By Rahil Nora Chopra
The control of the Congress high command over the party has weakened because of the leadership crisis created by Rahul Gandhi’s unexpected exit after the debacle in the Lok Sabha elections of 2019. Although Rahul is still being treated as the supreme leader in the party, Sonia Gandhi’s presence at the helm, more like a ceremonial head than a functional one, is affecting the organisation the most. While the G-23 group of leaders, led by the Congress veteran Ghulam Nabi Azad, has been demanding reforms within the party and reiterating their call for change, others too are gradually joining in the bandwagon. Now Kerala’s senior Congress leader and former party general secretary, PC Chacko, resigned from the party on Wednesday and said: “It is very difficult for a sincere Congress worker to survive. Merit is not a concern at all.” He also described the Congress as a rudderless ship that has failed to find a president for more than a year. Several Congress leaders and workers are demanding and appealing Rahul Gandhi to return as the Congress president to unite the party once again. Congress leaders also asserted that Gandhi alone can fight against Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
TIRATH SINGH RAWAT CHOSEN AS UTTARAKHAND’S NEW CM
In view of the coming 2022 Assembly elections in Uttarakhand, the BJP high command has made Tirath Singh Rawat as the new BJP chief minister of the northern hilly state after the BJP legislature party chose him as its leader. More than 50 MLAs of the party, including Union education minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank, Ajay Bhatt, among others, were present at the meeting. The 56-year-old BJP leader has served as an MLA and is currently the MP from Pauri in the lower house of the Parliament. Tirath Singh Rawat’s name was picked over prominent candidates including Union Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank and Uttarakhand Minister Dhan Singh Rawat because he is very close to the RSS and known to be a mild-mannered, down-to-earth leader, who has remained connected to his roots through all these years of his political journey.
MAMATA ‘ATTACK VS ACCIDENT’ DEBATE SPLITS BENGAL WIDE OPEN
After West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee alleged an attack in which she suffered injuries to her leg and neck, a blame-game saw both TMC and the BJP calling for an investigation. In letters to the Election Commission, the Trinamool Congress alleged a deep-rooted conspiracy to take the life of its chief, while the BJP, which has accused Mamata Banerjee of lying about the attack, called for video footage to establish facts. The TMC alleging a gruesome attack on the Chief Minister, said that an attempt was made on her life within 24 hours of the removal of the Bengal police chief by the Election Commission, without the state government being consulted. The party alleged a nexus between the BJP’s complaints against the sacked police chief and the police being absent at the time of the incident. Meanwhile, BJP MP Locket Chatterjee said: “How did the incident take place under surveillance of Z+ security? We request high-level investigation. We do not want politics over this: this is a matter of humanity.” In days to come, heated exchange of argument between TMC and BJP is expected to increase as the campaign is in full swing.
NISHADS MIGHT BE GAME-CHANGERS IN 2022 UP ASSEMBLY POLLS
The Nishad community, which forms almost 5 percent of the total population of Uttar Pradesh, has remained poor and backward — both in terms of political representation and economic conditions. Now, all political parties, including the Congress, the Samajwadi Party, the BSP and the BJP, are wooing the community. The SP patriarch and former UP Chief Minister, Mulayam Singh Yadav, was the first to acknowledge the political importance of the community. He tapped the community through Phoolan Devi, making them a strong vote bank for the SP, but after her death, they drifted away and moved towards the BJP. The Nadi Adhikar Yatra, spearheaded by Priyanka Gandhi, has been seen by many as a game changer in favour of the Congress in UP politics, rattling not just the BJP but also the SP and BSP. If Nishads decide to change their voting preference, it will be hugely advantageous for the Congress when UP polls are held in 2022.Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav said that by breaking the boats of the Nishad community, the BJP has hit them in their stomach and the government should offer an apology and compensate for their loss. Opposition leaders are trying to corner the government after boats belonging to Nishad community were allegedly damaged by the police and administration in the district during an anti-mining drive. In a quick damage control exercise, BJP leaders reached to the community and demanded action against guilty policemen. Nishads, who are scattered along areas adjacent to the Yamuna and Ganga across Uttar Pradesh, have a sizable presence in 152 of the 403 Assembly constituencies in the state.
JOLT TO BJP AS PROTESTING FARMERS HEAD TO WEST BENGAL
Farmers who have been sitting on dharna on all the borders of Delhi are now going to campaign in West Bengal against the BJP. From March 12 to 14, the farmers are slated to undertake several big programs against the BJP in West Bengal. Till now, peasant leaders have been seen in big farmer mahapanchayats against agricultural laws in Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh.But now leaders like Rakesh Tikait, Balbir Singh Rajewal, Yogendra Yadav, among others, will be seen campaigning against the BJP in the hottest electoral state of West Bengal. Bharat Kisan Union leader Rakesh Tikait announced he would be travelling to the poll-bound state of West Bengal on March 13 to speak to the farmers. “Government has gone to Kolkata, so we will also go there on 13th March to speak with farmers,” Rakesh Tikait said. Samyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM), which is spearheading anti-farm law protests in Delhi, had announced that the union would send its leaders to poll-bound states to appeal to farmers there to defeat the BJP in assembly elections, leaders of the outfit said. In a press conference held at Kisan Bhawan in Chandigarh, farmer leader Rajewal said that the Bharat Bandh had been called on 26 March. Prior to this, protest by employees and traders against privatization will be held, and on March 19, the mandis will be closed across the country in protest against the decision of FCI. (IPA)