POLITICS

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Will Gokhale Marg, Lucknow be Priyanka’s new address?

It was in the year 2007-2008 and I was working with an English weekly Sahara Time and used to be part of the editorial meetings. The then Editor-in-chief Uday Sinha in his almost every editorial discussion on politics used to say that ‘if Rahul Gandhi or Priyanka Gandhi want success in politics, then they must make Lucknow as their base at least for five years”. Apparently his words are proving to be true after his sad demise around a month ago in Lucknow.

Years later it is being gauged whether Priyanka Gandhi Vadra would change her base to Lucknow. Several media reports are doing rounds and requests from the party leaders are pouring in for her to think over it. It could be a game-changer move as some say.

The Centre this week asked Priyanka to vacate her Lodi Estate bungalow in view of Priyanka being no longer an SPG protectee. She has been very active in Uttar Pradesh which was once Congress’ pocket borough. The state leadership is urging her to shift her base from Delhi to Lucknow in a bid to strengthen the organization and unnerve the BJP ahead of the Assembly polls due in the next two years.

The house at Gokhale Marg in Lucknow was “refurbished” in October 2019 to enable her to stay there for a longer duration. She doesn’t need to look for a house in Lucknow. However, she needs to take a call whether she wants to shift her base to Lucknow permanently. UP Congress president Ajay Kumar Lallu also remained non-committal about her Lucknow plans.

UP is the key battleground state that sends the maximum number of Lok Sabha MP that is 80. Priyanka left not even a single issue on which the Yogi government could be targeted. Political slugfest between Priyanka and BSP chief Mayawati is also continuing when Priyanka called Mayawati an “undeclared BJP spokesperson”.

She has been working tirelessly in UP whether her visit to Umbha village to arranging buses to ferry stranded migrant workers back to their native places. Her shifting to Lucknow will come as a shot in the arm, as workers may get emboldened to challenge the ruling BJP in the run-up to the 2022 assembly elections.

(By Rakesh Ranjan)

04 Jul 2020
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Now Congress takes on BJP on PM CARES Fund

After being cornered on getting funds for Rajiv Gandhi Foundation, Congress has hit back at the BJP alleging that PM CARES Fund was accepting donations from Chinese firms when the armies of the two countries were engaged in a border standoff in Ladakh.

Senior Congress leader spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi questioned Prime Minister Narendra Modi on his 18 meetings with Chinese President Xi Jinping in the last six years and asked why he has not yet called China an aggressor. “I implore the Prime Minister to say China is an aggressor,” he said.

Singhvi said reports suggest the PM CARES Fund has received Rs 9,678 crore by May 20. The Congress spokesperson alleged Huawei has donated Rs 7 crore, TikTok Rs 30 crore, Paytm Rs 100 crore, Xiaomi Rs 15 crore and Oppo Rs 1 crore to the fund. HT couldn’t independently ascertain this.

Over the past few days, the BJP released details of contributions made to RGF by various state-owned companies, government departments, and the Chinese embassy. RGF is a private trust while the PM CARES Fund was set up in March this year to deal with any emergency arising due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It has already funded the purchase of around 50,000 ventilators by government hospitals across India.

One of the allegations against the Congress, aired repeatedly by various BJP leaders over the past few days, is that the contributions made by the Chinese embassy and the Chinese government to the private trust controlled by the Gandhi family encouraged the party-led United Progressive Alliance government to turn a blind eye to India’s soaring trade deficit with China.

The charges and counter-charges have come against the backdrop of the stand-off between the two armies in Eastern Ladakh, where, on June 15, 20 Indian soldiers lost their lives in countering a transgression by the Chinese. An unknown number of Chinese soldiers also died in the incident.

Singhvi alleged that it was the BJP that has maintained ties with the Communist Party of China (CPC) since 2007 and its presidents, starting with Rajnath Singh, Nitin Gadkari and Amit Shah, have had the maximum number of exchanges with China.

29 Jun 2020
will-gokhale-marg-lucknow-be-priyanka-s-new-address-

Will Gokhale Marg, Lucknow be Priyanka’s new address?

By Rakesh Ranjan 04 Jul 2020

It was in the year 2007-2008 and I was working with an English weekly Sahara Time and used to be part of the editorial meetings. The then Editor-in-chief Uday Sinha in his almost every editorial discussion on politics used to say that ‘if Rahul Gandhi or Priyanka Gandhi want success in politics, then they must make Lucknow as their base at least for five years”. Apparently his words are proving to be true after his sad demise around a month ago in Lucknow.

Years later it is being gauged whether Priyanka Gandhi Vadra would change her base to Lucknow. Several media reports are doing rounds and requests from the party leaders are pouring in for her to think over it. It could be a game-changer move as some say.

The Centre this week asked Priyanka to vacate her Lodi Estate bungalow in view of Priyanka being no longer an SPG protectee. She has been very active in Uttar Pradesh which was once Congress’ pocket borough. The state leadership is urging her to shift her base from Delhi to Lucknow in a bid to strengthen the organization and unnerve the BJP ahead of the Assembly polls due in the next two years.

The house at Gokhale Marg in Lucknow was “refurbished” in October 2019 to enable her to stay there for a longer duration. She doesn’t need to look for a house in Lucknow. However, she needs to take a call whether she wants to shift her base to Lucknow permanently. UP Congress president Ajay Kumar Lallu also remained non-committal about her Lucknow plans.

UP is the key battleground state that sends the maximum number of Lok Sabha MP that is 80. Priyanka left not even a single issue on which the Yogi government could be targeted. Political slugfest between Priyanka and BSP chief Mayawati is also continuing when Priyanka called Mayawati an “undeclared BJP spokesperson”.

She has been working tirelessly in UP whether her visit to Umbha village to arranging buses to ferry stranded migrant workers back to their native places. Her shifting to Lucknow will come as a shot in the arm, as workers may get emboldened to challenge the ruling BJP in the run-up to the 2022 assembly elections.

(By Rakesh Ranjan)

now-congress-takes-on-bjp-on-pm-cares-fund

Now Congress takes on BJP on PM CARES Fund

By IndianMandarins 29 Jun 2020

After being cornered on getting funds for Rajiv Gandhi Foundation, Congress has hit back at the BJP alleging that PM CARES Fund was accepting donations from Chinese firms when the armies of the two countries were engaged in a border standoff in Ladakh.

Senior Congress leader spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi questioned Prime Minister Narendra Modi on his 18 meetings with Chinese President Xi Jinping in the last six years and asked why he has not yet called China an aggressor. “I implore the Prime Minister to say China is an aggressor,” he said.

Singhvi said reports suggest the PM CARES Fund has received Rs 9,678 crore by May 20. The Congress spokesperson alleged Huawei has donated Rs 7 crore, TikTok Rs 30 crore, Paytm Rs 100 crore, Xiaomi Rs 15 crore and Oppo Rs 1 crore to the fund. HT couldn’t independently ascertain this.

Over the past few days, the BJP released details of contributions made to RGF by various state-owned companies, government departments, and the Chinese embassy. RGF is a private trust while the PM CARES Fund was set up in March this year to deal with any emergency arising due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It has already funded the purchase of around 50,000 ventilators by government hospitals across India.

One of the allegations against the Congress, aired repeatedly by various BJP leaders over the past few days, is that the contributions made by the Chinese embassy and the Chinese government to the private trust controlled by the Gandhi family encouraged the party-led United Progressive Alliance government to turn a blind eye to India’s soaring trade deficit with China.

The charges and counter-charges have come against the backdrop of the stand-off between the two armies in Eastern Ladakh, where, on June 15, 20 Indian soldiers lost their lives in countering a transgression by the Chinese. An unknown number of Chinese soldiers also died in the incident.

Singhvi alleged that it was the BJP that has maintained ties with the Communist Party of China (CPC) since 2007 and its presidents, starting with Rajnath Singh, Nitin Gadkari and Amit Shah, have had the maximum number of exchanges with China.

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Motormouth leader adds embarrassment to his party

By IndianMandarins 26 Jun 2020

Motormouth leaders, across parties, often cause trouble for their parties. Former Congress minister Jitu Patwari provoked outrage when he tweeted: “Five daughters were born namely demonetization, goods and sales tax (GST), employment, inflation, and economic slowdown while anticipating a son called development (Vikas).” A similar statement was made for the leader of the party in Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury when he said that Army arsenal is not to hatch eggs.

Meanwhile, Patwari deleted his tweet after MP CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan hit out at him and the Congress and called them anti-woman. Patwari regretted his comments and said daughters are like goddesses. “My tweet was to suggest how people have been waiting for years for development promised by Prime Minister Narendra Modi but they got instead demonetization, GST, unemployment, inflation and economic slowdown which have broken the backbone of the economy.”

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Two former poll officers' meeting with BJP leaders racks up controversy in AP

By IndianMandarins 24 Jun 2020

Video footage showing the former top poll official meeting two senior BJP leaders at a hotel in Hyderabad around 10 days ago has racked up political controversy in the state. The video clip went viral on social and electronic media on June 23.

It shows former Union minister and present BJP MP YS Chowdary entering into a room on the eighth floor of the hotel, followed by former BJP minister in Andhra cabinet Kamineni Srinivas and Ramesh Kumar one after the other within a gap of two hours.

The ruling YSR Congress Party, led by YS Jagan Mohan Reddy, was quick in alleging that the meeting exposed the political and caste connections of Ramesh Kumar. YSRCP parliamentary party leader V Vijaya Sai Reddy tweeted without naming anybody, saying: “Details of the fourth person who spoke through Facetime? Details soon.”

YSRCP demanded that the government order a detailed inquiry into secret meeting held by Ramesh Kumar with YS Chowdary and Kamineni Srinivas. Rambabu said it reeks of a conspiracy against the Jagan government.

While Ramesh Kumar did not respond to the calls and messages, Chowdary said there was nothing secret about the meeting. He said Kamineni Srinivas and Ramesh Kumar had met him at different hours in the hotel room, from which he had been carrying out official and business activities since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Jagan government had removed Ramesh Kumar from the post of SEC on April 10 by promulgating an ordinance to amend AP Panchayat Raj Act, after the latter postponed the local body elections stating Covid-19 as the reason.

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BJP builds labyrinth against Congress for RS polls

By IndianMandarins 19 Jun 2020

The BJP has built a labyrinth against the Congress in the ongoing Rajya Sabha elections on 20 vacant seats. However, the same is being faced by the BJP in Manipur. Political parties have been herding their lawmakers to hotels and resorts in some states.

There are four seats each in Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh; three each in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan; two from Jharkhand; and one each from Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Mizoram, and Meghalaya.

The BJP has made things a little difficult for its second candidates in Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh and up to a certain extent in Rajasthan where the Congress is fearing cross-voting. Eight Congress legislators had resigned from the Gujarat Assembly since the Rajya Sabha polls were first announced in February reducing the party’s strength to 65 from 79 in 2017.

The Congress needs the support of five more legislators to help both its candidates Shaktisinh Gohil and Bharatsinh Solanki to win. However, the BJP with 103 members needs two extra votes to ensure the victory of the three candidates -- Abhay Bhardwaj, Ramilaben Bara, and Narhari Amin.

The BJP is set to win two seats in Madhya Pradesh as the BSP, SP, which have 2 and 1 lawmakers, respectively, as well as two of the four independent legislators, pledged support to the party. The BJP has fielded former Union minister Jyotiraditya Scindia and Sumer Singh Solanki while Congress Digvijaya Singh and Phool Singh Baraiya. 

The effective strength of MP Assembly is 206 and the BJP with 107 and Congress with 92 members can win a seat each easily as 52 first preference votes are needed for a win. For the third seat, the BJP has an advantage as it has more first preference votes and the support of four of the seven legislators from smaller parties and independents. 

KC Venugopal and Neeraj Dangi od Congress are expected to win from Rajasthan as the party enjoys the support of a total 125 legislators, including independents and those from smaller parties. The BJP has 72 legislators and can easily win one seat as 51 votes are required for that. The BJP has fielded Rajendra Gehlot and Onkar Singh Lakhawat. Rajasthan CM Ashok Gehlot is accused the BJP of trying to poach Congress lawmakers.

In Jharkhand, JMM chief Shibu Soren is set to win his seat. Jharkhand BJP president Deepak Prakash is pitted against Congress’s Shahzada Anwar for the second seat from the state. The BJP with 26 MLAs has the support of Babulal Marandi’s MLA and AJSU. So the chances of Congress is negated in Jharkhand.

The ruling YSR Congress Party is poised to win all four seats given its strength--151 in the 175-member House-- in the Andhra Pradesh assembly. The BJP-led coalition government in Manipur was dealt a blow on Wednesday after three of its legislators resigned and a key alliance partner withdrew its support two days before the election to the lone Rajya Sabha seat from the state.

Before the crisis, the BJP-led government had 39 lawmakers in the 60-member House. The Opposition had 21. To win the Rajya Sabha seat, a candidate requires 26 votes.                

pm-to-perform-bhumi-poojan-of-ram-temple-virtually

PM to perform Bhumi Poojan of Ram Temple virtually

By IndianMandarins 17 Jun 2020

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who was keeping away from Ram Janmabhoomi issue after taking over as the PM due to the matter being in the Supreme Court, is likely to be part of Bhumi Poojan ceremony in Ayodhya virtually. UP CM Yogi Adityanath will be present in Ayodhya in person to perform necessary rituals. It is likely to happen in the first week of July.

Last week senior VHP leader and the person involved with Ram Janmabhoomi movement Champat Rai met with the PM requesting him to join the Bhumi Poojan, the PM apparently accepted the proposal but due to distancing norms in place, he is likely to perform it from Delhi itself. Centuries-old dispute over Ram Temple was settled by the SC ruling the disputed site in favour of Ram Lalla (child deity) Virajman.

The committee responsible for the construction of Ram Temple wants Bhumi Poojan do be done before July 15 as after that days are not good to start any auspicious work as per Hindu belief. Leveling of the ground and other activities are going on in full swing in Ayodhya with the CM giving full assistance to the construction work.

The PM might not be present in Ayodhya but he will mentally and virtually be present during the entire Bhumi Poojan ceremony and he will address people on the occasion as well. 

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Obama and Biden together: First joint virtual fundraiser next week

By IndianMandarins 16 Jun 2020

Joe Biden (78), the Democratic nominee for US Presidential elections, has announced that former US President Barack Obama will join him for the first virtual grassroots fundraiser next week. The week-long Biden's campaign will start from coming Tuesday.

Biden also announced that he raised USD 80.8 million in the month of May with an average online donation of USD 30 to his campaign. 

In his remarks, Biden said that “The US has been facing systemic racism........last few weeks have shown that we are a nation furious at injustice. We feel it in our bones; we see it in our streets”

Obama termed this as the most important election of the life which is scheduled to take place in November this year which Obama finds as a chance to rebuild US economy which works for everyone.

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Is Congress government in Rajasthan moving towards a roadblock?

By IndianMandarins 15 Jun 2020

All is not well in Rajasthan Congress as a tug of war between Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot and his deputy Sachin Pilot may put the very existence of the Congress government in the state in jeopardy. Both the leaders are contradicting each others’ statements in public.

Earlier the decision of fielding former PM Manmohan Singh from Rajasthan and now K C Venugopal has not gone down well with the Congress workers in the state and they are saying that the BJP fielded its grassroots workers for the Rajya Sabha from Karnataka that the Congress must learn something from its opponent.

This has given rife to speculation that Pilot may part ways from the Congress with his 36 MLAs, the way Jyotiraditya Scindhia did in Madhya Pradesh. Rajasthan CM and many Congress leaders expressed their apprehension that Operation Lotus might happen in Rajasthan on the lines of Madhya Pradesh. 

Actually there is simmering anger in the Pilot camp on many issues as instead of the CM accomodating him and his supporters, he is humiliated and none of his work is allowed to be done in the state which is causing unease. People say that Pilot has been pushed to the brink now. The BJP will not miss any chance to grab this opportunity. Rajya Sabha elections on June 19 will make the picture clear in the state as the BJP is also being accused of poaching on the Congress MLAs.

Meanwhile, the ruling Congress has shepherded its MLA and other lawmakers supporting the party-led government in the state in a hotel. But if cross-voting happens despite all these precautions that would be an indication about stability of the Congress government being in danger with big leaders switching sides. The central leadership of the Congress is not taking any firefighting measure as always leaving the state leadership in the lurch.

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