09:07 am New Delhi, Reeling under the impact of disastrous result in the Lok Sabha elections, the Congress is going through a deep crisis, with uncertainty over the leadership at the top and exodus of legislators and senior leaders in some states. The 134-year-old Congress, which ruled the country for nearly 60 years after Independence, has been witnessing serial setbacks and has been worst hit in Karnataka, Telangana and Goa. The unrest in the Congress was fuelled by the debacle in the Lok Sabha elections, whose results came on May 23 and gave the party only 52 seats in the 545-member House. The stunned party's woes increased with Rahul Gandhi tendering his resignation as Congress President immediately after the poll results came, creating a sort of vacuum in the leadership and uncertainty among the cadres, which persists even though months on. Some Congress leaders in private say that they are not aware who is running the show in the party now since Rahul Gandhi has refused to reconsider his resignation and recently made public that he was no more the President. Veteran party leader Karan Singh, however, was an exception in making his views public, saying he was "aghast to see the confusion and disorientation" in which the Congress has fallen since Rahul Gandhi resigned on May 25. In a statement, he said instead of putting an alternate structure in place after Rahul quit, "a month was wasted pleading" before him to take back his resignation, which "as a man of honour and integrity, he should not have been pressured to do." The biggest hit to the Congress came in Karnataka where the party is on the verge of losing its government, which it had managed to form in May last year in alliance with JD(S) after the Assembly polls threw up a fractured verdict. With 13 of its 79 MLAs, along with three of the ally JD(S), tendering their resignations in the state since July 6, the Congress is struggling against all odds to save the government it is running with the 37-member JD(S). Prior to the spree of resignations, the Congress and JD(S), along with the support of lone members of BSP and regional party KPJP and an Independent, had 118 MLAs, five more than the required simple majority in the 225-member Assembly, which includes a nominated member. The MLA of KPJP and the Independent have also withdrawn their support. The BJP has 105 MLAs. After the poll debacle, Roshan Baig, a former Karnataka minister who was one of the senior Congress leaders to resign recently, had attacked some senior party leaders like K.C. Venugopal and Siddaramaiah for the poor performance. Baig, who is among the legislators who have tendered their resignations, had said that it was because of leaders like Venugopal and Siddaramaiah that the Congress won only one seat in the recent Lok Sabha elections out of 28 seats in Karnataka, despite bagging 79 out of 225 seats in the Assembly elections held last year. The BJP swept the Lok Sabha polls, bagging 25 seats. Even as the Congress was grappling with the Karnataka crisis, it faced a mass exodus in Goa where 10 of its 15 MLAs, led by Leader of Opposition in the Assembly Chandrakant Kavlekar, quit the party and joined the ruling BJP. With this, the ruling party's tally rose to 27 in the 40-member Assembly. Commenting on the exodus in the Congress, its MLA and former Chief Minister Digambar Kamat told IANS recently, "If the Opposition leader himself quits the party and joins the BJP, what can I say?" The shockers for the Congress in Karnataka and Goa came just about a month after 12 out of its 18 MLAs dumped the party in Telangana to join the ruling Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS). The party also faced embarrassment in Maharashtra, where its Leader of Opposition in the Assembly Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil quit in June. There are suggestions that the Congress could face a similar situation in Madhya Pradesh too, because of simmering infighting among various camps, which got aggravated after the Lok Sabha polls. Infighting is said to be strong in the party even in Rajasthan, where it is in power.
03:07 pm Patna, Actor-turned-politician and Congress leader Shatrughan Sinha on Monday backed Priyanka Gandhi Vadra's name for leading the party. "It's my humble appeal that she would be apt as the party president to lead ahead. It will be a shot in the arm," Sinha tweeted. Sinha said Priyanka's leadership will be a boost for the Congress party in particular and political parties in general. "She is a role model of a true dedicated leader. Other political parties should learn and follow her too," he added. The former BJP leader, who joined the Congress ahead of the Lok Sabha elections, also compared the Congress General Secretary to her late grandmother and former prime minister Indira Gandhi. "Day before, the timely involvement of Congress' most popular, bold, dynamic leader Priyanka Gandhi for Sonebhadra massacre was reminiscent of the late and great Madam Gandhi. During her Belchi days she had travelled on an elephant. Priyanka broached everything with determination, commitment and courted arrest with a smile," he wrote on Twitter. Sinha added that her detention by the UP police was uncalled for. She displayed tremendous composure in those circumstances, he said.
10:07 am Bengaluru, Karnataka Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy on Sunday denied he was getting into a hospital to avoid the floor test in the state Assembly on Monday. "The news of Kumaraswamy being unwell and getting admitted in a city hospital is fake and based on rumours, which is being spread by those trying to topple the coalition government," said the Chief Minister's office in a statement in Kannada here. The rumours were spread in social media and found mention in a joint petition two Independents a" R Shankar and H. Nagesh filed in the Supreme Court for a direction to the Chief Minister to hold the floor test on Monday by 5 p.m. and prove he has majority. Accusing the BJP of forcibly taking away 15 rebel legislators of the ruling allies forcefully and subverting the law to bring down his 14-month-old government in the southern state, Kumaraswamy said the opposition party (BJP) made a mockery of democracy by indulging in poaching of lawmakers and horse trading with them. "Video footage in news channels over a week has shown the BJP's state leaders and cadres accompanying our MLAs to Mumbai in special aircraft," recalled a miffed Kumaraswamy in a statement here. Clarifying that he was not clinging to power, the Chief Minister said his only intention for seeking more time to debate on the confidence motion he moved on July 18 to prove majority in the House was to let the country know how the BJP, which talks high of morality was trying to subvert the very principles of democracy and the Constitution. "With the sole ambition of capturing power through immoral and illegal ways, the BJP has been demanding my resignation and making the state governor (Vajubhai Vala) set deadlines to prove majority," asserted Kumaraswamy. Appealing to the rebels, including 12 from Congress and 3 JD-S, to attend the Assembly and explain how the BJP sabotaged the democratic edifice and destroyed its sanctity, Kumaraswamy said he was ready to discuss all issues due to which they resigned from their assembly seats. "Let us discuss all issues including your problems, if any, and arrive at a solution to save our democratically elected government from the evil forces which are trying to shake the foundation of democracy by misusing their political influence," he added.
08:07 pm Kolkata, Three days after a host of Bengali actors, including Parno Mittra, joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Delhi, Bengali film and television actress Rimjhim Mitra followed suit, here on Sunday. Rimjhim is a popular TV actress who won 'Jhalak Dikhla Jaa Bangla' in 2013 and was also seen in Bigg Boss Bangla. She also made her mark in films, like 'Teen Yaari Katha' and 'Cross Connection'. "I am not happy working under the monopolistic approach in the Bengali film and TV industry. I have felt cornered many times and this is the first time I am openly talking about supporting a party. I have joined the BJP as I found it welcoming," Rimjhim said after she was handed the BJP flag by its state President Dilip Ghosh. Actor Surojit Choudhury and model Pamela Goswami also joined the BJP alongside Rimjhim. Only a couple of hours before Rimjhim arrived at the state BJP headquarters, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee alleged at the Trinamool Congress 'martyrs' day programme that celebrities were being forced to join the BJP out of fear of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the Enforcement Directorate (ED). Negating the allegation, Rimjhim said there wasn't an iota of truth in that. "I have joined the BJP as I believe in Prime Minister Narendra Modi's vision and want to work for the betterment of the television industry," she said. On July 18, film and TV personalities Rishi Kaushik, Kanchana Moitra, Rupanjana Mitra, Parno and Biswajit Ganguly were among the dozen of celebrities who cast their lot with the BJP at its Delhi headquarters. source:ians
05:07 pm Kolkata, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Sunday accused the BJP-led Central government of trying to prevent Trinamool Congress supporters from coming to its 'Matryrs' Day' rally by cancelling several trains to Kolkata. She also charged the saffron party activists with forcefully stopping and vandalising many buses carrying Trinamool activists to Kolkata from the districts and said her party would hold protest rallies at those locations on Monday. "BJP is in power at the Centre. They control the railways. I have got the information that many trains have been cancelled today (Monday) so that people from far-off districts and north Bengal cannot come to our rally," Banerjee alleged while speaking at the 26th edition of her party's Martyrs' Day rally in central Kolkata's Esplanade. "BJP has started attacking our people after winning only a handful of seats in the Lok Sabha elections. I have got the news that they vandalised buses and beat up our workers at Hooghly's Gurap and Midnapore's Patashpur. Trinamool will hold counter rallies against this violence in all those places tomorrow," she said. Accusing the BJP leaders of threatening to pull Trinamool workers off buses on the way to the rally, Banerjee questioned whether the BJP would be able to handle the situation if Trinamool supporters and common people start paying them back in their own coin. Referring to the ongoing political violence in West Bengal's Bhatpara since the 2019 polls, Banerjee said the place is a prime example of how the situation could turn hostile if people vote for the BJP. "Look at Bhatpara. See what happens if people vote for BJP. Schools, colleges, factories, markets are closed. Such a situation had never occurred since Trinamool came to power. Not a single Panchayat office (of opposition parties) was attacked, no one was boycotted for supporting another party because we wanted change, not revenge," Banerjee claimed. Sticking to her claims that the 2019 elections were rigged by the BJP, she said the saffron party managed to win 18 Lok sabha seats in Bengal by manipulating electronic voting machines (EVMs), misusing the Election Commission and the Central forces, as well as intimidating people. She said her party had never reacted in such a hostile manner as the BJP even after winning 26 Lok Sabha seats in Bengal in the 2009 general elections when the Left was in power in the state. Alleging that the BJP leaders in the state had no understanding of the cultural ethos of Bengal, she said the saffron party was trying to capture power by bringing in leaders from other states and Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) "miscreants". She also urged her party workers to keep an eye on the movement of "outsiders" in their localities and prevent them from misguiding people.
02:07 pm Kolkata, Holding its first martyrs' day rally, after the Lok Sabha setbacks, the ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC) is leaving no stone unturned to ensure a mega show on Sunday when its chief Mamata Banerjee is expected to detail a roadmap to TMC workers for combating an aggressive Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Ever since the Lok Sabha polls saw the TMC's stock dwindle to 22 from 34 in 2014, there has been an exodus from its ranks to the BJP. Several district and panchayat level leaders as well as councillors and legislators are taking the exit route. An aggressive BJP has been protesting against the TMC leaders on the issue of cut-money or bribes, giving fresh headache to Banerjee. Daily scenes on television channels of TMC leaders confessing to have taken cut-money from the people for providing government welfare schemes and services have seemingly dented the image of the TMC, which has been in power in the state since May, 2011. It's an irony of sorts that it was Banerjee who had brought the cut-money issue into focus by openly asking TMC leaders to return bribes taken by them from the beneficiaries of government schemes and welfare projects. Banerjee had hoped to cleanse the party and refurbish its public image through such move, but the events that unfolded -- of daily gherao of TMC functionaries' residences, and statewide protests -- could be an indication of the script going awry. With the BJP, riding the success of grabbing 18 Lok Sabha seats from Bengal, going aggressive to discredit the TMC government, all eyes would be on Banerjee on Sunday as she addresses the rally at Dharamtalla. The Centre has already sent a series of advisories to the Banerjee government on issues, like law and order and health, while the central agencies, like Enforcement Directorate and Central Bureau of Investigation, have stepped up their probe into many ponzi scams as also the Narada sting, in which a number of TMC leaders are said to be involved. The TMC ranks are looking at their leader to spell out ways to prevail over the BJP, and announce programmes to regain its lost votes less than two years before the May 2021 Assembly polls. Banerjee, who visited the rally site during the day, however, said the party was not thinking at all of the 2021 polls. "2021 is still two years away. We now have so much work to do. We are not at all thinking of elections. We will start thinking about it, three months prior to it," she said. Banerjee stressed the top issue would be the demand for dumping EVMs and bringing back the ballot papers in polls. The Sonbhadra killings in Uttar Pradesh is also likely to figure prominently in Banerjee's speech. On Saturday, the TMC supremo smelled a BJP hand in about 30 per cent of the train services not being run on Sunday. "This is not fair. All parties have the right to conduct their programmes". Asked whether she had approached the railway ministry for hiring special trains for the rally, Banerjee claimed her party didn't have the financial strength to afford such things. However, she mentioned how she had given up to 75 per cent concessions to political parties for holding their programmes during her stints as railway minister. "When I was the rallway minister, all political parties used to come to me. I gave up to 75 per cent concession. Now only the BJP (gets it). I don't know they can get the free train also," she said.
08:07 am Bangaluru, ) Upping the ante, about 100 Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) legislators are sleeping in the Karnataka Assembly from Thursday night to protest against the delay in taking the floor test by Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy on the confidence motion he moved on Thursday to prove that his Congress-JD-S coalition government has majority. "About 100 of our MLAs are on an overnight stay in the Assembly precincts after Speaker K.R. Ramesh Kumar abruptly adjourned the House without the trust vote despite Governor Vajubhai Vala directing the latter to hold it by the end of the day7," party's state unit spokesman G. Madhusudan told IANS. The legislators had 'masala dosa' and curd rice for supper in the assembly lounges. Many went to sleep early after a long day in the House due to heated exchanges and acrimonious scenes in the House, as the ruling combine was reportedly delayed in going through the crucial vote. Though most of the party lawmakers have been staying at a resort on the city's northwest suburb since July 12 when the 10-day monsoon session began, they are overnight staying to ensure the floor test is conducted on Friday by 1.30 p.m. as Vala directed the Chief Minster. As many of them didn't have pillows and bedsheets, some rebels bought them from nearby shops to sleep on the floor on bedsheets and rest their heads on soft pillows for a sound sleep. "We will not budge from the Assembly till the confidence motion is put to vote for the floor test to prove the ruling allies have the majority of the House," a BJP lawmaker told IANS on the condition of anonymity. Some of the legislators watched a movie on TV sets in the lobby where they were shown before going to sleep, others were in serious discussions over the strategy to be adopted for the Friday trust vote. The legislators have decided to go back to resort or their rooms in the adjacent Legislature Home on early Friday and return to the Assembly for the session from 11 a.m. to resume the inconclusive debate on the motion. With the Governor writing to the Chief Minister to prove majority in the House by 1.30 p.m. on Friday, uncertainty continues to dog the legislators
02:07 pm Panaji, Congress MLA Aleixo Reginaldo on Friday likened the current political upheaval in Goa, with 10 party legislators rebelling and later joining the BJP, as "political prostitution". "There is no sorrow or joy in politics. Politics, what has happened this time is only political prostitution. We cannot talk about it," Reginaldo told the media after a brief meeting with Goa Forward President Vijay Sardesai at the latter's residence. The Congress has alleged that the 10 MLAs were lured by money and promises of ministerial positions in return for switching over. Sardesai, a Deputy Chief Minister and two other Ministers are likely to be dropped from the Pramod Sawant-led government, after the Bharatiya Janata Party inducted the 10 Congress MLAs on Wednesday, following which the PARTY now has a healthy majority of 27 in the 40-member Goa Legislative Assembly. Reginaldo said that his visit to Sardesai's residence "was casual". "It was a casual visit. I thought I should meet him now. When you are in power everybody visits you. When you are not in power, there lies the real charm, when you visit somebody when you are not in power," he added.
05:07 pm Bengaluru, July 1 (IANS) Miffed with the state government's decision to sell 3,667 acres of land to JSW Steel Ltd, Karnataka Congress legislator Anand Singh on Monday resigned from the Vijayanagar Assembly segment in the state's northwest Ballari district. "I have submitted my resignation letter to state legislative assembly Speaker K.R. Ramesh Kumar at his residence, as I am unhappy with the coalition government's decision to sell the land to Jindal steel firm," Singh told reporters here. Source: IANS
05:06 pm NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi is addressing the Parliament today during the ongoing Budget Session. The PM said the dream of a secure nation has been seen by many leaders. To fulfil this with resolve, we all have to move forward. This is the aspiration of India. To fulfil the nation's needs, we can cross all challenges. A lot of lawmakers who are making their debut promised to put their points forward well, reports NDTV. The Prime Minister is delivering a note of thanks to President Ram Nath Kovind's joint address last week, reports NDTV. The President's Address echoes the hope and aspirations that the citizens of the country have sent us to this House. The President in his speech highlighted the vision of new India. In his speech, the President drew a blueprint on where do we want to take India, how we want to take and how we are going to fulfil the aspirations of the common human being of the country, PM added, NDTV reported.