Contest for INC chief post on the cards two decades after Sonia trumped Jitendra Prasad

News Network
September 20, 2022

rahulshahi.jpg

New Delhi, Sept 20: After over two decades, the Congress is likely to see a contest for the post of party chief with Shashi Tharoor looking set to enter the fray after his meeting with Sonia Gandhi and Ashok Gehlot being seen as the other contender.

It would, however, be interesting to see if a surprise candidate or candidates also throw their hat in the ring.

The upcoming polls would certainly be historic as the new president would replace Sonia Gandhi, the longest-serving party president who has been at the helm since 1998, barring the two years between 2017 and 2019 when Rahul Gandhi took over.

The party last saw a contest for the post in November 2000. Jitendra Prasada had lost to Sonia Gandhi in 2000 and prior to that Sitaram Kesri had defeated Sharad Pawar and Rajesh Pilot in 1997.

With Rahul Gandhi likely to stick to his earlier stance of not taking on the mantle of party president, it seems the party will have its first non-Gandhi president in over two decades.

Also, with Sonia Gandhi asserting that she would remain neutral in the polls and there would be no "official candidate" it could be a keener contest than the one in 2000.

Tharoor on Monday met Sonia Gandhi and expressed his intention to contest the upcoming AICC chief polls, while the Congress president conveyed that she would stay "neutral" in the elections, according to sources.

Gandhi welcomed the idea of more people contesting the polls and dispelled the notion that there would be an "official candidate", they said.

The feedback by Gandhi on Tharoor's desire to contest is being seen by many as an encouragement to him to contest and he could announce his candidature in the next few days.

With regard to Tharoor's meeting with Gandhi and the speculation over it, the Congress said no one needs a nod to contest the presidential election as it is an open, democratic and transparent process.

In a tweet on Tuesday, Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh said, "Entire party is immersed in making Bharat Jodo Yatra a success. Even so it is important to reiterate that any member is welcome to contest for Congress president".

"This is a democratic and transparent process. Nobody needs anybody's nod to contest, especially that of party leadership," he said.

Rajasthan Chief Minister Gehlot is being considered as a candidate for the top post favoured by the present dispensation, according to some sources.

Gehlot, however, denies that he is a candidate and has been saying that he will try and convince Rahul Gandhi to contest.

Adding to the buzz over the possibility of his contesting Congress president polls, Tharoor had met Gandhi at her 10 Janpath residence here on Monday. He, however, refused to divulge any details about the meeting.

Tharoor, who was among the group of 23 leaders who had written to Gandhi in 2020 demanding organisational overhaul, also endorsed a petition on Monday by a group of young party members seeking "constructive reforms".

The petition shared by Tharoor on Twitter sought reforms and a pledge by AICC president candidates to implement the Udaipur Declaration in entirety, if elected. The former Union minister said it had been signed by over 650 people so far.

"I welcome this petition that is being circulated by a group of young @INCIndia members, seeking constructive reforms in the Party. It has gathered over 650 signatures so far. I am happy to endorse it & to go beyond it," Tharoor tweeted with screenshots of the petition.

The petition that Tharoor endorsed said, "We are members of the Congress party with a desire to strengthen the party to reflect the hopes and aspirations of our nation."

The petition stated some of the tenets of the Udaipur Declaration that was made on May 15, 2022, after the party's brainstorming session.

"We appeal to each candidate in the election for the President of the All India Congress Committee to undertake a public pledge to involve party members from block committees up to the CWC and implement the Udaipur Declaration in entirety within the first 100 days of assuming office," the petition said.

In its declaration, the Congress had announced wide-ranging organisational reforms to make the party battle ready for the next round of assembly and Lok Sabha polls, stressing on wider representation to those under 50 years of age and enforcing 'one person, one post' and 'one family, one ticket' rules with riders.

Asked about the possibility of him running for the post of the Congress president, Tharoor had told PTI earlier this month, "I have only welcomed the fact that an election will be held. I believe that is very good for the party."

"Of course it is gratifying that this general statement of democratic principle has immediately led to large numbers of people around the country welcoming the prospect of my contesting. But as I have made it clear, I have not declared my candidacy," Tharoor had said.

"I hope many will contest in order to give the membership a wide choice. So far I have neither ruled myself in nor ruled myself out," the former Union minister had asserted.

The process for filing nominations for the election will be held from September 24 to 30. The last date for withdrawal of nominations is October 8 and the election, if required, will be held on October 17. The results will be out on October 19. 

Comments

Add new comment

  • Coastaldigest.com reserves the right to delete or block any comments.
  • Coastaldigset.com is not responsible for its readers’ comments.
  • Comments that are abusive, incendiary or irrelevant are strictly prohibited.
  • Please use a genuine email ID and provide your name to avoid reject.
News Network
October 1,2022

Mangaluru, Oct 1: A council meeting of the Mangaluru City Corporation (MCC) has approved an agenda regarding the recommendation of its Standing Committee on Town Planning and Reforms to name a junction in Surathkal as ‘Sri Vinayak Damodar Savarkar Circle’.

The proposal mooted by Mangaluru City North MLA Y Bharath Shetty of the BJP was earlier discussed in the council in 2021. The council meeting chaired by mayor Jayanand Anchan on Friday approved the agenda and the proceedings in this regard will be ratified in the next council meeting. After the ratification of the agenda, the proposal will be sent to the government for approval.

Based on MLA Shetty’s request, the council in its meeting on October 30, 2021 had referred the proposal to the Standing Committee on Town Planning and Reforms for a report. Accordingly, the committee members on February 15 had visited the spot and decided to recommend the council to name the junction after Savarkar.

When the agenda came for discussion on Friday, members from the opposition – Congress and SDPI raised objections. “We had objected to the proposal when it was tabled in the council in October. We will raise objections again when the proceedings of the meeting will be tabled in the next council meeting for ratification,” opposition members said.

Comments

Add new comment

  • Coastaldigest.com reserves the right to delete or block any comments.
  • Coastaldigset.com is not responsible for its readers’ comments.
  • Comments that are abusive, incendiary or irrelevant are strictly prohibited.
  • Please use a genuine email ID and provide your name to avoid reject.
News Network
September 24,2022

New Delhi, Sept 24: Sources in the National Investigation Agency (NIA) have said that the raids at the premises of Popular Front of India (PFI) conducted earlier this week were named 'Operation Octopus'.

The sources said that all the 300 officials who were pressed into service were asked to keep quiet during the raids as the agencies wanted to uproot the entire network of PFI.

More than 100 PFI leaders and members were arrested and around 200 were detained under 'Operation Octopus'.

The ED and NIA have reportedly claimed that the PFI members were involved in anti-national activities.

These raids were conducted at the houses and offices of top PFI leaders and members in connection with five cases registered by the NIA following continued inputs and evidence that the organisation members were involved in terror funding, organising training camps and radicalising people.

The NIA has claimed that the accused were organising camps for imparting training to commit violent and terrorist acts with the objective of promoting enmity between different groups on the basis of religion.

The probe agency said that violent acts carried out by PFI such as chopping off the hand of a college professor, cold blooded killings of persons associated with organisations espousing the other faiths, collection of explosives to target prominent people and places, support to the Islamic State terror group and destruction of public property have had a demonstrative effect of striking terror in the minds of the citizens.

Comments

Add new comment

  • Coastaldigest.com reserves the right to delete or block any comments.
  • Coastaldigset.com is not responsible for its readers’ comments.
  • Comments that are abusive, incendiary or irrelevant are strictly prohibited.
  • Please use a genuine email ID and provide your name to avoid reject.
News Network
September 19,2022

queen.jpg

London Sept 19: Britain said farewell to Queen Elizabeth II on Monday at a state funeral attended by world leaders, before a historic last ceremonial journey through the streets of London packed with sorrowful mourners.

The funeral brought to an end 11 days of national mourning across the United Kingdom that has seen the personal sorrow of the royal family play out in the glare of intense international attention.

Huge crowds gathered in near silence to watch as the queen's flag-draped coffin, topped with the Imperial State Crown, her orb and sceptre, was carried slowly to a gun carriage from parliament's Westminster Hall where it had lain in state since Wednesday.

To the tune of pipes and drums, the gun carriage -- used at every state funeral since Queen Victoria's in 1901 -- was then drawn by 142 junior enlisted sailors in the Royal Navy to Westminster Abbey.

The thousand-year-old church's tenor bell tolled 96 times at one-minute intervals -- one for every year of her life -- stopping a minute before the service began at 11:00 am (1000 GMT).

In his funeral sermon, Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby praised the queen's life of duty and service to the UK and Commonwealth.

"People of loving service are rare in any walk of life. Leaders of loving service are still rarer," he told the 2,000 guests, who included US President Joe Biden and Japan's reclusive Emperor Naruhito.

"But in all cases, those who serve will be loved and remembered," the Anglican leader added, before the coffin was borne on another procession towards her final resting place in Windsor Castle, west of London.

The longest-serving monarch in British history died at Balmoral, her Scottish Highland retreat, on September 8 after a year of declining health.

Her eldest son and successor, King Charles III, dressed in ceremonial military uniform, followed the solemn processions, alongside his three siblings.

Charles's eldest son Prince William accompanied them alongside William's estranged brother, Prince Harry, and other senior royals.

William's two eldest children, George and Charlotte, who are next in line to the throne, also walked behind the coffin inside the abbey.

Late Sunday, Charles, 73, and his wife, Queen Consort Camilla, said they had been "deeply touched" by the public's flood of messages.

"As we all prepare to say our last farewell, I wanted simply to take this opportunity to say thank you," he said.

Britain, a country much changed since the queen's coronation in the same abbey in 1953, has dug deep into its centuries of tradition to honour the only monarch that most of its people have ever known.

"It's once in a lifetime," said student Naomi Thompson, 22, camped out in the crowds at London's Hyde Park.

"It's a moment of history... She's everyone's granny," added engineer Alice Garret, 28.

Others unable to be in London gathered in cinemas and churches around England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to watch the service and procession on big screens.

Auto engineer Jamie Page, a 41-year-old former soldier, stood on Whitehall to observe the funeral procession, wearing his military medals from service in the Iraq war.

"Sixteen years old, I swore an oath of allegiance to the queen. She's been my boss. She means everything, she was like a gift from God," he said.

But on Charles, the oldest person yet to ascend the British throne, Page added: "Who knows, time will tell."

The funeral lasted just under an hour, brought to an end by a bugler playing "The Last Post", before two minutes of silence and the reworded national anthem, "God Save the King".

After an hour-long procession that was to go past Buckingham Palace, the coffin was to be taken west by road to Windsor Castle, where thousands had lined the route since early morning.

Some 6,000 military personnel have been drafted in to take part in proceedings in what Britain's highest-ranking military officer has called "our last duty for Her Majesty the Queen".

The queen will be buried alongside her father king George VI, her mother queen Elizabeth and sister princess Margaret, reuniting in death the family who once called themselves "us four".

The coffin of her husband, Prince Philip, who died last year aged 99, will also be transferred to lie alongside her.

Elizabeth's funeral could not be more different from Philip's at St George's Chapel, Windsor, in April 2021.

Coronavirus restrictions limited mourners to just 30, led by the queen, a solitary figure in mourning black and a matching facemask.

The contrast was profound on Monday, the abbey packed with dignitaries and some ordinary Britons who were honoured for their military or community service, especially during the Covid pandemic.

"You were fortunate to have had her for 70 years; we all were," Biden said on Sunday after signing a book of condolence. "The world is better for her."

In the abbey pews was Liz Truss, whom the queen appointed as the 15th British prime minister of her reign just two days before her death, in her last major ceremonial duty.

All of Truss's living predecessors were there plus her counterparts and representatives from the 14 Commonwealth countries outside Britain where Charles is also head of state.

Whether they remain constitutional monarchies or become republics is likely to be the defining feature of Charles's reign.

The queen's death has prompted deep reflection about the Britain she reigned over, the legacy of its past, its present state and what the future might hold, as well as the values of lifelong service and duty she came to represent during her 70-year reign.

Hundreds of thousands of people are estimated to have queued, sometimes for up to 25 hours and overnight, to file past the queen's coffin as it lay in state.

Chrissy Heerey, a serving member of the Royal Air Force who joined the marathon queue twice, was the last person through the doors and described the experience as "amazing".

"When they came to me and said, 'right, you're the last person', I said, really?!" she told AFP, before heading off to join the crowds for the coffin's procession through London.

Throughout the procession after the funeral, Big Ben, the giant bell atop the Elizabeth Tower at one end of the Houses of Parliament, tolled and military guns fired at one-minute intervals.

At Windsor, the Sebastopol Bell -- captured in Crimea in 1856 -- and the Curfew Tower Bell also sounded.

A vast television audience was expected to watch the funeral worldwide and live online, in a sign of the enduring fascination with the woman once described as "the last global monarch".

Those lining the streets of London -- already jammed at sunrise on Monday -- said they had to bear witness.

"I will talk about this moment to my children," said Jack Davies, 14, camped out for the procession with his parents at Hyde Park Corner, where the coffin will be transferred from the gun carriage for the drive to Windsor.

"I'll say: 'I was there!'"

At Windsor, the queen's crown, orb and sceptre will be removed and placed on the altar.

The most senior officer of the royal household, the lord chamberlain, breaks his "wand of office" and places it on the coffin, symbolising the end of her reign.

The lead-lined oak casket, draped with the queen's colours, will be lowered into the Royal Vault as a lone bagpiper plays a lament.

A private interment ceremony will take place at the adjoining King George VI Memorial Chapel at 1830 GMT.

Comments

Add new comment

  • Coastaldigest.com reserves the right to delete or block any comments.
  • Coastaldigset.com is not responsible for its readers’ comments.
  • Comments that are abusive, incendiary or irrelevant are strictly prohibited.
  • Please use a genuine email ID and provide your name to avoid reject.