Congress blames NDA govt. for humiliating Governors

New Delhi: Post, Maharashtra Governor K Sankaranarayanan resigned after being transferred to Mizoram, the Congress on Monday blamed the NDA government of 'insulting' and 'humiliating' the Governors.

As per reports, the party also wondered whether the BJP government was using Mizoram as a dumping ground.

Also, the grand old party spoke about Kerala Governor Sheial Dikshit, who if reports are to be believed might resign from the post soon. Congress general secretary Shakeel Ahmed said, "Dikshit is not a member of the Congress party now. When she will not be holding any constitutional post and when she joins politics actively, the party will decide on it. If she joins some other party, who knows… It is for her to decide and choose any party."

The speculations behind Sheila's resignation began after Dikshit met President Pranab Mukherjee and Home Minister Rajnath Singh in Delhi. Her meeting with Singh lasted for less than five minutes. However, when asked whether she will resign, Dikshit said, "You will know if something like this happens."
READ MORE - Congress blames NDA govt. for humiliating Governors

3 Congress ruled north-eastern states to face dissent?

The ongoing dissidence in Assam has ignited dissidents of at least three Congress-ruled north-eastern states where legislators have started polarising to demand a change of leadership in their respective states.
In Congress-ruled Manipur, at least 27 out of 47 Congress legislators have revolted against chief minister Okram Ibobi. Insiders in Arunachal Congress claimed that change of leadership in Assam would certainly give more teeth to their demand to replace chief minister Nabam Tuki. The liberal approach of the AICC has also polarised the legislators in the frontier state of Meghalaya to challenge the leaders of Mr Mukut Sangma.
READ MORE - 3 Congress ruled north-eastern states to face dissent?

Cong opposes move to abrogate Article 371(A)

DIMAPUR, Jun 10 : Nagaland Congress has observed that Article 371(A) of the Constitution of India which protects the rights of the Naga people was an agreement of accession of the State to the Union of India.

Reacting to the reports of possibility of abrogation of the Article 371 (A) by the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) Government, former president of Nagaland Pradesh Congress Committee (NPCC) KV Pusa said Article 371(A) was an article of faith and accession of Nagas to the Union of India and that any attempt to rewrite or abrogate the Article would tantamount to abrogation of Statehood agreement signed in 1960, which is known as 16-Point Agreement.

The Congress leader suggested the parties engaged in dialogue to hammer out a solution to the protracted Naga political problem. He said any solution below the 16-Point Agreement would not only complicate the Naga issue but would amount to betrayal of the Naga issue. Any solution should be above Article 371(A) of the Constitution. There should be a solution which is honourable and acceptable to all sections of people, Pusa insisted.
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Congress concentrating more on setting house in order than criticizing new government

Congress party symbol
Congress party symbol
In its pursuit of getting things rearranged, a major overhaul of sorts can be expected in Sonia Gandhi-led party. The party, which is yet to emerge from the ruins of an embarrassing defeat, is trying to bring all dots together again.
In such a crucial and sensitive situation, any decision, if taken in haste may lead to dissent and division within the party and keeping this particular fact in mind, changes will be gradually brought in the next six months.
Till then, the party will be in a position to evaluate the performance of Modi government and also work out on its strategies from an all-new perspective.
According to sources, the results have as of now cast a pall of gloom and abdominal lull in the Congress camp and the party is not in a position to brainstorm over the current situation. No one in the party expected such a poor show.
Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi, who switched into an aggressive mode ahead of the Lok Sabha elections, blamed the senior leaders for the party’s poor showing. They were even sidelined and a new team led by Rahul came forward to take the charge.
Since then, the fight between the old and new kept on escalating and its impact could be clearly seen in the results of the Lok Sabha elections. The Congress candidates lost their deposits in 178 seats and Team Rahul’s members are on the firing line now.
The real problem with Congress lies in the fact that it has no leader besides Nehru-Gandhi family to lead the party. Even those leaders, who are against Rahul are finding it difficult to move ahead of the Congress vice-president and promoting Priyanka.
After realizing the disastrous outcome of this move, party president Sonia Gandhi has taken the entire control on her own hands as of now. She asked her old loyalists to take care of this delicate situation and look into the issue of appointing Opposition leaders in both Houses of the Parliament.
Besides, the Congress does not have even the required numbers of 55 seats to sit in Opposition as it has been reduced to just 44 seats.
The Union government, if it wishes, can even function without Opposition but the Congress came up with an argument that the Constitution allows the second largest party to be deemed as the Opposition and going by this yardstick, the grand old party, along with its allies, has an overall tally of 59 seats.
The party, which is yet to recover from the aftereffects of results, has decided not to adopt an out and out aggressive stance against the BJP-led government as of now.
READ MORE - Congress concentrating more on setting house in order than criticizing new government

Cosmetic changes not enough Cong needs to use its robust second rung of leadership

Congress party president Sonia Gandhi and vice President Rahul Gandhi attend the Congress Working Committee (CWC) meeting in New Delhi.  (AFP photo)

A little first aid here and there simply will not do. The Congress, seemingly in terminal decline, needs a major surgery to recover from this cataclysmic defeat at the hands of the BJP. So there are many things that will not work. One certainly is to replace one Gandhi face with another Gandhi face as some loyalists are suggesting.

The rot has gone too deep for Priyanka Gandhi Vadra to set right should she replace her brother Rahul Gandhi. Even if Congress president Sonia Gandhi, who still enjoys considerable popularity, were to take full charge of the party, it still needs a major vision overhaul.

It has to undergo a drastic mindset change and re-evaluate many of its core principles, among them the relevance of dynastic rule. As the Congress Working Committee (CWC) soul-searching meet ended, the party seems to be either unwilling or unable to come up with any decisive action, which will signal a new beginning. There was, of course, the expected offer from both Sonia and Rahul to resign and the expected refusal by the CWC to accept this.

Instead of having a CWC meeting comprising many of the defeated leaders, a better and more constructive thing would have been to call in the state leaders and confer with them on the specific needs of the states where the party did badly. There cannot be an omnibus blueprint for course correction. If the Congress were serious about affixing blame, then surely Mr Gandhi should have resigned from his position and taken it upon himself to spend the next few years rejuvenating the party.

It was also an occasion to admit that the experiment with primaries did not work. The time for shielding non-performers has gone. After getting just 44 seats, the task of rebuilding the party is Herculean. But the Congress has the good fortune of having a robust second rung of leadership. It should make the maximum use of its younger leaders instead of hoping that the family will pull its chestnuts out of the fire. It must also examine why its grand social welfare schemes did not translate into votes. The voter today does not seem to want State largesse. Rather she wants employment opportunities and not perpetual dole. Also bringing up past sacrifices of the Congress leadership finds little resonance in today’s voter. The Congress cannot hope to paper over the cracks and carry on with business as usual.

A stint out of power will perhaps result in the party emerging leaner and meaner come the next election. But for that, some very tough decisions have to be taken now.
READ MORE - Cosmetic changes not enough Cong needs to use its robust second rung of leadership

Rahul aides set to come under fire

Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi’s close advisers may come under attack at the Congress Working Committee meeting that will be held here Monday, soon after the party’s worst performance in a general election after Independence. While party managers set the tone of the meeting by saying “it is a collective responsibility”, in a bid to contain dissent, this line may help several party CMs and PCC chiefs to prolong their stay for some time.
Outgoing minister Kamal Nath toed Rahul Gandhi’s line of filling party posts by internal elections, suggesting on Sunday that CWC members be elected through elections, saying it was time to end the “culture of patronage”.
Late Congress chiefs P.V. Narasimha Rao and Sitaram Kesri had elections to choose CWC members at AICC plenaries in Tirupati (1992) and Kolkata (1997). But that created major rivals for them, with Arjun Singh and Rajesh Pilot emerging as claimants for the highest posts in the party.
If the CWC undertakes this exercise seriously, it has to ruthlessly identify mistakes in election planning, strategy and campaigning. The BJP wanted to make the election a Narendra Modi vs Rahul Gandhi contest, and the Congress fell right into that trap. The CWC members, who are nominated by chief Sonia Gandhi, are unlikely to attack the Nehru-Gandhi family directly, but may question the role of advisers.
The 2014 polls were fought under the leadership of Rahul Gandhi, who was its campaign committee chief though not projected as its PM candidate.
READ MORE - Rahul aides set to come under fire

Rahul Gandhi addresses rallies in Northeast

Kohima, March 27: Rahul Gandhi will be addressing a public rally in Kohima, Tezpur and Dibrugarh in the Northeast. Currently, he is in Kohima and at first look, the gathering seems to be impressive. A banned terrorist outfit National Democratic Front of Bodoland (S) has called for a 12-hour bandh in the Sonitpur district today to show its protest. At 1 pm, he would be at the election rally at Biswanath Chariali ground. His third rally would be in Chaulhowa playground in Dibrugarh, Assam. Following are the live updates of Rahul Gandhi's rallies: 12:00 pm: The Government of Nagaland has taken the development of state in reverse gear.They have taken Nagaland from 8.3 % to a growth rate of just 3.8%. We know that people of Nagaland are dynamic because we see you are working in different parts of the country. More than 50000 youngsters are employed in Nagaland, the state government is not training them. I am proud to state that the central government has given a lot of funds and created higher education institutes in Nagaland. We know that in Naga culture, women are respected a lot.We have brought 50% reservation in local bodies. We want a dedicated women force in Nagaland. The single biggest problem in N East is connectivity, we have focused on it, but we will dramatically increase infrastructure. I am a big supporter of the "Look East" policy for the North East. It is important to connect North East with neighbouring countries. We are committed to create 100 million jobs in the next government, this can only be done, if we build north east. 11:55 am: I have been taught not to promise anything which I cannot deliver. The UPA government has taken the bold decision to talk with the NSCN. Your CM has made promises which he has not able to deliver. I will only tell you that I am with you from my heart: 11:50 am: The western countries say that they invest in Democracy, but we know India's democracy is stronger: Rahul Gandhi in Kohima. The only promise that I that I can make is that I am with you. OneIndia News
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Congress bags 7 Arunachal assembly seats even before polls

ITANAGAR: Congress in Arunachal Pradesh has taken the wind out of the opposition's sails by securing seven seats unopposed ahead of the April 9 assembly elections in the state. The fate of the uncontested seats will be formally announced on March 26, the last date for withdrawal of nominations.

Congress's tally of uncontested seats rose to seven after the nomination papers of BJP candidate Lhakpa Tsering from Dirang assembly constituency were found to be invalid upon scrutiny on Monday. This cleared the deck for Congress nominee Phurpa Tsering to be elected unopposed from Dirang, election office sources said here on Tuesday.

Tourism minister Pema Khandu (Mukto), rural development minister Tanga Byaling (Nacho), Punji Mara (Taliha), Bamang Felix (Nyapin), first-timer Mama Natung (Seppa West) and Takam Pario from Palin in remote Kurung Kumey district have already been declared winners as there were no opposing candidates in these constituencies.

Meanwhile, 173 candidates are in the fray for election to the 60-member state assembly and 11 candidates have filed their papers to contest the two Lok Sabha seats in the state.

Congress has fielded candidates in all 60 assembly constituencies. BJP has opted to field candidates in 47 seats, People's Party of Arunachal (PPA) in 19 seats, NCP in 10 seats, first-timer Naga People's Front (NPF) in 11 seats and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in a single seat. Twenty-five independent candidates, including five women, are also standing for election.

The Arunachal West parliamentary constituency is all set to witness a multi-pronged contest with eight candidates-Takam Sanjoy of Congress, BJP's Kiren Rijiju, PPA's Jalley Sonam, AAP candidate Habung Payeng, Taba Taku of Lok Bharati, Trinamool Congress nominee Gumjum Haider, Gicho Kabak of NCP and independent candidate Subu Kechi-throwing their hats in the ring.

The candidates for the Arunachal East parliamentary constituency include Union minister of state for minority affairs Ninong Ering (Congress), former BJP MP Tapir Gao and PPA nominee Wangman Lowangcha.

Altogether 7,53,170 voters, including 3,77,272 women, will vote in 2,158 polling stations across the state.

The Trinamool Congress, which had won five seats during the 2009 assembly polls, has failed to field a single candidate from any assembly constituency this time. The party's five MLAs and four NCP members had merged with Congress, while another NCP member, Laeta Umbrey, had joined PPA.

Meanwhile, sources said demonstrative 'poll booth-like scenarios' will be set up throughout the state on April 2 to help voters understand how to cast their vote on two different electronic voting machines (EVMs), one each for the Lok Sabha and the assembly elections.

The Election Commission has handed over the investigation of the March 22 ransack at the Koloriang DC's office to a special investigation team (SIT) for a speedy probe, sources added.
READ MORE - Congress bags 7 Arunachal assembly seats even before polls

Congress to get more seats in northeast: Mukul Sangma

Shillong : Exuding confidence that northeastern states would contribute more seats to the Congress' kitty, Meghalaya Chief Minister Mukul Sangma Wednesday reiterated that his Gujarat counterpart Narendra Modi will never become the prime minister because of his fundamentalist background.

"We (Congress) are prepared for the elections. We are optimistic that the people in the region will throw their weight behind the Congress because of its revolutionary legislation and schemes launched by the party-led United Progressive Alliance government," Sangma told IANS.

"We are going to do well in Assam, Mizoram, Manipur, and Arunachal Pradesh. In Meghalaya we will retain the Shillong parliamentary seat and we are also optimistic that the Tura parliamentary seat (represented by Nationalist Congress Party MP Agatha K Sangma) will go in favour of the Congress this time," he said.

"Though Tripura and Nagaland are tough turf for the Congress, but nonetheless we are hoping to do better in both these states," added Sangma.

Of the 25 seats in the region (14 in Assam, two each in Tripura, Meghalaya, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh and one each in Mizoram, Nagaland and Sikkim), Congress secured 13 in the last Lok Sabha polls in 2009 while the Bharatiya Janata Party got four seats.

The Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) won Tripura's two seats, while one seat each was bagged by regional parties Asom Gana Parishad, All India United Democratic Front and Bodo People's Front in Assam and the Naga People's Front and the Sikkim Democratic Front (SDF) secured the lone parliamentary seats from Nagaland and Sikkim respectively.

Congress is in power in Manipur, Mizoram, Assam, Arunachal Pradesh and Meghalaya while the CPI-M-led Left Front rules Tripura. The NPF-led Democratic Alliance of Nagaland is ruling in Nagaland and the SDF in Sikkim.

Asked if the recent campaign launched by the BJP's prime ministerial candidate Modi in northeastern states would ruin Congress prospects, Sangma said: "There are some well wishers for the BJP in the region, but I don't see the BJP doing better than the Congress.

"The Congress has strong roots in the region, and I am optimistic we will do much better this because of the performance of the Congress-led UPA government."

Accusing the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) and the BJP to divide and polarize the country on religious communal lines, Sangma called for an all-out struggle against communal forces and ideologies through the elections.

Reiterating that he doesn't see Modi becoming a prime minister, he said: "Any person having fundamentalist background in this country cannot aspire to become prime minister. The whole issue (Modi's prime ministerial candidature) is being driven by this group which had hand in unpleasant things in the history of India.

"What would happen to India if Modiji a hardcore RSS man becomes the next prime minister? Imagine they (RSS) are going to pull strings behind the functioning of his government which is going to be dangerous for this country," he said.
READ MORE - Congress to get more seats in northeast: Mukul Sangma

Rahul bombarded with kisses in Assam

Rahul bombarded with kisses in Assam  

Jorhat (Assam):
Rahul Gandhi’s two day visit to Assam ended with love being bestowed on him in abundance.

On Wednesday,  over 600 women gathered to catch glimpses of Congress vice-president  in Assam.

Excited to see Rahul in person, one woman could not stop herself from kissing him on his forehead while the other landed a peck on his cheek. A visibly embarrassed Rahul was seen smiling when these ladies kissed him.

Rahul discussed issues like women security and reservation for women with the gathering.

Stressing the need to offer more opportunities to women, Rahul said, "We always try to give some top posts like President, Prime Minister, chief minister, MP and MLA to women. We also want them to get top powerful positions in all sectors. We hope women will come forward in all sectors and be powerful,"

“India would become a developed nation if women get equal rights in this country, added Rahul

Replying to a question  on the withdrawal of Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act from the state, Rahul said, "I am inspired by Mahatma Gandhi that any conflict can be resolved through discussions, love and peace. You cannot solve problems without discussing them and by using force against these people. They must have the power to do what they want to chart out their own destiny and fulfill their dreams.”
READ MORE - Rahul bombarded with kisses in Assam