After departure of young leaders, Cong looks at Kanhaiya Kumar, Jignesh Mevani

Agencies
September 26, 2021

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Independent Gujarat MLA Jignesh Mevani announced Saturday that he will join the Congress on September 28 along with former JNU student leader Kanhaiya Kumar — a move that has been in the making, and was confirmed by party leaders in Delhi.

They will join in the Capital, in the presence of Rahul Gandhi and Gujarat Congress working president Hardik Patel. The date has a symbolic value as it is Bhagat Singh’s birth anniversary. 

A Dalit leader, Mevani, 41, first emerged along with Hardik and Alpesh Thakore as the youth face challenging the BJP dominance in Gujarat during the 2017 Assembly elections. Kanhaiya, 34, is the firebrand former JNU student union president who caught national attention with speeches against the Modi government, and then went on to unsuccessfully try his hand at electoral politics as a CPI candidate.

However, since then, much water has flowed under the bridge for both leaders — even as the Congress is in rockier waters than before. So, what do the two bring to the party table? The opinion in the grand old party, as usual, is divided. Some leaders dismayingly see in it the Gandhi siblings’ proclivity to lurch towards the Left.

In a brief statement, Mevani, who had won from the reserved Vadgam Assembly seat in north Gujarat in 2017, with the backing of the Congress, said: “On September 28, I will be joining the Indian National Congress along with Kanhaiya Kumar. I have nothing more to say till then.”

Welcoming “all revolutionary leaders willing to work for the country and strengthen the Congress” Saturday, Hardik said they should do so “without worrying about their personal ambitions and challenges”. Calling Mevani “an old friend” while speaking to PTI, he said Mevani’s entry would strengthen the Congress in the state and at the national level.

Hardik’s reference to “personal ambitions” is interesting given his own frustration within the Congress, which he joined in 2019 after leading a successful Patidar agitation against the BJP. In an interview, he had said the state leadership did not give him any work and was trying to “pull me down”.

During the debate for the JNU student union president’s post in 2015, Kanhaiya, the candidate of the CPI student wing AISF, had shown his oratorical skills with paraphrasing of a couplet to famously attack both the BJP and Congress: “Barbaad Hindustan karne ko ek hi Congress kafi tha… Har rajya main BJP baitha hai, barbaad e gulistan kya hoga.”

Apart from the fact that both Kumar and Mevani are fiery speakers, the Congress also has state-specific calculations.

While Mevani was in talks with the Congress much before the BJP changed its entire ministry in Gujarat, the revamp has made his choice even more significant for the party given the new caste dynamics. The BJP’s new chief minister is a Patel, while AAP too is focusing on the community in its foray into the state that goes to polls next year. The Congress strategy seems to be to woo the OBCs and Dalits. Mevani had emerged as the face of the Dalit protests in Gujarat in the wake of the Una flogging incident.

Hardik, who has been trying for the Congress to make him the state chief, is said to have worked behind the scenes for Mevani’s induction.

Many Congress leaders in Gujarat see the move as timely, given the long stasis in the state unit. The party has not been able to appoint an AICC in-charge for Gujarat since Rajiv Satav’s death in May. Party leaders have been pushing for a clear signal to the OBC and Dalit community.

Apart from this, the Congress hopes the entry of Kanhaiya and Mevani will be good optics given the fact that several young leaders — Jyotiraditya Scindia, Sushmita Dev, Jitin Prasada, Priyanka Chaturvedi and Laliteshpati Tripathi – have left the party in the last two years. The first battleground where the party may use the two is Uttar Pradesh.

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News Network
November 29,2021

Bengaluru, Nov 29: Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai made it clear that there is no proposal before the government for a lockdown in the state.

Speaking to media persons on Monday during his private visit to the city, he said people need not panic and that the government was not in favour of a lockdown. "There is no need to declare holiday for schools and colleges. But the government would keep a close watch over the rise in cases and take steps to contain the spread of the virus," he said.

He also claimed that the government was taking steps to contain the spread of Omicron variant. "Those who are entering the state from overseas are being examined. A strange symptom has been found in a person who came from South Africa and the sample has been sent to Indian Council of Medical Research laboratory for testing. The report is awaited," he added.

Following the rise in number of Covid-19 cases in Kerala, all travellers coming from the state are being screened for the viral infection.

With the South African variant of coronavirus posing fresh threats, the administrations of the districts bordering Maharashtra have upped the vigil at the checkposts. 

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News Network
November 25,2021

Riyadh, Nov 25: The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has finally given green signal to people from six countries including India to directly enter the country without having to spend 14-day in quarantine in third country.

The other five countries are Pakistan, Indonesia, Egypt, Brazil and Vietnam.

The Saudi Press Agency reported quoting an official source at the Ministry of Interior that the new directive will come into effect from December 1, 2021.

All those who come from these countries are required to spend five days in institutional quarantine, regardless of their immunization status outside the Kingdom, the report said.

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News Network
November 17,2021

New Delhi, Nov 17: The number of fully vaccinated individuals against Covid-19 has surpassed the partially vaccinated eligible population for the first time in the country, Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya said on Wednesday.

This feat has been made possible due to the prime minister's vision of 'Jan-Bhagidari' and “Whole of Government Approach”, people's faith and confidence in the government, and the ongoing 'Har Ghar Dastak' campaign which has seen a tremendous response from various parts of the country, Mandaviya said.

"In a significant achievement to the nationwide vaccination coverage for the country, for the first time the number of fully vaccinated individuals has surpassed those who have been administered only a single dose of vaccine," the minister said in a statement.

The country has in total administered over 113.68 crore doses, according to the provisional report at 7 am.

This has been achieved through 1,16,73,459 sessions. Out of which, 75,57,24,081 doses were administered as first dose and 38,11,55,604 doses were administered as second dose. The number of fully vaccinated individuals (38,11,55,604) exceeds those who have been administered a single dose (37,45,68,477), the minister said.

The Union Health Minister congratulated the collective spirit of the country on this achievement.

In a tweet, he appealed to all eligible citizens to get vaccinated.

“We will win the battle against Covid-19 together,” he stated.

The Union Health Minister expressed confidence that the country will have vaccinated every Indian by the end of the month-long 'Har Ghar Dastak' campaign, according to the statement.

“The staunch political commitment of the Government of India to protect every citizen from Covid-19 through vaccination has enabled the nationwide Covid-19 vaccination drive to achieve several feats ever since its inception on January 16, 2021. 

"The nation achieved the distinction of having administered 100 crore doses on October 21. Subsequently, the prime minister gave a clarion call and launched the 'Har Ghar Dastak' campaign on November 3 to knock at every door and reach out to every household and immunise every citizen against Covid-19 in the spirit of Antyodaya”, Mandaviya said.

The month-long 'Har Ghar Dastak' vaccination campaign aims to ensure that all the adult population is covered with the first dose of vaccine, while those who are due for the second doses are motivated to take the second dose.

Healthcare workers are conducting door-to-door vaccinations of eligible people across India with a special focus on districts where less than 50 per cent of the eligible population has been vaccinated, the statement said.

The Union Health Minister also assured people that there was no shortage of vaccine doses in the country and urged them to come forward for the second dose, and motivate those in their family and community to take both the doses.

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