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Congress’s internal feud visible during Kisan rally

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New Delhi: Despite Congress left no stone unturned to flesh out its solidarity during the ‘Kisan Samman Rally’ in the national capital on Sunday, the factionalism in the Haryana Congress came out in the open.

Picture credit: newindianexpress.com
Picture credit: newindianexpress.com

After Haryana Congress chief Ashok Tanwar began his speech, there was waving of hands and some booing by partymen wearing pink turbans, who were seen as supporters of former state chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda.

Tanwar, who was among the early speakers, did not make a long speech.

Hooda, who a party functionary conceded had the strength to muster the crowd for the party’s rallies, spoke in the presence of Congress president Sonia Gandhi and vice-president Rahul Gandhi and proposed a vote of thanks.

The functionary said Hooda’s supporters were keen to show his reach at the grassroots.

Rahul Gandhi’s role in focus

The rally in the national capital came five months after the Congress had held a rally on the land ordinance in April.

While the April rally marked Rahul Gandhi’s arrival back from a long sabbatical, Sunday’s rally was meant to highlight his role in forcing the Modi government to retrace its steps on the land bill. He had led from the front on the party’s protest on the land bill.

Speakers took turns to highlight Rahul Gandhi’s role in taking the lead on the issue.

The posters put up on the occasion also sought to emphasise the party’s association with the farmers, with some of the posters reading: “Voice of farmers has not been suppressed ever, will not be suppressed” and “Our land, our identity”.

Call for RSS-free India

Youth Congress chief Amarinder Singh Raja Brar, while giving a call for “RSS-free” India, compared the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government’s rule under Prime Minister Narendra Modi with that of Germany’s Nazi leader Adolf Hilter.

He said RSS, the ideological fountainhead of BJP, was “targetting” the Nehru-Gandhi family in an effort to weaken the Congress.

Referring to the government’s decision to withdraw stamps on former prime ministers Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi, Brar said his organisation would agitate so fiercely that it would force Communications Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad to say that the discontinuation of stamps was a mistake.

Brar, who spoke ahead of the arrival of Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi at Ram Lila Maidan, the rally-venue, also talked about the party’s weakness.

“The weakness with us is that we fight among ourselves, indulge in factionalism. Let us get united. Let us not make a show before people of the country. If we keep fighting among ourselves, we cannot make a RSS-free India,” Raja said.

Rahul Gandhi recites a joke

Congress vice-president packed his attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi over “suit-boot ki sarkar” with a “joke” about arrogance of man in “suit-boot”.

He said the man sought help from a boat driver to cross a river. In the boat, the man asked many questions about the boatman’s education, making him feel small. But when the boat swayed a little in mid-stream, the boatman asked the educated man whether he knew swimming. The man in the suit-boot did not know swimming and it was now boatman’s turn to take a dig back.

Rahul Gandhi said people in suit-boot had knowledge, as did others.

(IANS)

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India Begins Its Election Season With Five States

The BJP has sent top leaders to campaign in Chhattisgarh.

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India, elections
India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi gestures as he addresses the gathering during the 'Global Mobility Summit' in New Delhi, India, VOA

India began on Monday the first of five state elections to be held in coming weeks, important tests for Prime Minister Narendra Modi as he plots a course that he hopes will ensure him victory in a general election due by May.

Voters in the central state of Chhattisgarh went to the polls on Monday to elect representatives for 18 of the state assembly’s 90 seats in a staggered poll complicated by logistical problems and left-wing guerrillas.

The state of about 26 million people has been ruled by Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) since 2003, and he will be hoping to hold on to power.

India, elections
Prime Minister Narendra Modi Continues To Stay Mum On The #MeToo Movement. Wikimedia Commons

“Some unholy people have handed guns to children who should have pens in their hands,” Modi told a rally in the state on Friday, referring to the rag-tag guerrillas battling government forces from forest hideouts. “They’ve finished the lives of our tribal children.”

Hundreds of election workers had to be flown in to remote polling stations by helicopter because of the danger posed by the rebels.

Modi called for voters to back his BJP and its vision of “development for all.”

The final phase of voting in Chhattisgarh, which is known for its coal, iron ore and bauxite reserves, will be on Nov. 20.

India,India, elections
India’s Congress party President Rahul Gandhi displays documents as he accuses Narendra Modi’s government of buying 36 Rafale fighter jets from France’s Dassault at a highly inflated price, in New Delhi, India. VOA

The BJP was the preference of about 43 percent of voters in Chhattisgarh, 7 percentage points ahead of the main opposition Congress party, according to a survey released last week by the Lokniti-Centre for the Study of Developing Societies.

Modi’s other big tests will be in the neighboring central state of Madhya Pradesh, where the BJP is slightly ahead of Congress, according to polls, and in the northwestern state of Rajasthan, where Congress is expected to emerge victorious.

A good performance by the BJP in the elections would help it deflect growing criticism over unemployment and a crisis in the countryside over falling farm prices and wages.

India, elections
Modi Appeals For A Regional Front Against Terrorism, flickr

Elections will also be held for assemblies in Telangana in the south and Mizoram in the northeast.

The BJP has sent top leaders to campaign in Chhattisgarh, including Yogi Adityanath, a firebrand Hindu priest and the BJP chief minister in Uttar Pradesh state.

Also Read: PM Narendra Modi Announces Easier Access to Credit

Adityanath has been appealing to the BJP’s Hindu-nationalist base and on Sunday accused the opposition of blocking construction of a temple for Hindu god Ram on a disputed site in Uttar Pradesh.

The destruction of a mosque on the site by a Hindu mob in 1992 sparked deadly riots across the country. (VOA)