Congress pushes for Rahul to be Leader of Opposition; he requests time to think

News Network
June 8, 2024

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New Delhi: The Congress Working Committee passed the resolution that party MP Rahul Gandhi should be appointed as the Leader of the Opposition in Lok Sabha, sources said today.

Rahul Gandhi won the Lok Sabha elections from Raebareli in Uttar Pradesh and Wayanad in Kerala.

"All members have given their proposal to the party president. Rahul ji has requested some time to think. However, we want him to stand as strong Leader of Opposition," said All India Mahila Congress president Alka Lamba.

After the CWC meeting, Congress MP Kumari Selja said, "It was the CWC's wish that Rahul Gandhi be elected the LoP..."

Senior Congress leader and newly elected MP from Alappuzha KC Venugopal said "CWC unanimously requested Rahul Gandhi ji to take the responsibility of the leader of the opposition in the Lok Sabha."

The CWC resolution praised Rahul Gandhi for his efforts in the election campaign.

"Former Congress President Rahul Gandhi has to be singled out largely because of the Bharat Jodo Yatra and the Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra that he designed and led. Both these Yatras that reflected his thinking and personality were historic turning points in our nation's politics and instilled hope and confidence in lakhs of our workers and crores of our voters. Rahul Gandhi's election campaign was single-minded, sharp and pointed and more than any other individual it was he who made the protection of our republic's Constitution the central issue in the 2024 elections. The PaanchNyay-Pachees Guarantee programme which resonated so very powerfully in the election campaign was the outcome of Rahulji's yatras in which he listened to the fears, concerns and aspirations of all people, especially youth, women, farmers, workers, Dalits, Adivasis, OBCs and minorities," it said.

The meeting of the extended Congress Working Committee was held in the national capital on Saturday. The meeting was attended by Congress Parliamentary Party chairperson Sonia Gandhi, Congress chief Mallikarjun Kharge, Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi, Priyanka Gandhi, Manish Tiwari, DK Shivakumar, and Revanth Reddy among others.

Speaking after the CWC meeting, Congress Rajya Sabha MP Pramod Tiwari said, "Definitely he (Rahul Gandhi) should become (LoP in Lok Sabha). This was the request of our working committee. He is fearless and courageous."

Earlier in the day, several party leaders voiced their demand that Rahul Gandhi should take over the key role.

Speaking on the same, Telangana Chief Minister Revanth Reddy said that this is the demand of 140 crore Indians.

"Our demand is the same as that of 140 crore Indians. Rahul Gandhi has to take the position as the leader of the Opposition. Rahul Gandhi has been fighting for women and the unemployed," he said.

Congress MP Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa who won the Lok Sabha election from Gurdaspur said that Rahul Gandhi is someone who can reply to the Prime Minister in the Parliament and hence he should assume the position of LoP.

"We will play the role of a strong Opposition in the Parliament. Yes, we want the country to get such a face who can reply to the Prime Minister. I think the entire country wants this," he said.

After the Lok Sabha Polls, the Congress has emerged as the second-largest party in the election and improved its tally to 100, from 52 in the 2019 Lok Sabha poll.

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News Network
July 15,2024

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New Delhi: The BJP's strength in the Rajya Sabha fell by four Saturday after as many nominated members - Rakesh Sinha, Ram Shakal, Sonal Mansingh, and Mahesh Jethmalani - completed their term.

All four were chosen - as non-aligned members - by President Droupadi Murmu on the advice of the ruling party, and formally allied with Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government afterwards.

Their retirement brings the BJP's strength down to 86 and that of the party-led National Democratic Alliance to 101, which is below the current majority mark of 113 in the 245-member House.

The current strength of the Rajya Sabha is 225.

The Congress-led INDIA bloc has 87, of which the Congress has 26, Bengal's ruling Trinamool 13, and the Aam Aadmi Party and the DMK, in power in Delhi and Tamil Nadu, have 10 each.

Parties not aligned with either the BJP or the Congress - such as ex-Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao's BRS - nominated MPs and independents hold the rest.

What Do BJP's Reduced Numbers Mean?

It means the government is now reliant on non-NDA parties - such as ex-ally AIADMK of Tamil Nadu and former Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Jagan Mohan Reddy's YSR Congress Party - to pass bills in the Upper House. As of now, assuming the BJP can count on the 15 votes from NDA parties' MPs, it will need a minimum of 13 additional 'aye's cast in its favour to push through bills.

The YSRCP (11) and the AIADMK (4) are the BJP's two most obvious 'allies', even if its relationship with the latter has been fractious since they split in December last year, months before the election.

Jagan Reddy's YSRCP has lent issue-based support to the BJP in the past, so at least 11 votes seem assured for Mr Modi's party. Former Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik's BJD lent similar support too but, since it was beaten by the BJP in the May-June state election, has said it will not do so now.

The BJD has nine Rajya Sabha MPs.

If the AIADMK is unwilling to offer support, and the BJD of Naveen Patnaik has turned away, the BJP will then turn to votes from nominated members.

There are a total of 12 nominated members in the Rajya Sabha. Although non-aligned when brought in, since they are chosen by the government, in practice they tend to support the ruling party.

Non-aligned parties like the BRS, which has four MPs, and independents may also come into play.

Vacant Seats

There are a total of 20 seats vacant at this time, including 11 held by elected members for which polls are expected this year. Of these, there are two seats each in Maharashtra, Assam, and Bihar, and one each in Haryana, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Telangana, and Tripura.

The BJP-led alliance has the numbers to win seven - from Assam, Bihar, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, and Tripura. And if it can keep its flock together in Maharashtra, it will win two more from there.

This could give the BJP as many as nine extra seats. If it wins those, and with the nominated members' votes, as well as the YSRCP's, it will have more than enough to cross the majority mark.

There are also four seats vacant from Jammu and Kashmir, which is expected to hold an Assembly election by September 30, in line with a Supreme Court order.

The Telangana seat is likely to be won by the Congress, which swept to power last year.

This is crucial because it will give the party enough votes to claim the Leader of the Opposition post in the Rajya Sabha. The Congress will then hold the LoP seat in both Houses.

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Agencies
July 12,2024

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New Delhi: Retail inflation increased to 5.08 per cent in June as kitchen items became dearer, according to government data released on Friday.

The Consumer Price Index (CPI) based retail inflation was 4.8 per cent in May 2024 and 4.87 per cent in June 2023 (previous low).

Inflation in the food basket was 9.36 per cent in June, up from 8.69 per cent in May, according to the data released by the National Statistical Office (NSO).

The government has tasked the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to ensure that the CPI inflation remains at 4 per cent with a margin of 2 per cent on either side.

The RBI projected the CPI inflation for 2024-25 at 4.5 per cent, with Q1 at 4.9 per cent, Q2 at 3.8 per cent, Q3 at 4.6 per cent, and Q4 at 4.5 per cent.

The central bank mainly factors in the retail inflation while deciding its bi-monthly monetary policy.

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News Network
July 15,2024

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Bengaluru: Senior JD(S) MLA C B Suresh Babu is the party's leader in the Karnataka Assembly, Speaker U T Khader said on Monday.

The position fell vacant following JD(S) leader and Union Minister H D Kumaraswamy's election to the Lok Sabaha.

"JD(S) state President H D Kumaraswamy on July 14 has given a letter stating that Chikkanayakanahalli MLA C B Suresh Babu has been appointed as the JD(S) party leader (in the Assembly) and the same has to be recognised. Accordingly, Suresh Babu has been recognised as the JD(S) party leader," Khader told the House.

Kumaraswamy resigned as the MLA from Channapatna segment after his election to the Lok Sabha in the recent polls.

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