Manoj C G is a Senior Assistant Editor. He writes on politics. He has worked with the PTI before joining The Indian Express in 2008.
While a section of leaders believed that Nitish was indulging in pressure tactic, and that alliance can survive, the older generation of leaders seemed to have sensed the wind rightly, as some veterans in the party said the “game seems to be over”.
Virbhadra met Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi Tuesday and is learnt to have reiterated his demand for Sukhu’s removal.
“We were expecting that he is no more the candidate but the President of India...the President of everybody. But it is most unfortunate that in his very first address in the Central Hall... he did not mention the name of India’s first Prime Minister (Nehru).”
Sushmita Dev, suspended Congress MP, talks to The Indian Express.
The party also sought to unite the Opposition over the issue. Congress President Sonia Gandhi met leaders of the Left, Trinamool Congress and the NCP soon after adjournment of the House, while Congress floor managers also reached out to opposition parties.
With the Politburo deciding against a third term to Yechury, the Bengal leadership on Monday demanded in the Central Committee that the issue of the Rajya Sabha election to six seats from the state be discussed by the committee.
On Thursday, the Congress warned Vaghela that he should not make anti-party comments. It was the party’s first show of toughness after Vaghela, its legislature party leader, skipped several key party meetings and events over the past few months.
Another shock for the Opposition came from Maharasthra, where the Congress and NCP have 83 MLAs, Samajwadi Party has one and CPI(M) one. The AIMIM has two MLAs and the Peasants and Workers Party of India has three. But Opposition candidate Meira Kumar managed to get only 77 votes.
Anand Sharma, Congress, Rajya Sabha, speaks to Indian Express: The demand for salary hike for MPs has often been criticised. Nobody realises that MPs have to maintain two establishments — one in Delhi, other one in their constituencies, and it is 24×7
Leader of the Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad said the lynchings are “not religious”, “Hindu-Muslim” or a “fight between upper castes and Dalits”, but the (Sangh) “Parivar’s battle against everybody”.
With the electoral arithmetic not in his favour, Gandhi said the issue is not about winning or losing. “It is about becoming clean, becoming pure... and say from the heart and I am an ordinary citizen, but the people of which I am a part is not ordinary... don’t try to divide them,” he said.
Mayawati’s dramatic move appeared a well-crafted attempt to reclaim political ground among the Dalit electorate in UP. The BSP has virtually been decimated in the 2014 Lok Sabha and 2017 UP Assembly polls.
While all parties asked the Government to find a diplomatic solution, sources said that Mulayam, a former defence minister, wanted India to “teach a lesson” to China so that situations, such as the current stand-off in Doklam, would not arise in future.
Ghulam Nabi Azad (Congress), Sitaram Yechury (CPI-M) and Sharad Yadav (JDU) are learnt to have raised questions over the government’s handling of Kashmir saying there is a casualty, almost daily, from either the civilian or the military side and the government just keeps talking of using force to handle the situation.
Many senior leaders in Congress and other parties are of the view that the Opposition failed to secure the first-mover advantage in Presidential polls by delaying announcement of its candidate. Gandhi was sounded out about his candidature before the parties met. Once there was unanimity, a call was made to him.
After the Opposition meeting to decide the candidate for vice-presidential elections, leaders indicated that the attack, deteriorating security situation in Kashmir, “vendetta politics”, agrarian crisis, spate in lynchings and problems faced by people because of GST implementation would be used to confront the government in Parliament.
The Congress had reached out to the party with an invitation — leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad and senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel had spoken to JD(U) leaders.
Ghulam Nabi Azad said: "It would have been in the interest of both the state and the Centre to take suggestions of the opposition parties on board...instead of using their majority and the marshals to impose their views."
Congress state chief Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury told The Indian Express that his personal view was that it was “utterly unbecoming” of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi to go public with their “bickering”.
The Congress high command hit out at the NDA government and Bedi. “The BJP Government is using the august office of the governor to serve the conspiratorial political machinations of BJP-Sangh Parivar."
In Patna, Nitish described the “grand alliance” in Bihar, including the RJD and Congress, as “unbreakable”. But he also said that on the national stage, the Congress “is the biggest party in Opposition” and “has to take the initiative to set an agenda”.
Ghulam Nabi Azad also appeared soft on the JD(U), which had broken ranks with the Opposition to back the NDA’s presidential candidate Ram Nath Kovind. He said he believed the JD(U)’s support to Kovind was a one-off case.
President Pranab Mukherjee's remarks came days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that killing people in the name of protecting the cow was “unacceptable” and went against the ideals of Mahatma Gandhi.
GST rollout: The Congress was not alone, with the TMC, Left parties, RJD and DMK also staying away from the central hall event, but the faultlines within the Opposition grouping stood exposed. And that too, at a time when it is gearing to put up a strong contest in the vice-presidential elections.
GST rollout: As MPs walked in smiling and waving, a lone Congress MP Ananda Bhaskar Rapolu sat on a dharna in front of the Gandhi statue outside demanding immediate review and reversal of GST proposals on handloom and powerloom raw materials and products.
“From today, our ideological fight has started. This ideology is based on democratic values, inclusiveness in society, freedom of the press, freedom of expression, end of poverty, transparency and destruction of caste structure,” Kumar said.
Hashmi returned her award to NCM director T M Skaria on Tuesday, along with a letter to the commission members, saying that she was returning the award because the NCM had “lost all its credibility”.
“There was not a single minister, not a single government representative and not a single BJP leader. In all these years, I have never been to an Iftar hosted by the President where there has been no representative of the Government of India,” CPM general secretary Sitaram Yechury told The Indian Express.
Sharad Pawar is learnt to have told Opposition leaders that he was in talks with the Centre on the issue of farmers’ stir in Maharashtra, and urged them to postpone the meeting by a day. Sensing danger, Congress leaders rushed to Pawar’s residence, sources said.
The 2017 presidential election will not be without a contest. And it will see a Dalit versus Dalit. 17 Opposition parties announced that former Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar will be their joint candidate against the ruling NDA’s presidential nominee Ram Nath Kovind.
Ever since the BJP named Kovind, a Dalit, for President, the Congress and CPM have been trying to come up with a Dalit candidate as a counter. Ghulam Nabi Azad conveyed Sonia Gandhi’s message that the Congress is determined to fight.
While the Congress is keen on putting up a candidate to force a contest, it is also eager to avert a division in the Opposition ranks which could be seen as its failure.
The JD(U) and BSP indicated they were not opposed to Kovind’s candidature, but stopped short of committing support to him.
Presidential election: CPI leader D Raja, who was present at Ajoy Bhawan during the meeting, said his party told the ministers that the candidate should be “secular and liberal.”
Azad said he did not know whether the government will share any names at all in the first meeting itself.
The farmers in Mandola have been protesting for a few months, demanding revision of compensation for land acquired under the state government’s Avas Vikas Housing Scheme.
There are no wars to be won through poetry, no great intentions behind a poem's composition and it is more of a compulsion for self-motivated souls than a mere hobby, says Kiriti Sengupta, a gifted Indian poet, who has more than 17 books of poetry to his credit.