Sonia Gandhi

We will overcome, Congress will have a new ‘uday’: Sonia Gandhi

Udaipur (Rajasthan) [India] – Congress acting president Sonia Gandhi, in her concluding statements at Chintan Shivir, on Sunday claimed that a task force would be formed in the next couple of days to apply the inner reforms which will certainly concentrate on the 2024 Lok Sabha surveys.

She likewise said that these internal reforms will cover all aspects of the organization including structure, regulations for appointments to party posts, interactions and also publicity, outreach, finances and also political election management.

” A compact plan by as task force will be established to drive the process of internal reforms that are important. These reforms will focus on the 2024 Lok Sabha polls and  will cover all challanges faced by the party. The composition of the Task Force will certainly be informed in the following two-three days,” stated Gandhi in Udaipur.

Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi are trying hard to revive the organization

 

” We will overcome. That is our determination. That is our Nav-Sankalp. The Congress will have a brand-new Uday. That is our Nav-Sankalp,” she insisted.

The Congress president also announced developing an advisory team from among Congress Working Board (CWC) participants which would certainly meet routinely to go over political issues.

” I have also determined to have an advisory team from the CWC that would certainly meet on a regular basis under my chairpersonship to talk about and deliberate upon political problems and also obstacles prior to elections,” she said.

” We do have the CWC that meets periodically which will continue. The new group is not, nonetheless, a cumulative decision-making body yet but will help to get the advantage of the substantial experience of elderly coworkers. It too will certainly be informed very soon,” added Sonia Gandhi.

Sonia Gandhi additionally called three-day Chintan Shivir in Udaipur “beneficial as well as productive” as many party leaders had a chance to express their views as well as offer the ideas in a spirit of positive engagement. Sonia Gandhi likewise announced that Congress will certainly introduce connection drive with people as “Kanyakumari to Kashmir Bharat Jodo” yatra beginning on October 2, as a part of the party’s outreach program.

The three-day Navsankalp Shivir began in Rajasthan’s Udaipur on Friday.

 

Congress : Now ‘One family, One ticket’ rule, says Rahul Gandhi at Nav Sankalp Shivir

Udaipur (Rajasthan) [India]- Hours after the Congress Working Board (CWC) gave its authorization to the organisational reforms, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Sunday insisted that ‘one family, one ticket’ rule should be applied in the pary from now onwards.
Dealing with the wrapping up session of the ‘Nav Sankalp Shivir’ being held in Udaipur, Rahul Gandhi stated, “We should make certain the suggestion that individual per family should get a ticket (to fight elections). I additionally advise the inclusion of the youth in the Congress party. Likewise, just one participant of a family should be provided a ticket.”

The Udaipur Nav Sankalp Shivir declaration has been taken on by the CWC at its conference commanded by president Sonia Gandhi.

Rahul Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi discussed issues with grassroot level leaders

” It is extremely important that we limit the number of member of the family that are involved in our party, as well as let them function as well as let them join the organization. However we must not have a scenario where 5-7 participants of a family members are in the organization and also getting tckets for elections. ,” stated Congress leader Rahul Gandhi.

On May 13, Congress had actually placed a motion on the ‘one family members, one ticket’ proposition mooted by a panel established for the Udaipur Chintan Shivir.

The primary condition is that loved ones of Congress leaders that desire to contest elections should have worked for the party for at the very least 5 years.

Gandhi said, “The formula will not be used if the 2nd member from a family members is proactively working for the party for at the very least five years.”

The ‘organisation’ panel has made numerous pointers consisting of the tenures of AICC office-bearers and other issues.  The information on the ‘one household, one ticket’ idea clears the way for leaders who might have been neglected of the race for election tickets.

From Gandhi Family, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, that had stayed behind the curtains before joining national politics, was appointed party general secretary in 2018 and also will certainly be finishing 6 years in her brand-new duty when basic political elections are in 2024.

The three-day Navsankalp Shivir began in Rajasthan’s Udaipur. Six committees have actually been established and 430 leaders discussed strategies to take on emerging challenges.

No magic wands, Unity and Determination is the Mantra : Sonia Gandhi

New Delhi [India]: Noting that there are no magic wands for electoral success, Congress President Sonia Gandhi on Monday urged party leaders to ensure that the single over-riding message to come from the party’s three-day Chintan Shivir in Udaipur is “of unity, cohesion, determination and commitment to party’s accelerated revival”.

In her opening remarks at the meeting of the Congress Working Committee here, Sonia Gandhi called for selfless work, discipline and a sense of consistent collective purpose to demonstrate the party’s tenacity and resilience amid the political challenges.
She said self-criticism is needed but it should not be done in a manner that erodes self-confidence.

The Congress chief also said that the chintan shivir should herald a restructured organization to meet the many ideological, electoral and managerial tasks faced by the party.

Rahul Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi discuss Challenges ahead for Congress

“I request your full cooperation in ensuring that the single over-riding message that goes forth loud and clear from Udaipur is one of unity, cohesion, determination and commitment to our party’s accelerated revival,” she said.

“There are no magic wands. It is only with selfless work, discipline and a sense of consistent collective purpose that we will demonstrate our tenacity and resilience. The party has been central to the life of each and every one of us. It has expected our total allegiance and has been good to each and every one of us. Now, when we are at a crucial juncture, it is imperative that we step forward and repay our debt to the party in full measure,” she added.

This chintan shivir is being held in Udaipur from May 13 to 15 and around 400 Congress leaders will participate. Sonia Gandhi said efforts have been made to ensure balanced representation.

The party will hold discussions on political, economic, social justice, farmers, youth and organizational issues and adopt Udaipur Nav Sankalp.

“Self-criticism is of course needed in our party forums. But this should not be done in a manner that erodes self-confidence and morale and an atmosphere of gloom and doom prevails. To the contrary, we are beholden to put our heads together and together, collectively overcome the challenges that face us,” the Congress chief said.

“This requires that the Chintan Shivir does not become a ritual, something we must just get through. I am determined that it should herald a restructured organization to meet the many ideological, electoral and managerial tasks we confront,” she added.

Sonia Gandhi also referred to the amendment in the party’s constitution concerning digital membership. (ANI)

2024 polls: Sonia Gandhi brainstorms roadmap with Prashant Kishor

New Delhi [India]: Gearing up for the 2024 Lok Sabha elections, Congress top brass, including interim president Sonia Gandhi, is holding another meeting with poll strategist Prashant Kishor here on Tuesday.

Sources said that Congress leaders, including Kamal Nath, Digvijaya Singh, Mukul Wasnik, KC Venugopal, Jairam Ramesh, AK Antony, Ambika Soni and Randeep Surjewala, are also taking part in the meeting at Sonia Gandhi’s 10 Janpath residence.
This is the third meeting between Sonia Gandhi and Prashant Kishor in the last four days amid speculation that the poll strategist may join the Congress. The first meeting took place on April 16 while the second was held on April 18.

According to the sources, two more such meetings are scheduled in the coming days.

Earlier, Venugopal had said that Kishor had given a detailed presentation with a road map for the 2024 General elections.

Answering queries, he said the role of Kishor in the Congress party will be known within a week.

Sources told ANI that Kishor, in his presentation, suggested that Congress should fight alone in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Odisha, and it should form alliances in Tamil Nadu, West Bengal and Maharashtra to which Rahul Gandhi has agreed.

Kishor is learnt to have said that Congress should focus on 370 Lok Sabha constituencies for the 2024 general elections.

These meetings are also taking place in the backdrop of Congress’ poll preparations for Gujarat and Himachal Assembly elections this year.

After the recent poll debacle in five states, Congress is seeking to restart negotiations with Kishor. The results of five Assembly polls came as a shock to Congress which was hoping to do well to revive its prospects for the 2024 Lok Sabha elections and to fend off the emerging challenge from the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and Trinamool Congress to replace it as the fulcrum of anti-BJP politics in the country. (ANI)

PM Modi meets Sonia Gandhi and Farooq Abdullah in the Parliament

New Delhi [India]: Prime Minister Narendra Modi met Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, Samajwadi Party leader Mulayam Singh Yadav, National Conference chief Farooq Abdullah and other opposition leaders in the chamber of Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla after the conclusion of Parliaments’ Budget Session on Thursday.

Speaker Om Birla, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi were also present during the meeting.

“After the Lok Sabha was adjourned, we urged the leaders of all the parties that collective efforts are needed to enhance the dignity of the House and to raise the level of discussion and dialogue. Hope all the parties will actively cooperate,” tweeted Om Birla.

Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha were adjourned sine die a day before the schedule, marking the culmination of the Budget Session 2022 during which the two Houses passed key legislations, including the Bill to unify the municipal corporations in the national capital.

The second part of the Budget Session began on March 14 while the sittings were to conclude on April 8.

Key Bills were passed in the Parliament during the second part of the session, including the Criminal Procedure (Identification) Bill, 2022, Delhi Municipal Corporation (Amendment) Bill, 2022 among others.

On the last day of the session, Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla acknowledged the participation of every member of the House and said that the ongoing session was “going well with everyone’s support”.

“In this session, productivity has been 129 per cent, with everybody’s participation…Productivity till the 8th session has been 106 per cent. Compared to the previous experiences, the ongoing session went well with everyone’s support,” Birla said.

Hoping that all Vidhan Mandal (legislature-related) proceedings will be brought on one platform by 2023, Birla said that the information would be available on the basis of meta-data.

“By 2023, we are hoping that all Vidhan Mandal (legislature-related) proceedings will be brought on one platform. Information will be available on the basis of meta-data… work underway for the same,” he said.

Meanwhile, missing the 100 per cent productivity landmark by only 10 minutes, the Rajya Sabha clocked 99.80 per cent business during the Budget session that concluded on Thursday, setting a record for the third-best performing session during the last 14 sessions since the Monsoon Session (243rd Session) of 2017.

The Upper House spent 37.50 per cent of the functional time on debates, 23 per cent on Bills, while passing 11 of them, besides the introduction of one, an official statement from the Rajya Sabha stated.

“As against the scheduled sitting time of 127 hours 54 minutes, the House functioned for 127 hours 44 minutes. The productivity of the House would have been 100 per cent but for the loss of these 10 minutes. While the functional time of 9 hours 26 minutes was lost due to disruptions and forced adjournments, the House gained 9 hours 16 minutes with Members sitting beyond the scheduled hours,” said the statement. (ANI)

Sonia Gandhi meets Himachal Cong leaders, advises to stay united for polls

New Delhi [India]: After the poll debacle faced by Congress in Punjab due to infighting, party president Sonia Gandhi asked leaders of Himachal Pradesh to avoid a Punjab-like situation and stay united as the state goes to Assembly polls later this year, said sources.

According to sources, Sonia Gandhi took a jibe on party leaders, “You all are sitting together right but otherwise you don’t even talk to each other.”
Congress Himachal Pradesh in-charge Rajiv Shukla was also present in the meeting.

Having lost Punjab to Aam Aadmi Party, Congress leaders briefed Sonia Gandhi about the present position of AAP in Himachal Pradesh.

“AAP is not an issue in Himachal Pradesh. Only those people who will not get tickets from BJP or Congress will contest from AAP’s ticket,” said Rajiv Shukla.

Sonia Gandhi deliberated on the AAP position in the state with the party leaders and asked them to prepare a poll strategy to take on rivals.

“All leaders from Himachal Pradesh promised Sonia Gandhi that they will remain united and a situation like Punjab will not be repeated there. Party leaders assured AICC president that state leaders will accept whatever decision the central leadership takes,” said sources.

Sources say that state party president and legislature party leader can also be changed if the situation demands.

“Central leadership is not changing any officer bearers right now but the option is open,” sources added.

The Congress had done well in the bypolls held in Himachal Pradesh last year, winning the Mandi Lok Sabha seat and three assembly seats. The party is trying to repeat this success in the upcoming assembly polls.

It was also decided in the meeting that the results party witnessed in the Mandi Lok Sabha seat and three other assembly seats will only be repeated if the party moves ahead together with a full proof strategy to take on the BJP.

After the demise of Virbhadra Singh, Congress is witnessing a vacuum in the top leadership in the state. There are many leaders trying to take the position of party’s face in the hilly state but Anand Sharma is being seen as a frontrunner for that post.

However, his being a part of G-23 might emerge as a barrier for his candidature to lead the Congress in Himachal Pradesh.

The 68-member Himachal Pradesh Assembly is due for polls in October this year. (ANI)

Azad’s meeting with Sonia Gandhi is successful, Congress will fight BJP together 

Kalaburagi (Karnataka) [India]: Amid the G23 pushing for collective leadership in Congress in the wake of the poll debacle in five states, leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge on Saturday welcomed Ghulam Nabi Azad’s meeting with party’s interim president Sonia Gandhi, saying “it’s a good sign…to keep the party together”.

The G-23 is a group of senior Congress leaders who have been pressing for collective leadership in the party. Azad, who is a key member of G23, met Sonia Gandhi on Friday.
Speaking to ANI, Kharge said, “Ghulam Nabi Azad has been in the party for years. He knows everything. So he talked to signatories there (G23). He met Sonia Gandhi. He has spoken about keeping the party together. It’s a good sign. He said that he wants to strengthen the party. It is a welcome stand.”

Azad after meeting Sonia Gandhi on Friday evening had said that he shared suggestions and discussed with the members of the G-23 on ways to strengthen the party.

Noting that Congress stands by collectiveness, Kharge said that several people at the CWC meet stressed that Gandhis alone are not responsible for the poll debacle in five states, including Manipur, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Goa and Punjab.

“We have always wanted that everyone should come together to strengthen the party…We are all responsible, and singling out the Gandhi family is not right,” Kharge said.

The party’s abysmal performance in the recently held Assembly polls in five states was termed as a “cause of serious concern” in the meeting of the Congress Working Committee (CWC) held earlier this week.

In a statement released after the CWC meeting on Wednesday, the core group had unanimously reaffirmed its faith in the leadership of Sonia Gandhi and requested her “to lead from the front, and address the organisational weaknesses while effecting necessary and comprehensive organisational changes in order to take on the political challenges”.

Sonia Gandhi had on Tuesday sought the resignations of state party chiefs of Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Goa and Manipur.

The results of five Assembly polls came as a shock to the Congress which was hoping to do well to revive its prospects for the 2024 Lok Sabha polls and to fend off the emerging challenge from the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and Trinamool Congress to replace it as the fulcrum of anti-BJP politics in the country.

The party is slated to elect a new party chief later this year at the culmination of organisational elections. (ANI)

 

CWC requested Sonia Gandhi to lead Congress from front

New Delhi [India]: The Congress Working Committee on Sunday requested the Congress Interim President Sonia Gandhi to lead from the front, address organizational weaknesses, effect necessary and comprehensive organizational changes in order to take on the political challenges.

Speaking to ANI, Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge on Sunday said that Sonia Gandhi will continue to remain as party chief.
“Congress interim president Sonia Gandhi will lead us and will take future steps. We all have faith in her leadership”, said Mallikarjun Kharge.

After the conclusion of the CWC meeting, Indian National Congress General Secretary KC Venugopal said, “The party accepts that due to shortcomings in our strategy, we could not effectively expose the misrule of BJP State Governments in four States and overcome the anti-incumbency in the state of Punjab in a short time after effecting a change of leadership.”

“The CWC unanimously reaffirms its faith in the leadership of Sonia Gandhi and requests the Congress President to lead from the front, address the organisational weaknesses, effect necessary and comprehensive organizational changes in order to take on the political challenges,” he added.

Venugopal further added that the Congress party represents the “hopes of millions of Indians against political authoritarianism prevailing in the country today and the party is fully conscious of its immense responsibility.”

Accepting the electoral verdict of the latest round of Assembly elections, the Congress party assured its workers and the people of India that it will continue to remain a vigilant and vibrant opposition.

Congress president Sonia Gandhi, former party chief Rahul Gandhi, general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, KC Venugopal, Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge, party’s leader in Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury and P Chidambaram attended the meeting of the Congress Working Committee.

The CWC meeting comes in the backdrop of its poor performance in the just-concluded Assembly elections of Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Goa and Manipur. (ANI)

 

G23 suggested Mukul Wasnik for Congress chief post

New Delhi [India]- While Congress Working Committee on Sunday evening is slated to discuss the drubbing in the recently concluded Assembly elections, sources said that the dissident group within the party, G23, had suggested Mukul Wasnik for the post of president of the party, which was not accepted.

Sources said, “G23, which consists of Anand Sharma, Ghulam Nabi Azad, Kapil Sibal, had suggested Mukul Wasnik’s name for the post of president of the party. But it was not accepted.”
The source, who is a part of G23, also said that the new party president should lead the party in the manner as was done by Sonia Gandhi in early 2000.

The source added, “Though Sonia Gandhi is the (interim) president, it is virtually (being) run by KC Venugopal, Ajay Maken and Randeep Surjewala. There is no accountability fixed on them.”

“Rahul Gandhi is not the president. But he operates from behind the scene and takes decisions. He does not communicate openly. We are party’s well-wishers and not enemies,” added the source. (ANI)

 

After poll debacle in five states, Congress G-23 leaders to demand reforms

New Delhi [India]: Congress G-23 leaders, who are members of the Congress Working Committee, are set to raise their demand for reforms in the party during the CWC meeting to be held in the next few days to discuss the poll debacle in the five states, sources said on Friday.

Congress G23 met at senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad’s residence in the national capital on Friday.
The Congress has said that party chief Sonia Gandhi will call a meeting of the working committee soon to discuss the party’s preparations.

Congress leaders Bhupender Singh Hooda, Manish Tewari, Kapil Sibal and Anand Sharma, Akhilesh Prasad Singh are among those present at the meeting. Sources said some other G-23 members have joined the meeting virtually. The G-23 leaders had written to party chief Sonia Gandhi in August 2020 calling for sweeping reforms in the party including direct election at various levels.

Congress had said on Thursday that the results of five states have come against the expectations of the party.

The party had also indicated that the clashing ambitions of its leaders had hurt the party’s prospects.

Party leader Randeep Singh Surjewala said there was a need to “seriously introspect, re-examine, re-think” whether the race for political positions “is undermining the position of the party to an extent where we end up helping the cause of our opposition and where we end up causing loss to the Congress party”.

He said this question needs to be answered “not only in Punjab, not only in Uttarakhand, not only in Goa, but across the country”.

Surjewala also talked of anti-incumbency in Punjab, which was ruled by Congress.

“In Punjab, Congress presented a new leadership through Charanjit Singh Channi who is the son of the soil, but the entire anti-incumbency of 4.5 years under Captain Amarinder Singh could not be overcome and hence people voted for AAP for change,” he said.

Party leader Shashi Tharoor had on Thursday called for reforming the party’s “organisational leadership in a manner that will reignite those ideas and inspire the people”. “One thing is clear — Change is unavoidable if we need to succeed,” he said in a tweet. (ANI)

Amarinder Singh’s wife Preneet Kaur skips Punjab Cong MPs crucial meet with Sonia Gandhi

New Delhi [India]: Congress MP and wife of former Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh, Preneet Kaur missed a crucial meeting called by Congress interim President Sonia Gandhi at 10 Janpath on Thursday.
Congress MP Preneet Kaur remained absent in yesterday’s meeting where all Punjab MP’s were present. Those who attended the meeting at Sonia Gandhi’s residence include Pratap Singh Bajwa, Amar Singh, Manish Tewari, Santokh Chaudhary, Gurjeet Singh Aujla, and Ravneet Singh Bittu. Meeting went on for around one hour, sources said.
The party had last month issued a notice to the Patiala MP seeking an explanation for her alleged “anti-party activities” and open announcements about siding with her husband, Amarinder Singh, who quit the Congress party.
While Punjab Assembly elections are just months away, Kaur has chosen to skip all the vital meetings with party high command in the national capital. Congress has started gearing up for the upcoming Assembly elections in Punjab.

Sonia Gandhi urges Education Ministry, CBSE to withdraw ‘regressive passage’ in Class 10 English question paper, issue apology

New Delhi [India]: Congress interim president Sonia Gandhi on Monday urged the Ministry of Education and Central Bureau of Education (CBSE) to immediately withdraw a “shockingly regressive passage” in a recent Class 10 English exam question paper and issue an apology.
Sonia Gandhi raised in Lok Sabha the issue of inclusion of the “regressive passage” in CBSE’s question paper for the Grade 10 exam, demanded a withdrawal of the passage and an apology. Speaking in Lok Sabha during the ongoing winter session, Gandhi said, “I urge the Ministry of Education and CBSE to immediately withdraw this question, issue an apology and conduct a thorough review into this lapse to ensure this is never repeated again.”
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi today called the English paper of the CBSE class 10 board exam “downright disgusting” and said that it was a “typical RSS-BJP ploy” to crush the morale and future of youth.
The Congress leader also advised the students that only hard work pays and “bigotry doesn’t”.
Taking to Twitter, the Congress leader said, “Most CBSE papers so far were too difficult and the comprehension passage in the English paper was downright disgusting. Typical RSS-BJP ploys to crush the morale and future of the youth. Kids, do your best. Hard work pays. Bigotry doesn’t.”
Earlier, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra also slammed the Centre for endorsing “retrograde views on women” and said, “Unbelievable! Are we really teaching children this drivel? Clearly, the BJP Government endorses these retrograde views on women. Why else would they feature in the CBSE curriculum?”
The passage in CBSE’s English exam the Congress leader was referring to was: “In twentieth-century children became fewer and feminist revolt was the result…Father’s word had no longer the authority of holy writ…”
“Married women now retained their identity and some pursued separate careers,” it further read and concluded with “emancipation of the wife destroyed the parent’s authority over children.”
“In bringing the man down from his pedestal the wife and mother deprived herself, in fact, of the means of discipline,” it added.
The four titles offered to children in one of the questions for the passage fuelled the row further. The options included: Who is responsible for indiscipline among children?..Collapse of discipline at home, place of children and servants at home, child psychology.

Sonia Gandhi, Rahul reach Parliament for crucial party meet

New Delhi [India]: Congress interim President Sonia Gandhi and Congress leader Rahul Gandhi reached Parliament for the parliamentary party meeting on Wednesday morning.

The meeting comes amid protest by the opposition parties over the suspension of 12 MPs from the Rajya Sabha for “unruly conduct’ on the last day of the monsoon session of parliament. The MPs were suspended last week.
Opposition MPs will hold a sit-in protest in front of the Gandhi statue in Parliament premises on Wednesday in support of 12 suspended MPs.

The suspended members comprise six from the Congress, two each from Trinamool Congress and Shiv Sena, and one each from CPI and CPM: Phulo Devi Netam, Chhaya Verma, Ripun Bora, Rajamani Patel, Syed Nasir Hussain and Akhilesh Prasad Singh of Congress; Dola Sen, Shanta Chhetri of Trinamool Congress; Priyanka Chaturvedi, Anil Desai of Shiv Sena; Elamaram Kareem of CPM; and, Binoy Viswam of CPI.

On November 29, the members were suspended for alleged unruly conduct towards the end of the monsoon session in August when marshals were called after Opposition members stormed the Well of the House during the passage of the General Insurance Business (Nationalisation) Amendment Bill, 2021. (ANI)

Sonia, Rahul Gandhi to address Congress’ Mehangai Hatao Rally

New Delhi [India]: Taking its protest further against price rise and inflation, Congress will hold a massive public meeting “Mehangai Hatao Rally” on December 12 at the national capital.
The rally will be addressed by Congress interim president Sonia Gandhi and party MP Rahul Gandhi and Congress leaders from across the country. Congress said it shall continue to raise these issues both inside and outside the Parliament to challenge the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government at the Centre.
“The real issues affecting people of India are the backbreaking prices of petrol, diesel and cooking gas, which have had a spiralling effect on the prices of all foods and other consumable items. Every home is affected by the merciless rise in prices of cooking oil, pulses and other food items. Perhaps for the first time, the price of tomato has surpassed the price of petrol and diesel in India. Construction material like cement, iron and steel has seen a rise of nearly 40 per cent to 50 per cent. Everything is gradually going out of the reach of the common man,” read the Congress statement.
The party said that the central government either remains indifferent to the woes and agony of common people or mocks it on other occasions.
Earlier in November, in a significant decision, the Centre reduced excise duty on petrol and diesel to bring down the prices of the two petroleum products which had been seeing an upward trend.
The relief to consumers came on the eve of Diwali. The Finance Ministry said that excise duty on petrol will come down by Rs 5 and that on diesel by Rs 10.
It urged the states “to commensurately reduce” VAT on petrol and diesel to give relief to consumers. Following the Centre’s suit, many other states have also announced a reduction in Value Added Tax (VAT) on petrol and diesel.

Roll Back of Farm Laws: Victory of farmers’ willpower, struggle; hope Centre draws lessons, says Sonia Gandhi

New Delhi [India]: Congress interim president Sonia Gandhi on Friday termed farmers’ protest as “Gandhian agitation” and said that it is a victory of the “willpower” and “struggle” of 62 crore farmers.

She further hoped that the Centre draws lessons for the future and “shed its pride and arrogance” and work towards policies for farmers’ welfare.
“After almost 12 months of Gandhian agitation, today the struggle and willpower of 62 crore farmers of the country have won. Today, the sacrifices of more than 700 farmer families have paid off, whose families have laid down their lives in this struggle for justice. Today truth, justice, and non-violence have won,” Gandhi said in an official statement after the government announced repealing of three Central agricultural laws.

The Prime Minister earlier in the day assured that the constitutional measures to repeal the laws will begin in the Winter session of Parliament.

Slamming the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) led central government, Gandhi said, “I hope that the Prime Minister and the BJP government will leave their pride and arrogance and pay attention to implementing the policies of farmer welfare, will ensure MSP and before taking any such step in future, will take the consent of the state governments, farmer organizations and opposition parties.”

She further accused the BJP of “attacking the agricultural sector” for the last seven years and said, “Whether it is a matter of discontinuing the bonus given to the farmer as soon as the BJP government is formed, or there is a conspiracy to end the fair compensation law of the farmer’s land by bringing an ordinance. Whether it is the refusal to pay the farmer the cost plus 50 per cent profit as promised by the Prime Minister, or the huge increase in the cost of diesel and agricultural products, or the attack of three black anti-farming laws.”

Gandhi cited figures of the government’s NSO and said that the average income of a farmer is Rs 27 per day while the average debt on each is Rs 74,000.

“The government needs to think again on how farming can be made profitable in the true sense and how farmers get the right price for their crop by way of MSP,” she added.

The Centre had last year passed contentious farm laws that prompted nationwide protests.

These included– Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020; the Farmers Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and farm Services Act 2020 and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020. (ANI)

Sonia Gandhi pays tribute to Jawaharlal Nehru on his 132nd birth anniversary

New Delhi [India]: Congress interim President Sonia Gandhi on Sunday paid tributes to the country’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru on his 132nd birth anniversary at Shantivan in the national capital.
In India, Children’s Day is celebrated on November 14 every year as a mark of respect to Jawaharlal Nehru, the first Prime Minister of independent India. Nehru was fondly called ‘Chacha Nehru’ and was known for emphasising the importance of giving love and affection to children.
After the death of Nehru, it was unanimously decided to celebrate his birthday as ‘Bal Diwas’ or Children’s Day in India.
Nehru was born on November 14, 1889, in Uttar Pradesh’s Prayagraj. He breathed his last on May 27, 1964.
He became the prime minister on August 15, 1947, following an active role in the freedom struggle of the country.
On this day, a number of activities are organised for students in schools nationwide such as games, competitions, and so on, while government bodies pay tributes to the late prime minister and organise commemorative events on this day.
In 1954, the United Nations had declared November 20 as Universal Children’s Day and India used to celebrate Children’s Day on 20th November every year before 1956 but after the death of Prime Minister Nehru in 1964, a resolution was passed in the Parliament unanimously declaring the day of Pt. Nehru’s birth anniversary as National Children’s Day.

Sonia Gandhi asks Congress leaders to frame policies to percolate down party’s messages to grassroot level

New Delhi [India]: Congress interim President Sonia Gandhi on Tuesday stated that the All India Congress Committee (AICC) releases important and detailed statements every day over the issues in the country but it fails to percolate down to the party’s grassroot cadres at the block and district level and she asked party leaders to frame policies over the matter.

Addressing the General Secretaries, In-Charges and PCC President of the party, during a meeting at the party headquarter here, Sonia Gandhi said, “The AICC releases important and detailed statements almost every day on issues that the nation is facing. But it is my experience that they do not percolate down to our grassroot cadres at the block and district level. There are policy issues on which I find a lack of clarity and cohesion even amongst our state-level leaders.”
She also asked the party leaders to train the workers to take on the unceasing onslaught of malicious disinformation campaigns at the behest of the BJP and RSS.

“You must train our workers to take on the unceasing onslaught of malicious disinformation campaigns at the behest of the BJP/RSS. And you must train our people to fight it while upholding and projecting the core Congress ideology,” the Congress interim President said.

Launching a scathing attack on the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led NDA government in the Centre, the senior leader said, “The Modi Government has sought to erode our institutions so it may evade accountability.”

“Our own history bears witness to the fact that if an organisation is to succeed against injustice and inequality. If it is to effectively champion the rights of the marginalised, it must become a widespread agitation down to the grassroots,” she said.

Terming the new members in the party as the “lifeblood” of any political movement, the senior Congress leader said, “Young men and women across the nation seek a movement to give voice to their aspirations. It is our duty to provide them with a platform, as we have done for generations past.”

Sonia Gandhi also gave emphasis on identifying and assigning Congress leaders and office bearers for the task of enrolling members in the party in a transparent fashion. She also talked about the training programmes for the party workers.

“You must ensure the clear delineation of the responsibilities of these individuals at the state, district, block, ward and village level. This is a vital responsibility that you are entrusted with,” she said.

“Training programmes for our workers are therefore an absolute necessity. I want to emphasise that you should take it on priority. The fight to defend our democracy, our Constitution and the Congress Party’s ideology begins with being fully prepared to identify and counter false propaganda,” she added.

Earlier in the day, Sonia Gandhi presided over a meeting with core party leaders to discuss the upcoming Assembly elections to Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Manipur and Goa, among other issues.

The meeting was held at party headquarters. (ANI)

2022 Assembly polls: Sonia Gandhi to hold meet with core Congress leaders

New Delhi [India]: Congress interim president Sonia Gandhi will be presiding over a meeting with core party leaders to discuss the upcoming Assembly elections to Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Manipur and Goa, among other issues.
The meeting will be held at party headquarters. As per the party sources on Monday, “a meeting of Congress general secretaries and state in-charges will be held on October 26 at All India Congress Committee (AICC) headquarters to discuss membership, training, agitation program and strategy for the upcoming assembly polls. This meeting will be presided by party president Sonia Gandhi.”
Pradesh Congress Committee presidents will also be present as well, sources said.
During Congress Working Committee (CWC) meeting on October 16, it was decided that organisation polls will be held next year and for that, a membership drive will be launched from November 1.
As per sources, the Congress party may hold the organisational election on September 6, 2022 and have its president by October.
As frontal organisations like Indian Youth Congress, NSUI, Mahila Congress and the party’s Social Media department have passed a resolution to make Rahul Gandhi as party president, it is expected chorus will be heard in the meeting on Tuesday.
In the previously held CWC meet, CMs of Rajasthan, Punjab and Chhattisgarh Ashok Gehlot, Charanjit Singh Channi and Bhupesh Baghel, respectively, and other leaders had requested Rahul Gandhi to take charge of the party president post. On this, Congress Spokesperson Randeep Surjewala confirmed that Gandhi has assured to consider their requests.

Sonia to meet party GS & State Chiefs

Congress interim President Sonia Gandhi will chair a meeting of Congress general secretaries, state in-charges, PCC chiefs on Tuesday at party headquarters to discuss the training, membership programmes and chalking out a strategy for the upcoming Assembly polls, said sources.

New Delhi [India] : According to sources, during the meeting, organisational polls, which are expected to take place next year, would also be discussed and Congress General Secretary KC Venugopal has already issued a circular for the meeting. During Congress Working Committee (CWC) meeting on October 16, it was decided that organisation polls will be held next year and for that, a membership drive will be launched from November 1.
As per sources, the Congress party may hold the organisational election on September 6 and have its president by October.
As five states – Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Goa and Manipur – will go for polls early next year, the Congress party is facing a big challenge to get back to power in four states and retaining the government in Punjab.
As frontal organisations like Indian Youth Congress, NSUI, Mahila Congress and the party’s Social Media department have passed a resolution to make Rahul Gandhi as party president, it is expected chorus will be heard in the meeting on Tuesday.
In the CWC meet last week, CMs of Rajasthan, Punjab and Chhattisgarh Ashok Gehlot, Charanjit Singh Channi and Bhupesh Baghel, respectively, and other leaders had requested Rahul Gandhi to take charge of the party president post. On this, Congress Spokesperson Randeep Surjewala confirmed that Gandhi has assured to consider their requests.

I am full-time, hands-on Congress President, says Sonia Gandhi at CWC meeting

In her remarks on Saturday, Sonia Gandhi also said the party is ready for the internal elecAddressing the Congress Working Committee (CWC) meeting, interim President Sonia Gandhi on Saturday slammed party leaders for speaking to the media. In her opening remarks, Sonia Gandhi said: “I have always appreciated frankness. There is no need to speak to me through the media. So let us all have a free and honest discussion. But what should get communicated outside the four walls of this room is the collective decision of the CWC.”

News Delhi, India : Sonia Gandhi’s statement came after senior party leader Kapil Sibal had recently said that “there is no president in our party, so we do not know who is taking all the decisions. We know it, yet we don’t know, one of my senior colleagues perhaps has written or is about to write to the interim president to immediately convene a CWC meeting so that a dialogue can be initiated”.

In her remarks on Saturday, she also said the party is ready for the internal elections.

“Today is the occasion for bringing clarity once and for all. A schedule for the full-fledged organisational elections is before you.”

She also praised young leaders for taking over leadership role

“In the last two years, a large number of our colleagues, particularly the younger ones have taken on leadership roles in taking party policies and programmes to the people, whether it be the agitation of farmers, provision of relief during the pandemic, highlighting issues of concern to youth and women, atrocities on Dalits, Adivasis and minorities, price rise, and the destruction of the public sector. Never have we let issues of public importance and concern go unaddressed.”

CWC meet – What Sonia Gandhi said on farmers’ protest, Kashmir killings, fuel price hike

Regarding the farmers’ protests, the Congress interim President said: “The shocking incidents at Lakhimpur Kheri betrays the mindset of the BJP, how it perceives the Kisan Andolan, how it has been dealing with this determined struggle by Kisans to protect their lives and livelihoods.

She said that the economy continues to be a cause of great concern in spite of the government propaganda and the only answer the Centre seems to have for the country’s economic recovery is selling off national assets built with great effort over the decades.

“The public sector has had not just strategic and economic objectives, it has had social goals as well, as, for instance, empowerment of scheduled castes and scheduled tribes and development of backward areas. But all this is in jeopardy with the Modi government’s single-point agenda of ‘Becho, Becho, Becho’.”

She said that prices of essential commodities, including food and fuel continue to rise unabated.

“Could anyone in the country ever imagine that petrol prices would be over 100 Rs rupees a litre, diesel would be nearing the Rs 100 a litre mark, a gas cylinder would cost Rs 900 and cooking oil would be Rs 200 a litre. This is making life unbearable for people across the country.”

Sonia Gandhi also condemned the killings in Jammu and Kashmir and said minorities clearly have been targeted.

“This must be condemned in the strongest possible terms. We have done so and I do so again this morning. Jammu and Kashmir has been a Union Territory for two years. The entire responsibility for bringing the perpetrators of these barbaric crimes to justice is that of the Union government. Restoring social peace and harmony and confidence amongst the people in Jammu and Kashmir rests with the Modi government too.

“There has always been a broad consensus on foreign and neighbourhood policy in our country. But that consensus has been damaged because of the Prime Minister continued reluctance to take the Opposition into confidence in any meaningful manner. Foreign policy has become a diabolical instrument of electoral mobilisation and polarisation. We face serious challenges on our borders and on other fronts. The Prime Minister telling the opposition leaders last year that there had not been any occupation of our territory by China and his silence ever since is costing our nation dearly,” she added.

The Congress faces many challenges but, “if we are united, if we are disciplined and if we focus on the party’s interests alone, I am confident that we will do well”.

Centre’s foreign policy diabolical instrument of electoral mobilisation, polarisation

Claiming that India’s foreign policy has become a diabolical instrument of electoral mobilisation and polarisation, Congress interim President Sonia Gandhi on Saturday said the consensus between government and Opposition on diplomatic issues has been damaged because of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s continued reluctance to take the Opposition into confidence.
Speaking at the Congress’ Working Commitee meeting, Gandhi said PM Modi’s silence on borders issues is costing the nation ‘dearly’. “There has always been a broad consensus on foreign and neighbourhood policy in our country. But that consensus has been damaged because of the Prime Minister’s continued reluctance to take the Opposition into confidence in any meaningful manner. Foreign policy has become a diabolical instrument of electoral mobilisation and polarisation. We face serious challenges on our borders and on other fronts. The Prime Minister told the opposition leaders last year that there had not been any occupation of our territory by China and his silence ever since is costing our nation dearly,” she said.
She also slammed the Centre’s National Monetisation Pipeline (NMP) scheme, and said the country’s social goals are in jeopardy because of Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government’s single-point agenda of “Becho, Becho, Becho” (sell, sell, sell).
The Congress chief said the economy continues to be a cause of great concern “in spite of the government propaganda to make us believe that it is not.”
“As we all know, the only answer the government seems to have for economic recovery is selling off national assets built with great effort over the decades. The public sector has had not just strategic and economic objectives—it has had social goals as well, as, for instance, empowerment of scheduled castes and scheduled tribes and development of backward areas. But all this is in jeopardy with the Modi government’s single-point agenda of Becho, Becho, Becho,” she added.

No hope to prevent collapse of Congress party, ex-Goa CM Faleiro tells Sonia Gandhi

Panaji (Goa) [India]: Former Goa chief minister Luizinho Faleiro who resigned from Congress on Monday said he finds absolutely no hope or even the will to prevent the collapse of the party in the state and change for the better.
In his letter to Congress President Sonia Gandhi, Faleiro said, “The Goa unit of the party has become a cruel parody of what the Congress stands for. Led by a coterie of leaders who prioritize personal gains over the responsibility we owe to our people, we have utterly failed to even be an effective Opposition.” “Till now, there is none being held accountable for the loss of 13 of our MLAs, while the sidelining of true Congress workers continues. I see absolutely no hope or even the will to prevent the collapse of the party and change for the better. The Congress family has always played a unifying and cohesive role in the politics of this country, despite many loyal soldiers parting ways to better serve the people by forming other parties based on the core principles of the Congress,” he added.
Faleiro resigned from the membership of the Congress party on Monday.
Addressing a press conference here, the former Goa chief minister said, “Today, Congress family is fragmented. On one side we have got Mamata-Congress, YSR-Congress, Sharad Pawar-Congress. Congress is divided. Congress is weak.”
He asserted that there is a need to unify all the fragments of the Congress party including Mamata’s TMC, Jagan Mohan reddy’s YSRCP, and Sharad Pawar’s NCP to fight the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) at the Centre and state level.
After Faleiro quit Congress, there have been speculations that he will join Trinamool Congress led by West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.
“I will support Mamata-Congress because she has fought, she has succeeded. Being a woman, she symbolises woman empowerment, which can bring this country back on the rails of development and progress,” he said.
Earlier on Monday, he expressed support towards Mamata Banerjee and said, “Mamata Banerjee is the only leader in the country who has the ability to challenge the ruling government at the Centre.”
Notably, Faleiro was recently appointed as the Chairman of the Election Coordination Committee for Goa Assembly polls and was All India Congress Committee (AICC) in-charge of North-Eastern states.

Sonia Gandhi in Shimla

Congress interim President Sonia Gandhi arrived in Shimla on Monday. According to sources, she is here on a personal visit and is expected to stay for three days.

Shimla (Himachal Pradesh) [India], September 20 : Sonia Gandhi will be camping in Chharabra near Shimla, where her daughter and Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra has a cottage. Both Priyanka and her husband Robert Vadra are already in Shimla and according to sources Rahul Gandhi is expected to join them. Rahul Gandhi earlier today attended the oath-taking ceremony of Charanjit Singh Channi, who was sworn in as new chief minister in Punjab in Chandigarh. Two others Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa and OP Soni were also sworn in today as ministers.
The visit of the Gandhi family to Shimla comes a day after it settled the tussle in the party’s Punjab unit which had over several months been caught in an internal crisis.
Before resigning as the Chief Minister, Captain Amarinder Singh had written a letter to Sonia Gandhi, saying that despite his anguish that propelled the decision, he hoped the best for Congress and Punjab.

Sonia Gandhi to decide next CM of Punjab: Pawan Goel

Working president of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) Pawan Goel said that Congress interim President Sonia Gandhi would take the decision on the next Chief Minister of state on Sunday.

Panchkula (Haryana) [India], September 19 : However, he refused to comment on the prospective candidate for the post of Punjab CM. Speaking to media persons, Goel said: “A meeting of MLAs was held with Harish Rawat and Ajay Maken yesterday. The MLAs have sent their opinions to Sonia Gandhi.”
“A resolution was passed that Congress chief’s decision will be final on this matter. Today you will get to know her decision,” the Congress leader said.
CLP, earlier on Saturday, unanimously passed a resolution to give Congress chief Sonia Gandhi power to nominate the new Chief Minister of Punjab after Captain Amarinder Singh stepped down.
The second resolution passed by the CLP praised Amarinder Singh.
Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh stepped down from his post on Saturday ahead of the meeting of party legislators in the faction-ridden state unit as the party high command decided to effect a change of guard in the border state ahead of assembly polls early next year.

CPL requests Sonia Gandhi to choose next CM

Chandigarh (Punjab) [India], September 18 : The Congress Legislative Party (CLP) unanimously passed a resolution to give party president Sonia Gandhi power to nominate the new Chief Minister of Punjab after Captain Amarinder Singh stepped down, said Punjab Congress in-charge Harish Rawat on Saturday.
Addressing media after the CLP meeting in Punjab, Rawat said the party has sent two resolutions to the high command which were passed in the Congress Legislative Party meeting. “We had a tradition of requesting Congress president to elect the Chief Minister. Punjab unit of the party kept the tradition and unanimously passed the resolution asking Sonia Gandhi Ji to chose the new Chief Minister,” said Rawat.
“We’ve sent two resolutions to party high command which were passed in Congress Legislative Party meeting today. We’re waiting for their (party high command) decision,” he added.
The second resolution passed by the CLP praised Amarinder Singh.
Congress observer for Punjab, Ajay Maken, who was also present during the meeting said, “There was no discussion on the name (of CLP leader) in the meeting.”
Earlier today, Captain Amarinder Singh resigned as Chief Minister of Punjab, citing continued humiliation by the Congress leadership over the past two months.
The Chief Minister made it clear that he would explore and exercise his future options when the time comes.
Captain Amarinder Singh said he would decide his future political course of action in consultation with his supporters who have stood by him for over five decades.
“There is always an option, and I will use that option when the time comes…at the moment I am still in Congress,” he said after submitting his resignation.
“I was humiliated three times by the Congress leadership in the past two months…they called the MLAs to Delhi twice and now convened CLP here in Chandigarh today,” said Captain Amarinder, adding that he had decided and informed Congress president Sonia Gandhi in the morning that he would resign.
“Apparently they (Congress high command) do not have confidence in me and did not think I could handle my job. But I felt humiliated at the manner in which they handled the whole affair,” he told media persons at the gate of the Raj Bhavan after giving his resignation letter to the Governor. “Let them appoint who they trust,” he remarked, taking a dig at the party leadership.
Captain Amarinder tendered his resignation, and that of the council of ministers, to Governor Banwarilal Purohit at the Punjab Raj Bhavan shortly after 4.30 p.m., pre-empting what was widely being seen as a move to remove him from chief ministership through an emergency Congress Legislative Party (CLP) meeting convened by the All India Congress Committee (AICC) at 5 pm.
“I hereby tender my resignation as Chief Minister, and that of my Council of Ministers,” the one-line resignation letter said.
An official release said his wife Preneet Kaur, MP, accompanied him to the Governor house. His son Raninder Singh was also present, along with MPs Gurjeet Singh Aujla and Ravneet Singh Bittu, AG Atul Nanda and Chief Principal Secretary to CM Suresh Kumar. 

Sonia Gandhi to take final call on Prashant Kishor’s induction into party as dissent grows

As Prashant Kishor wants a full-fledged role and decision making authority on election-related issues, party leaders are averse of giving free hand to one person on the selection of candidates.

New Delhi, India, September 2 : Congress President Sonia Gandhi will take a final call on inducting election strategist Prashant Kishor in the party as Congress leaders are divided over the issue. According to party sources, Sonia has already started the consultation process. Kishor has more recently worked with the Trinamool Congress and has been credited as the man behind the thumping victory of the party in the West Bengal assembly elections.

As Kishor wants a full-fledged role and decision-making authority on election-related issues, party leaders are averse of giving free hand to one person on the selection of candidates.

After two poll debacles, the congress is in search of advisors. With the demise of seasoned leader Ahmed Patel, Congress has already lost an ace strategist.

Kishor has met Congress leader and party’s former president Rahul Gandhi quietly a few times to discuss the party’s revival ahead of several Assembly elections — including Uttar Pradesh, scheduled to be held next year, sources said.

Rahul has informally discussed the plan with the Congress leaders and sought their view for Kishor’s entry into the party, and to what extent he can be given responsibility for the party’s poll strategy, said party leaders who were part of these deliberations.

Kishor who has also met General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi and interim chief Sonia Gandhi in these deliberations, has given a plan to the Congress leadership and the talking points are being discussed among the senior leaders.

Kishor is likely to take political plunge soon in the Congress.

Sources said that Kishor may be appointed as General Secretary in charge of election management, but party seniors insist that giving sole responsibility of elections to one person is not a good idea as Kishor cannot be trusted in totality. However, nobody is against his induction in the party.

Since Kishor met Rahul Gandhi on July 13 and submitted his plan, many rounds of meetings have taken place within the Congress setup, and some party leaders feel his skills may be used in the elections.

The Congress is preparing for polls in Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Goa and some northeastern states next year. Kishor has recently handled campaigns of the Trinamool Congress, the DMK and the YSRCP and has relations across party lines.

Ultimate goal is 2024 Lok Sabha polls, we should work cohesively, overcome compulsions: Sonia Gandhi tells opposition leaders

Noting that the monsoon session was marked by determined unity of opposition parties, Congress chief Sonia Gandhi on Friday said that the ultimate goal is defeating the BJP-led government in 2024 Lok Sabha elections and called for systematic planning and working with the single-minded objective for the purpose.

New Delhi [India], August 20 : Sonia Gandhi, who chaired a meeting of 19 opposition parties, called for collectively rising to the challenge of opposition unity, saying there is no alternative to working cohesively and the time has come for rising above compulsions in the national interest.
“The ultimate goal is the 2024 Lok Sabha elections for which we have to begin to plan systematically with the single-minded objective of giving to our country a government that believes in the values of the freedom movement and in the principles and provisions of our Constitution,” she said.
“This is a challenge, but together we can and must rise to it because there is simply no alternative to working cohesively together. We all have our compulsions, but clearly, a time has come when the interests of our nation demand that we rise above them,” she added.
Sonia Gandhi expressed confidence that the opposition unity will be sustained in future sessions of parliament as well but said “the larger political battle has to be fought outside it”.
Leaders from 19 opposition parties discussed the strategy of the opposition and the roadmap for the future at the meeting held through video conferencing.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin, Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren, NCP chief Sharad Pawar, CPI-M general secretary Sitaram Yechury, National Conference leader Farooq Abdullah, PDP’s Mehbooba Mufti and RJD’ Tejashwi Yadav were among those who attended the meeting.
Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi, Mallikarjun Khadge, KC Venugopal and Randeep Singh Surjewala also attended it.
The Congress chief said that some opposition leaders have taken up matters of public importance with the Prime Minister directly.
“I understand that Sharad Pawarji brought to his attention how the new Ministry of Cooperation, led by Home Minister himself, is blatant interference in the Constitutional rights and responsibilities of state governments. Mamata ji and Uddhav Thackeray ji emphasized the discrimination against non-BJP ruled states in vaccine supply, as have some other chief ministers,” she said.
“On behalf of Congress Party, I have also written to the Prime Minister on many occasions to highlight the need for urgent measures such as direct cash support, especially to those whose livelihoods have been badly affected,” she added.
According to sources, NCP chief Sharad Pawar said that farmers have been protesting for many months against new farm laws and “this is a painful picture for a democratic country like India”.
He said the country is facing many issues today like economic slowdown, the pandemic, unemployment, border dispute, issues relating to minority communities.
Pawar said the BJP-led government has failed to address all these issues.
“Those who believe in democracy and secularism, those who want to work together to save the democratic principles of our country, they should come together, that is my call,” he said.
He said there is a need to start a time-bound programme collectively.
“I suggest that instead of tackling all these issues together, we should make a priority to solve these issues collectively,” he said.
Sources said the chief ministers told the meeting that opposition parties will have to be united. They also alleged that non-BJP state governments are being harassed.
Samajwadi Party did not attend the meeting while Bahujan Samaj Party and Aam Admi Party were not invited.
In her remarks, Sonia Gandhi said the government was to blame for the “complete washout” of the monsoon session of Parliament and accused the government of being “obstinate and arrogant” over opposition demands including probe into alleged surveillance through Pegasus spyware.
“The recent Monsoon session of Parliament was a complete washout again entirely due to the Government’s obstinate and arrogant unwillingness to discuss and debate urgent issues of public importance. These include the Pegasus snooping scandal that affects each and every citizen, the repeal of the three anti-farmer laws- the agitation of farmers that has been going on for the past nine months, the price rise of essential commodities and the continuing assault on federalism and the institutions of our democracy.
“In spite of this, the session was marked by the determined unity that all Opposition parties demonstrated for over twenty days in both the houses. We functioned in a coordinated manner with daily discussions among our floor leaders,” she said.
Sonia Gandhi said it was entirely due to the Opposition parties that the Constitutional Amendment Bill was passed to restore the long-standing rights of states to identify and notify OBCs.
“The Government had erred three years back and as you well know this Bill was required to rectify that mistake and a subsequent ruling of the Supreme Court. I am confident that this unity will be sustained in future sessions of Parliament as well. But the larger political battle has to be fought outside it,” she said.
Sonia Gandhi said even though opposition parties may not have met formally for over a year, they have been in touch with each other in other ways.
She recalled a joint letter sent by opposition parties to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on May 12 on the vaccination strategy to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic, on the repeal of the three anti-farmer laws and on the free distribution of food grains to the needy.
“Some crucial changes were introduced in the procurement system of vaccines following our intervention. Needless to say, as always, somebody else has taken the credit. This does not matter really, as long as the people of the country have benefitted,” she said.
She also referred to two public statements jointly on various national issues of common concern and said the joint statement of May 23 covered the COVID-19 pandemic and that on May 2 dealt with the repeal of the three anti-farmer laws and the need to resume of talks by the Government with the Samyukta Kisan Morcha.
Referring to the 75th anniversary of India’s Independence, she said it is indeed “the most appropriate occasion for us to reaffirm our individual and collective resolve”.
“Let me say for its part, the Indian National Congress will not be found wanting,” she said.

Sonia Gandhi to chair Opposition parties meet today, Arvind Kejriwal’s AAP not invited

Sonia Gandhi’s meeting is seen as a part of the Congress’ efforts to unite various Opposition parties to evolve a common strategy against the BJP-led NDA government.

New Delhi, India, August 20 : Congress interim president Sonia Gandhi will chair a crucial meeting of the Opposition parties on Friday via video conferencing. The meeting will be attended by scores of Opposition leaders and Chief Ministers of non-NDA ruled states.

The meeting is seen as a part of the Congress’ efforts to unite various Opposition parties to evolve a common strategy against the BJP-led NDA government.

According to reports, Sonia Gandhi has invited NCP chief Sharad Pawar, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray, Tamil Nadu CM MK Stalin and others for the meeting. Pawar, Uddhav, Mamata and Stalin have accepted the invitations. Reports say that at least 18 Opposition parties (NSP, Shiv Sena, BSP, RJD, Samajwadi Party, TMC, DMK, National Conference, JDS, Left parties, JMM and others) will attend the meeting virtually. However, the invitation has not been extended to Delhi’s ruling Aam Aadmi Party (AAP).

“Uddhav Thackeray will attend the meeting. NCP MP Supriya Sule confirmed that Sharad Pawar will be taking part,” senior Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut said. Congress is a constituent of the Sena-led coalition in Maharashtra.

Notably, in the just-concluded Monsoon Session of the Parliament, several Opposition parties displayed a show of unity when they took on the government to seek a discussion on the Pegasus snooping row, besides the farm laws and other issues.

Today’s meeting also comes in the backdrop of the government demanding strict action against those indulging in unruly behaviour in Rajya Sabha during the passage of the Insurance Amendment Bill. The meeting also comes close on the heels of a similar dinner meet hosted by Congress leader Kapil Sibal, where top opposition leaders favoured unity among like-minded parties to defeat the BJP.

Meanwhile, Sibal has welcomed the party chief’s initiative of bringing like-minded political parties together. He, however, has urged Sonia to strengthen her own party, saying no Opposition unity is possible without it. Sibal said that he along with other leaders of the ‘Group of 23’, who had written to the Congress chief for an organisational overhaul, will continue to demand reforms in the grand old party and keep pushing for its strengthening.

Congress leader Sushmita Dev has resigned from congress, may join Mamata’s TMC

Congress women’s wing president and former MP Sushmita Dev has resigned from the party. Dev sent her resignation letter to Congress interim chief Sonia Gandhi.

New Delhi, India, August 16 : Congress women’s wing president and former MP Sushmita Dev has resigned from the party. Dev sent her resignation letter to Congress interim chief Sonia Gandhi. She has also changed her Twitter bio to “Former Member” of the party.

“Please treat this letter as my resignation from the primary membership of the Indian National Congress. I cherish my three-decade-long association with the Indian National Congress. May I take this opportunity to thank the party, all its leaders, members and workers who have been a part of my memorable experience,” she said in her resignation letter addressed to Sonia Gandhi.

“Madam, I thank you, personally, for your guidance and the opportunities you gave me. I value the enriching experience. I hope I have your good wishes as I begin a new chapter in my life of public service,” Dev added.

Dev headed the Congress’s women’s wing, the All India Mahila Congress. She is the daughter of the veteran Bengali Congress leader Santosh Mohan Dev and was a member of the 16th Lok Sabha from the constituency of Silchar in Assam. 

Earlier on Saturday, she had met the Congress president along with other leaders of the Assam Congress.

Notably, Dev was among Congress leaders whose Twitter handle was blocked over a post showing images of the family members of a minor girl who was allegedly raped and killed in Delhi. The images were originally posted by former Congress leader Rahul Gandhi.

National Flag at AICC headquarters

New Delhi [India], August 15 (ANI): Congress President Sonia Gandhi on Sunday hoisted the National Flag at All India Congress Committee (AICC) headquarters on the occasion of India’s 75th Independence Day.
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi while extending his greetings on the 75th independence day, shared the first two lines of the national song ‘sare jahan se acha’. “Sare jahan se acha, Hindustan humara. Humbulbule hai iske. Yeh gulistan humara. Kuch bat hai ki hasti mit ti nahi humare. Sadiyo rahe hai dushman daur-e-jama humara” he posted on his Instagram.
“On 75th Independence Day, UP Congress will honour freedom fighters, their families, farmers in every village of UP under “JaiBharat Jan Sampark Abhiyan” and thank each and every person for their contribution in strengthening the country,” Priyanka Gandhi Vadra tweeted in Hindi.
Earlier, on the occasion of 75th Independence Day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi hoisted the National Flag and delivered the customary Address to the nation from the ramparts of the Red Fort in New Delhi.
The Prime Minister had launched ‘Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav’ from Sabarmati Ashrama, Ahmedabad in Gujarat in March 2021 to celebrate 75 years of India’s Independence. The celebrations will continue till August 15, 2023

Sonia Gandhi to meet opposition leaders

New Delhi [India]: As part of efforts to take forward the opposition unity displayed during the monsoon session of parliament, Congress chief Sonia Gandhi has called a virtual meeting of like-minded opposition leaders on August 20, sources said.
The meeting will be held at 4 pm. The sources said that West Bengal Chief Minister Mamta Banerjee, Maharashtra Chief Minister Udhav Thackrey, Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin are among the leaders who will take part in the meeting.
The opposition parties forced repeated adjournments during the monsoon session of parliament on their demands including a probe into allegations of surveillance through Pegasus spyware and repeal of farm bills. The session was adjourned sine die on Wednesday, two days before its scheduled conclusion.
Mamata Banerjee visited the national capital in the last week of July and discussed opposition unity with Sonia Gandhi as part of efforts to build momentum against the Bharatiya Janata Party-led government which has completed two years in office in its second term.

Sonia to meet CMs of Congress-ruled states

Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut on Thursday said that Congress interim President Sonia Gandhi will meet leaders and Chief Ministers of Congress-ruled states on 20 August.

New Delhi [India], August 12 : While speaking to the media, the Shiv Sena leader said, “The Opposition is united. On August 20, Congress interim president Sonia Gandhi will speak to CMs of Congress-ruled states. Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray will also take part in this meeting.” Speaking about security marshals being called in yesterday during the passage of the insurance amendment bill in the Rajya Sabha, Raut said, “Do you want to scare us? Today we will be meeting in Mallikarjun Kharge’s chamber and decide what to do.”
Earlier today, Raut in a tweet said, “Is this our parliamentary Democracy? Marshall law in Temple of Democracy.”
On Wednesday, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi had alleged that opposition members “manhandled marshals” in the Rajya Sabha and said their behaviour during the session was a “black spot in the history of Indian democracy”.
The Union Minister also appealed to the Chairman to release the CCTV footage in the public domain.
Both the Houses – Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha were adjourned sine die on Wednesday, two days before the scheduled conclusion.
During the monsoon session, the opposition continuously protested and forced adjournments for their other demands including a probe into allegations of surveillance through Pegasus spyware and the repeal of new farm laws.

Punjab CM to meet Sonia Gandhi

New Delhi [India], August 10 : Punjab Chief Minister Amrinder Singh would meet Congress Interim President Sonia Gandhi on Tuesday in the national capital. Singh is likely to discuss the state’s Cabinet expansion and reshuffle of ministers with the Congress chief ahead of the 2022 Assembly elections.
This will be the first meeting between both the leaders after Navjot Singh Sidhu was appointed as president of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC). Navjot Singh Sidhu took over as the chief of the Punjab unit of Congress last month replacing Congress leader Sunil Jakhar.
Singh had earlier said that his government and party leadership would work unitedly towards steering Congress to victory in the ensuing assembly elections.
Earlier on Thursday, political strategist Prashant Kishor had tendered his resignation from the post of Principal Advisor to Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh.

Goa: Congress appoints P Chidambaram as observer

New Delhi [India]: Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Monday appointed party leader P Chidambaram as senior All India Congress Committee (AICC) observer for Goa to oversee strategies and coordination for the upcoming election in the state.

Congress also appointed Jairam Ramesh as an observer for Manipur.
“Congress President has appointed P Chidambaram as Senior AICC Election Observer to Goa to oversee Election Strategies and Coordination for the upcoming assembly elections in the state,” informed general secretary (organisation) KC Venugopal.

The assembly polls in Goa and Manipur are due early next year.

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