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Daily Briefing: Hardik Patel quits Congress over issues with leadership; Perarivalan walks free after 3 decades

A jolt for Congress ahead of the Gujarat polls, the row over Varanasi’s Gyanvapi mosque and Rajiv Gandhi murder convict A G Perarivalan’s long road to freedom – here are the top reads from today’s edition

Written by Rahel Philipose , Sonal Gupta | New Delhi |
May 19, 2022 7:54:41 am
Top news on May 19, 2022

Good morning,

The Big Story

From introspection to new resolve, when the Congress leadership deftly changed the format of the Udaipur Chintan Shivir, many pertinent questions remained unanswered such as the “inaccessibility” of Rahul Gandhi, the leadership’s unilateral ways, the lack of collective decision-making etc.

Now, days after the Shivir, the same set of issues has blown up in the Congress’s face, with Gujarat leader Hardik Patel listing them in his letter of resignation. The Patidar leader who was made working president of the state unit two years ago, quit the party, saying its top leaders seemed more interested in “messages they had received on their mobile (phones)”, behaved as if “they hate Gujarat and Gujaratis” while state Congress leaders were “more focussed” in arranging chicken sandwiches for them.

Only in the Express

A G Perarivalan, one of the convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case, walked free Wednesday with the Supreme Court ordering his release. In an Opinion column, Perarivalan writes: “My anguish that stretched for 32 years was shared by millions across the world with empathy, affection and care. My hope was my mother. Her stupendous efforts and incredible steadfastness were life-saving planks in an arduous journey through a hurricane infested ocean.”

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From the Front Page

The site where a Shivling was claimed to have been found during a videographic survey of the Gyanvapi mosque complex has been secured following the Supreme Court’s order. While namaz is being offered “without any obstruction”, the faithful are being asked to do wazu at home because the area where water is available through taps has been sealed, an official said. “Water in drums has been made available to them, but it is not sufficient,” he added.

With the row over Varanasi’s Gyanvapi mosque and Mathura’s Shahi Idgah being discussed in courts, the RSS said the time has come for “historical facts” to be put in the “right perspective” before society. Sources, however, said the Sangh does not plan to launch a public movement on the lines of Ayodhya for these two sites at the moment. “We get involved when all other avenues to seek justice get exhausted,” an RSS leader said.

As inflation soars and raw material prices rise, FMCG companies are increasing product prices — not just by directly raising the retail rates but also by reducing the pack sizes, a practice known as “grammage reduction”. On the consumer side, buyers are “downtrading” — meaning they are either opting for cheaper alternatives or smaller pack sizes.

Must Read

“I heard in childhood that pigeons fear the presence of cats. Pigeons are so innocent they believe mere closing of eyes will prove to be an effective shield against cats. But this is not correct. Maintenance of status quo as in 1947 in respect of religious places, is like closing eyes similar to that of pigeons against advancement of cats.” That was what BJP leader Uma Bharti had to say in the Lok Sabha during a discussion on the Places of Worship (Special Provisions) Act in 1991. The law, that is now being tested by the Gyanvapi survey, was stridently opposed by the BJP when it was first brought in by the Congress’s P V Narasimha Rao Government.

In an interview with The Indian Express, Congress leader Shashi Tharoor speaks about what happened during the party’s three-day Chintan Shivir in Udaipur: “We have seen the beginning of an important process. But a lot depends on how it unfolds over the next few months… Because I think if people within the party feel there is a change, we will also be able to see it in a renewed burst of energy in the party. But if there is a sense that nothing much has altered and it is all carrying on as before, there could well be a different reaction.”

In a recent tweet, UP CM Yogi Adityanath referred to Lucknow as “the city of Laxman”, triggering fresh reports of a possible change of the name of the state capital to “Laxmanpuri”. While the city’s name has long been associated with Laxman in the popular imagination, speculation about its possible renaming gained ground after the late BJP leader Lalji Tandon wrote a book, Ankaha Lucknow, in 2018, in which he lamented the loss of the city’s connection with the brother of Lord Ram. We trace the history of the name and the origin of the myth.

And Finally…

After the glitz and glamour of the Cannes red carpet and the screening of a zombie comedy, Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky’s address, beamed live from Kyiv, felt almost surreal during the opening ceremony. It begs the question: what is the value of such an event in today’s world which is struggling with increasing levels of pollution, food scarcity, fundamentalism, and death and disaster, both natural and man-made? The answer is wrapped in the question. The biggest connector of people is cinema, that most popular art form which has weathered so many storms, vaulted across so many wars, and has emerged even more impactful.

Delhi Confidential: Days after the shock change in leadership, the rumblings within Tripura BJP refuses to die, with suspense continuing over the next state unit chief of the party. While former state BJP president Manik Saha is settling in his new role as the Chief Minister, Biplab Deb has been enthusiastically participating in organisational activities

In today’s episode of the ‘3 Things’ podcast, we discuss the Places of Worship Act in the context of the Gyanvapi mosque case, the outcomes of the Congress’ three day brainstorming session, and what the NFHS reveals of violence against women in India.

Until tomorrow,
Rahel Philipose and Sonal Gupta

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