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Congress gears up for Kisan Samman Rally

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By NewsGram Staff Writer

New Delhi: The Congress is making earnest preparations for its ‘Kisan Samman Rally’ on Sunday, and the party expects over one lakh people from Delhi and its neighbouring states to attend the event.

punjabnewsexpress.com
punjabnewsexpress.com

The rally to mark the party’s “victory” on the land acquisition bill over the Narendra Modi government will highlight the role of party vice president Rahul Gandhi in taking a firm stand and forcing the government to back-track on an issue concerning farmers.

“The land bill was among the first major issues taken up by Rahul Gandhi against the Modi government. He had promised that he will not allow the government to dilute the land bill passed by the UPA government and he has delivered on his promise,” a party leader said.

The party is mobilising support for the rally largely in Delhi, Haryana, Punjab, Rajasthan, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh.

“We are expecting over one lakh people. It will be a big rally,” the leader said.

Speakers at the rally will highlight the party’s struggle for farmers who constitute a large section of electorate in all states.

The rally is being held weeks ahead of assembly polls in Bihar and the party is expecting that it will help it in the poll-bound state.

The Congress has suffered a string of losses in assembly polls after its debacle in the Lok Sabha election last year.

The rally is being seen as part of efforts by the party for its electoral revival.

The government allowed its ordinance to lapse following stiff opposition from the Congress to changes in the 2013 Act on land acquisition which was passed during the then United Progressive Alliance government.

The new land bill of the National Democratic Alliance government is being examined by a joint committee of parliament but the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party has already made significant change in its stance on the legislation by relenting on some clauses such as on consent and social impact assessment.

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www.dailymail.co.uk

Rahul Gandhi had come in for special praise at the Congress Working Committee meeting on September 8 from his mother and party president Sonia Gandhi and other members for leading the battle against the government on its land ordinance.

Sonia Gandhi said the government was compelled to withdraw its “anti-farmer amendments” due to the party’s sustained campaign.

“The credit for this goes to every worker of the Congress party, who under Rahul’s active guidance, carried out a sustained agitation,” she had said.

The CWC also congratulated Rahul Gandhi, and farmers across the country for “their determined and resolute opposition to draconian ordinance”.

Rahul Gandhi had met delegations of farmers from various states last week and told them that the Congress was proud to have fought with them against the government’s “anti-farmer amendments” to the land bill.

He said the Congress was fighting to ensure that farmers become equal partners in the progress of the nation.

The Congress had last week formed a committee with senior leader AK Antony as its chairman in an apparent effort to turn the rally into a show of strength.

The committee includes among others, former Haryana chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda, party general secretary Digvijaya Singh, former Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit, party treasurer Moitlal Vora, Himachal Pradesh chief minister Virbhadra Singh and Uttarakhand Chief Minister Harish Rawat as members.

With inputs from IANS

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Will Congress Party be Able to Survive in Future in Face of Modi Onslaught?

It was India’s “Grand Old Party.” The Congress Party ruled the country for 55 out of 71 years since independence

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From left, Congress party leader Sonia Gandhi, her son and party President Rahul Gandhi, and former Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh attend a Congress Working Committee meeting in New Delhi, May 25, 2019. VOA

It was India’s “Grand Old Party.” The Congress Party ruled the country for 55 out of 71 years since independence. But following the party’s crushing electoral debacle for a second time, there are questions about its future as the Nehru-Gandhi political dynasty at its helm is unable to counter the most powerful leader India has produced in decades: Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Contrary to expectations, India’s mammoth general election turned out to be virtually a no-contest between Modi and Congress Party president Rahul Gandhi as it became a presidential-style battle.

“It is not what went wrong with the Congress, it is more of a story of what went right for Prime Minister Modi. He stood as a tall leader, as an achiever, as somebody who understood people’s aspirations,” says political commentator Rasheed Kidwai, who has authored a biography of Rahul Gandhi’s mother, Sonia Gandhi. On the other hand, “Rahul Gandhi is temperamentally not a power wielder. He is a trustee of power.”

The sixth member of the Nehru Gandhi family to lead the party, Rahul is often seen as a “reluctant politician”, despite his spirited campaign to revive the party and challenge Modi after its rout in 2014.

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India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi waves toward his supporters during an election campaign rally in New Delhi, May 8, 2019. VOA

Gandhi’s rallies drew crowds, but his efforts to project Modi and his Bharatiya Janata Party as a threat to India’s secular traditions or to highlight issues of economic distress failed to resonate. His attempts to nail him for corruption in a deal to buy Rafale French fighter jets fell flat. His promise of a minimum wage for India’s poorest families was met with skepticism, even among the poor.

On the other hand, Modi, successfully wooed voters with his message of strident nationalism and subtle appeal to the majority Hindu community. Along with it, there was another theme: he projected himself as the humble son of a tea seller, a self made man who fought all odds to reach the top post in contrast to what he called the “entitled” Gandhi who had inherited the mantle of leadership of the Congress Party. It drew cheers from the country’s emerging middle and lower-middle classes, exhausted with dynastic politics.

The Congress Party’s tally of 52 seats in parliament was only a notch higher than the 44 seats it won in 2014 in the 545-member parliament. The party’s candidates returned empty-handed in half the Indian states and in several others the party only mustered a single digit tally.Modi’s BJP won 303 seats.

The scale of its losses not just crushed hopes the Congress Party would either lead a credible challenge to Modi or return as invigorated opposition – it once again raised questions over the leadership of the Gandhi family.

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The sixth member of the Nehru Gandhi family to lead the party, Rahul is often seen as a “reluctant politician”, despite his spirited campaign to revive the party and challenge Modi after its rout in 2014. VOA

Rahul Gandhi has offered to resign, but expectedly the party that has no second rung of leadership has turned it down. “The party will fulfill its role as a strong opposition. We need Rahul Gandhi to lead us in these challenging times,” Congress Party spokesman Randeep Surjewala said after a meeting of the party’s senior leaders on the weekend.

Rahul Gandhi also lost the Amethi constituency the party had held for 50 years in Uttar Pradesh state. In another humiliating blow for the Gandhi family, his sister Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, who was appointed in a senior post to revive the party, failed to make an impact. Rahul’s mother, Sonia Gandhi, won her party’s only seat in the state.

Rahul Gandhi’s victory in another constituency in South India means he will continue to be a lawmaker. Dynastic politics is not limited to the Congress Party: lawmakers from political families are a routine feature of Indian politics. But political commentators say in an era showing a preference for strong, populist leaders, Modi was the clear victor.

congress, modi
here are questions about its future as the Nehru-Gandhi political dynasty at its helm is unable to counter the most powerful leader India has produced in decades: Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Wikimedia Commons

“There is a new sense of nationalism sweeping across many conventional democracies. There is a yearning for a strong leader that captures the public imagination,” according to political analyst Ajoy Bose. “I don’t really see the conventional Congress Party or the conventional leadership mounting a challenge to Modi. He has completely taken the country by storm.”

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Gandhi tried to give a positive message after the party’s rout. “We have a different vision of India [from Modi]”, said the head of the party that has long projected itself as a defender of India’s minorities, such as Muslims who worry about religious polarization and a rise in hate crimes since Modi came to power. “There is no need to be afraid. We will continue to work hard and we will eventually win.”

But it may be difficult to reinvent what analysts call a “fading party.” They say Modi’s BJP now occupies the dominant political space that the Congress party did for decades. “Congress is going to get reduced to, you know, like the Liberals did in Britain,” says Rasheed Kidwai. (VOA)