Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar, who is leading the government in the talks with farmers’ unions protesting against the three contentious farm laws, spent the first day of the new year at the Indian Agriculture Research Institute, Pusa. Tomar, along with his junior minister Kailash Choudhary, inspected the Pusa farm and inquired about the research being done there. Both ministers visited a mushroom production unit, and took a round of mustard field. Last month, Home Minister Amit Shah had held a meeting with 13 representatives of the farm unions on Pusa campus.
The Congress is likely to announce the dates for a special session of the AICC in the first half of this month. The session, which could be held in February, is being called to elect a regular president to replace interim chief Sonia Gandhi. The party is yet to decide the venue although at least four state units are keen to host the event. Party-ruled Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Punjab have shown interest as also Maharashtra, where the Congress is a ruling ally. It was in Jaipur that Rahul Gandhi was elected Congress vice president in 2013. Some leaders feel Mumbai is a better venue given its location but some argue Punjab is not a bad option either, given the backdrop of the farmers’ protests and the fact that Assembly elections are due in the state early next year.
The first day of the new year brought out another facet in Prime Minister Narendra Modi. In the morning, a poem written by the Prime Minister – “Abhi toh suraj uga hai”(the sun has just risen) – was released. The short video carried a narration of the poem by the Prime Minister himself, with images of India’s space programme, agriculture, armed forces as well as those of the Prime Minister in Varanasi.
At an event at Rajghat to launch a book on Mahatma Gandhi, the security stopped entry of invitees to the venue following the arrival of the chief guest, RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat. As the invitees argued with Delhi Police, they were told that after the arrival of the chief guest no one could be allowed entry due to security reasons. It was only after some mediapersons intervened, reminding the security personnel that such protocol was only reserved for the Prime Minister as an SPG protectee, were people allowed to go in. Bhagwat enjoys Z-plus security of the CISF.
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