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More Power Given to Congress State Units For 2019 Battle

The source also said that the state units have been asked to prepare a "charge-sheet" about the Modi government and its policies, particularly issues affecting the economy

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Congress on Friday promised to create one crore jobs across the southern state
Congress state units given more power for 2019 battle- wikimedia commons

Bracing up for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the Congress has accorded more powers and autonomy to its state units in deciding candidates as well as strategising for publicity and coordination.

According to informed sources, in a meeting of the Congress core committee with state presidents held on Thursday in the national capital, the central leadership asked the state units to fill up vacancies in block and district committees at the earliest besides identifying probable candidates for the 2019 mega battle in the respective states.

“Keeping in view that there will be state-specific alliances and electoral understandings, the state units have been asked to identify potential seats that can be spare for the allies. The emphasis is also on reaching out to the grassroots and build connect with the masses at booth levels,” said a party source.

The source also said that the central leadership harped on finalising the candidate lists providing ample time for discussions on seat sharing with probable allies.

Besides the national issues including the Rafale deal, agrarian distress and unemployment, the state units have also been given a say to have local issues accommodated in the party manifesto for 2019.

credit: www.indiawires.com

Congress President Rahul Gandhi has constituted a 19-member Manifesto Committee to chalk out the manifesto for the general elections.

The source also said that the state units have been asked to prepare a “charge-sheet” about the Modi government and its policies, particularly issues affecting the economy.

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Gandhi has already constituted a nine-member “core committee” to supervise and organise the party’s preparations for general elections that includes party veterans like A.K. Antony, Ghulam Nabi Azad, P. Chidambaram and Mallikarjun Kharge.

With the party persistently raising the issue of tampering of electronic voting machines (EVMs), state units have also been asked to organise workshops to educate the party workers about the functioning of the machines and guard against any malpractices. (IANS)

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Brazil’s President Bolsonaro Faces First Defeat in Congress

The defeat on the floor of the house came one day after Bolsonaro fired a senior minister amid a scandal.

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Jair Bolsonaro, Brazil
Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro arrives at the inauguration ceremony of the new president of the Parliamentary Front of Agriculture (FPA), at the Clube Naval, in Brasilia, Jan. 19, 2019. VOA

Brazil’s lower chamber handed right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro his first defeat in Congress on Tuesday, the day before his government presents its most important legislative proposal to rein in a gaping budget deficit and spur growth.

The house voted overwhelmingly to suspend an executive order by the Bolsonaro government that altered Brazil’s freedom of information law to broaden the number of officials allowed to designate data and documents as secret or ultra-secret.

Lawmakers voted 367 to 57 to fast-track a bill overturning the secrecy measure and government whips were unable to muster votes to avoid defeat.

The bill must still be voted on by the Senate, but the reversal showed that Bolsonaro, who took office on Jan. 1, has not yet been able to organize a coalition in Congress to back his legislative agenda.

On Wednesday, Bolsonaro will send to Congress his plan to overhaul Brazil’s generous and costly pension system that eats up more than half of federal spending and is the main factor behind an unsustainable budget deficit.

Brazil, Bolsonaro
FILE – Gustavo Bebianno in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Sept. 29, 2018. VOA

Approval of pension reform is vital for the recovery of investor confidence in Latin America’s largest economy.

The defeat on the floor of the house came one day after Bolsonaro fired a senior minister amid a scandal involving campaign financing for some of his party’s congressional candidates in the October elections.

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The ousted minister, Gustavo Bebianno, was instrumental in getting Bolsonaro elected but had a run-in with one of the president’s sons, triggering the weeks-old government’s first cabinet crisis.

In a note to clients, analysts at Eurasia Group said the scandal indicated the administration’s political team was in disarray, but they still expected the pension reform to get passed, albeit in a less ambitious version. (VOA)