargh: After spending the night in Rampur Badli village, Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi, Wednesday, resumed his foot march (padyatra) to meet farmers affected by land acquisition by the Maywati government.

Gandhi’s march, which stared from Bhatta-Parsual village, yesterday morning, will culminate in “kisan maha panchayat” being held by the party in Aligarh July 9. The party has decided to erect a “non-political” platform for farmers to speak about their problems at the rally, which will be addressed by Gandhi.

Rahul has visited a number of villages, met farmers and tried to know problems being faced by them. He also held ‘Choupals'(informal assembly of people), some of it under the trees on the roadside.

Gandhi’s visit to the area, a direct challenge to the Bahujan Samaj Party in Uttar Pradesh ahead of elections next year, comes about two months after he was detained in Bhatta-Parsaul during a visit after the violence in May.

From Rampur Badli, Rahul proceeded to Jewar village and met farmers there and then proceeded further ahead along the route where the Taj Expressway, linking Greater Noida with Agra, is being constructed by the Uttar Pradesh government.

Rahul has visited a number of villages, met farmers and tried to know problems being faced by them. He also held ‘Choupals'(informal assembly of people), some of it under the trees on the roadside.

Yesterday Rahul had dal, roti and vegetable with no chillies for dinner at a famer’s house. A weary-looking Rahul Gandhi opted for rotis over puris, when his host Vijaypal Sharma, a local farmer and Congress supporter, started serving the dinner.

The Congress leader, who walked 19 km on Tuesday, was asked by Sharma’s family members how he was feeling after a tiring schedule. To this he replied, “Thik-thak hain” (I am okay).

He also took quick bath on the terrace of the double-storey house before the dinner, said a Sharma family member.

After the bath, Rahul slipped into a fresh pair of kurta-pyjama and joined his hosts for dinner. He was accompanied by a friend, who the villagers said was being addressed as Kanishka.

The Congress leader, who backed the India-US nuclear deal in Parliament saying that the country needed more power, had a first-hand taste of the reality in rural areas when there was a power outage in the village.

The host and his family members swiftly arranged a genset to ensure their VIP guest was not put to discomfort. After the hard day’s work, the 41-year-old politician hit his bed on the terrace under the sky.

Congress spokesman Shakeel Ahmed said Gandhi was visiting areas where atrocities had been committed against farmers.

Digvijay Singh, who is in-charge of UP, said, “Rahul’s padyatra is an attempt to know the real problems being faced by the farmers affected due to land acquisition. As the Centre will be amending Land Acquisition Act, he will be giving suggestions on certain points about that.”

Opposition calls it “political drama”

The main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) termed Gandhi’s march as a “political drama” and accused him of following “two standards” of compassion and wondered why he did not express similar sentiments after the police crackdown in the capital on supporters of Ramdev.

“It is a political drama. You can call it as a political stunt. Beyond that it is nothing,” senior party leader Rajnath Singh said. He said since 2007, Congress has been “sitting” on the Land Acquisition (amendment) Bill.

“If it wants to help the cause of the farmers, it should bring the bill. BJP has already stated that it will support amendments aimed at benefiting the farmers and help the passage of the bill in both houses of Parliament,” he said.

The ruling Bahujan Samaj Party issued a statement, on behalf of Chief Minister Mayawati, warning that her party would disrupt the proceedings of Parliament if the Congress fails to introduce the amendment bill on land acquisition during the Monsoon Session of Parliament.

The BSP release also challenged Gandhi to cite one example of a Congress-ruled state where the land-acquisition policy was more farmer-friendly than in Uttar Pradesh.


July 4, 2011

PM promises Lokpal Bill in Monsoon Session

Manmohan SinghNew Delhi: The crucial all-party meet on Lokpal Bill on Sunday ended on a positive note with majority of the political parties agreeing to bring in a bill for a “strong” and “effective” anti-corruption ombudsman, though there were differences on the provisions of the proposed legislation.

“The all-party meeting agreed that the government should bring before the monsoon session of Parliament a strong and effective Lokpal Bill following the established procedures,” stated a resolution passed after the three-hour-long meeting.

In the all-party meet, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh reaffirmed his government’s commitment to table the Lokpal Bill in the Monsoon Session of Parliament. He stressed on the point that such an institution will have to work within the framework of the Constitution.

“The government is committed to the enactment of a Lokpal Act, which provides for a strong, effective and quick institutional arrangement for tackling corruption in high places. We are also committed to bringing the bill before parliament in the coming monsoon session,” Manmohan Singh said in his opening remarks at the all-party meeting.

Underlining that the Constitution provides for an “intricate system of checks and balances”, the PM said that the new institution of Lokpal has to find an appropriate place in that matrix.”

Nonetheless, there was a consensus at the meeting that setting up of the institution of Lokpal should not undermine the established Parliamentary processes of enacting a law.

The meeting, convened by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at his official residence of 7, Race Course Road was aimed at evolving a consensus over the contentious provisions in the draft Lokpal Bill.

The minutes of the meeting include inclusion of the Prime Minister, higher judiciary, MPs’ conduct inside Parliament and CBI’s anti-corruption wing in the ambit of Lokpal.

Emerging from the meeting, Leader of the Opposition in Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj told the media, “We clearly said that BJP wants a strong and effective Lokpal who is selected transparently and be able to function independently.”

Swaraj further added that the bill should be referred to the Parliament’s Standing Committee so that all political parties, state governments and members of civil society are able to present their views. “After due consultations, the bill may be passed in the Winter Session,” she said.

Sharp differences surfaced in the meeting on various provisions of the proposed legislation. Main Opposition BJP, which kept its cards close to its chest on the contentious issues, said it has serious differences over the Lokpal draft with regard to jurisdiction and process of selection and removal of the Lokpal.

“We have serious differences on who should come within the purview of the Lokpal, the appointment mechanism, who is eligible to be appointed and who should initiate removal of Lokpal, among other issues,” Leader of opposition in Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley said.

Swaraj too echoed, “We have serious differences over several provisions of the draft prepared by the ministers.”

At the meeting, the government came under attack from opposition BJP for engaging with civil society in drafting of Lokpal bill before consulting political parties.

Sushma Swaraj complained that the government had set aside Constitutional and political processes and tried to draft the bill with civil society. “It is only when you got stuck, you remembered us,” she told the government.

Responding to criticism, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee said that the government had under no circumstances wanted to tamper with the established procedures to enact a law.

When the bill is tabled in Parliament, it will be the property of Parliament, Mukherjee added.

Interestingly, a number of regional parties, except AIADMK, are in favour of including the Prime Minister in the ambit of Lokpal but not the higher judiciary. AIADMK is of the view that bringing the Prime Minister within the ambit of Lokpal would encourage frivolous complaints and derail the process.

Key UPA constituent DMK and a number of other smaller parties like AGP, INLD and TDP favour the inclusion of Prime Minister within the ambit of Lokpal. The Left parties share the same view. In fact, DMK even wanted the higher judiciary to be brought under it. And AGP felt judiciary should be brought under scrutiny of national judicial commission.

The all-party meeting comes a day after Gandhian Anna Hazare met Congress chief Sonia Gandhi to seek her support for the Jan Lokpal bill – the civil society’s version of the bill.

Hazare on Saturday had declared he will go on a fast from August 16 if a comprehensive legislation is not brought to parliament.

“If a half-baked bill is sent to parliament, what will the parliament discuss?” Hazare had said yesterday after the meeting with the Congress president at her 10 Janpath residence.

June 25, 2011

Unemployment, poverty due to wrong governance: Gadkari

Bangalore, Jun 24 (PTI) Observing that politics should be an instrument for socio-economic transformation, BJP president Nitin Gadkari today said that India was facing poverty and unemployment due to “wrong governance”.

“India is a rich nation full of poor people. The country is facing challenges of unemployment and poverty owing to wrong economic policy and wrong governance,” he said.

Delivering his address at the 94th Federation of Karnataka Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Gadkari also stressed the need for “development-oriented” approach to politics.

“We need a development-oriented approach to politics, aimed at development in different levels,” he said, adding that this could be done through constructive thinking, fast track decision making, transparency, auditing and accountability and acceleration of the system in the right direction.

The BJP president said that the focus of development should be on agriculture and its allied industries and called for the promotion of PPP model to encourage private entrepreneurs to participate in development projects.

Gadkari also called for an “integrated approach” to development which included elements of both “progress and concern for the environment.”

“Above all, the need of the hour is a good economic policy and a strong political will to execute it,” he said.


June 20, 2011

Govt, Team Anna on the edge; to meet today

Anna HazareNew Delhi: A day before the next meeting of the Lokpal Bill joint drafting panel, Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Sunday replied to reformer Anna Hazare’s letter accusing her party of maligning his image and said that her stand on the issue has not changed.

“As far as the questions raised by you in the letter, I have already clarified my stand in the previous letter dated April 19,” Gandhi said in her reply.

Gandhi had written to Hazare on April 19 saying that she was not in favour of smear campaigns, but did not offer any assurance on reining in her party colleagues from speaking on the Lokpal Bill.

“I had received your letter on June 09, but as I was out of station, I could not reply. Meanwhile, you have made the letter public. I will get information in this regard,” she added in her letter on Sunday.

Hazare had written to Gandhi on June 09 expressing displeasure over the Congress calling him the face of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).

Gandhi’s reply comes as the 10-member panel is scheduled to have its final meetings on Monday and Tuesday before submitting the draft on June 30.

Differences between the government and the civil society members have been growing with the June 15 meeting deciding to submit the draft bill with the areas of disagreement specifically mentioned.

Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, the panel co-chair, on Sunday held discussions with the ministerial members Kapil Sibal, Salman Khursheed and Veerappa Moily about the strategy in the meetings in the next two days. The fifth member, P Chidambaram, was not present.

In a related development, Karnataka Lok Ayukta (ombudsman) and a civil society member on the panel, N Santosh Hegde, said in Mangalore that he did not have any rift with the Anna Hazare team and that he would attend the meetings.

Hegde said he will not be able to attend the Monday meeting due to his prior commitments, but would attend the one on Tuesday.

Hegde also clarified that his comment on Anna Hazare’s hunger strike was just a suggestion that he made, which was being mistaken as a rift.

He had urged Hazare on Saturday not to fast again if the Lokpal bill is not passed by August 15, and instead tour the country and meet people over the issue.

“I personally felt that it will be better if Anna Hazare goes around India and mobilises people’s support against corruption. If Anna goes on a strike, I will fully support him,” Hegde added.

Prashant Bhushan, another civil society member in the bill drafting panel, has said that the country needs an independent body to fight graft.

“We need an independent body to go into corruption as well as misconduct and misbehaviour by the judiciary. But that body must be credible and should be independent of the government as well as of the judiciary. The Lokpal is precisely such a body,” said Bhushan in New Delhi.

Prashant Bhushan’s father, former law minister Shanti Bhushan, is the drafting panel’s co-chair. The other civil society representatives are Anna Hazare, Santosh Hegde and rights activist Arvind Kejriwal.

(source: zeenews)

June 16, 2011

Congress demands Nishank’s resignation

CongressDehra Dun: A day after Uttarakhand government recommended a CBI inquiry into the death of Swami Nigamanand, Congress Thursday demanded resignation from Chief Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank alleging that the seer died due to negligence of the state government.

“The death of Nigamanand due to lack of proper medical care clearly shows that the BJP government has completely failed to discharge its duty,” spokesman of Uttarakhand Congress Legislature Party Kishore Upadhyay said.

Chief Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank should immediately resign from the post,” he added.

Uttarakhand government yesterday recommended a CBI probe into the matter as pressure mounted on it from various quarters including Governor Margaret Alva who advised the state government to go for an independent probe.

Swami Nigamanand, who was fasting for nearly four months demanding an immediate stopping of quarrying in Ganga, had died in a hospital near here on Jun 13.

On the allegations of state government that Congress is just politicising the issue and no Congress leader had gone to see Swami Nigamanand when he was on fast in the hospital, Upadhyay said he had not only visited the Himalayan hospital when he was in coma but also tried to apprise the Chief Minister of his “critical” condition.

“When I was told by the hospital that Nigamanand’s condition was critical, I tried to approach the CM but did not succeed,” said Upadhyay, an MLA from Tehri.

The Congress leader also alleged that proper medical care was not provided to Nigamanand as the state government is under pressure of quarrying mafia.

Upadhyay claimed that he and Union Minister of state for Agriculture Harish Rawat wrote a letter to Chief Minister that Nigamanand should be shifted to AIIMS in New Delhi but no attention was given to their concerns.


June 16, 2011

Govt seeks public views online on black money issue

New Delhi:  The government today created an email id for public to send their ideas and inputs to tackle issues arising out of black money.

The email — — has been created on the server of the National Informatics Centre and the public can send their responses on the subject with immediate effect, a senior Finance Ministry officer said.

“General public can send in their responses and inputs like imposing penalties and making penal provisions to tackle with the issue,” the officer said.

The government has already constituted a committee headed by Central Board of Direct Taxes Chairman Prakash Chandra to devise new strategies to deal with the issue. The committee is expected to submit its recommendations in the next six months.

The email account will be continuously monitored by Finance Ministry officials and they would place the messages before the committee headed by the CBDT Chairman.


June 14, 2011

Newly victorious Jayalalithaa to meet PM in Delhi today

New Delhi:  Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa arrived in New Delhi on Monday on a two-day politically significant visit with both Congress and DMK keenly watching her signals.

On her first visit to the Capital after assuming office, Jayalalithaa will meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Tuesday and is expected to discuss the issue of Sri Lankan Tamils and various developmental projects in her state.

“Both we and the DMK have stated clearly our position. If a newly elected Chief Minister meets the Prime Minister that’s part of governance,” said Manish Tiwari, Congress spokesperson.

The Congress tried to play down the visit but kept the suspense around her visit.

Importance of Jayalalithaa’s visit can be gauged just by standing outside Tamil Nadu House as supporters and top notch politicians called on her.

Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit was among the first few visitors. And predictably she said it was a call from one woman Chief Minister to another.

The Congress has its reasons for treading cautiously. Keen to make in-roads down South, the Amma is being wooed by the BJP as well.

So if Narendra Modi attended her swearing in ceremony, Ravi Shankar Prasad made a courtesy call on her soon after she arrived in the Capital.

“It was a courtesy call but we talked national politics,” said Ravi Shankar Prasad, BJP leader.

And while BJP showed interest, the Left ensured their southern ally is kept in good humour.

“It was a courtesy call. We have not discussed any political issue,” said D Raja, CPI National Secretary.

So even as Congress swears by their current ally, the DMK, Sheila Dikshit meeting Jayalalithaa sends a strong signal. Long before the elections, Jayalalithaa had offered her support to the Congress-led coalition at the Centre if it dumped the DMK.