By Rahil Nora Chopra
The two southern states of Kerala and Tamil Nadu will both vote on April 6. For the crucial Assembly polls, the Congress’s campaign strategy has shifted its emphasis from national conversations to local-level interactions, freewheeling sessions with targeted groups or sharing experiences with locals. Large public rallies would be limited because they want to create images and moments which can go viral on social media. Visuals of the former Congress president, Rahul Gandhi, teaching Aikido, a Japanese martial art, at St Theresa School in Kochi were widely circulated recently. Next, Gandhi held a meeting in the corner of a street at Paruthumpara in Kerala’s Kottayam, followed by three public meetings at Manarkadu, Ponkunnam and Pala. The elections in Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Assam, West Bengal and Puducherry are crucial for the Congress after the party lost power in three states in the last three years due to internal conflicts. The Congress also faced defeats in the 2014 and 2019 Lok Sabha elections, though in Kerala it did well, bagging 16 Lok Sabha seats.
GNCTD BILL PASSAGE IN BOTH HOUSES RUED BY THE OPPOSITION
After high drama in the RajyaSabha that saw uproar by the opposition and a walkout by MPs of parties like the BJD, SP, Congress and the YSR-Congress, the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday passed the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (Amendment) Bill, 2021 that gives more powers to the Lieutenant Governor. It was passed by the Lok Sabha on Monday. The legislation was passed in Rajya Sabha by a voice vote on Wednesday. However, a division was sought by the opposition when the government moved the bill for consideration. During voting, 83 members were in favour while 45 opposed the bill. The Opposition members voiced that the Bill will subvert the elected Government of Delhi by vesting overriding powers in the LG, who works at the instructions of the Centre and effect federalism. Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal termed it as a sad day for democracy. “RS passes GNCTD amendment bill. Sad day for Indian democracy. Will continue our struggle to restore power back to people. Whatever be the obstacles, we will continue doing good work. Work will neither stop nor slow down,” Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal tweeted.
ASSAM: PRIYANKA ATTACKS BJP AND ITS BILLIONAIRE CRONIES
Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra in her election rallies in Assam has repeatedly alleged that the BJP governments in Assam and at the Centre have been transferring assets of Assam to their close friends. “They have not even left the animals in your zoo which they gave to the sons of their billionaire friends for keeping them in their personal zoos. They have sent two black panthers… Why? Who owned it?” Priyanka also alleged that the Assam state and central governments are looking to sell ONGC, airports and other public assets to their friends in business. In January, Adani Enterprises signed a concession agreement with Airports Authority of India (AAI) for operating and maintaining Guwahati airport. In February, the opposition Congress in Assam had condemned the transfer of black panthers from the state zoo to Reliance’s zoo. Activists of Chiriakhana Suraksha Mancha in Guwahati had also protested in front of the zoo. It is not for the first time that the Gandhis are indirectly attacking the Ambanis and Adanis.
MADAN KAUSHIK MADE NEW BJP STATE PRESIDENT OF UTTARAKHAND
After Tirath Singh Rawat became the chief minister of Uttarakhand, Madan Kaushik, who was a member of former chief minister Trivendra Singh Rawat’s cabinet, was appointed president of the state BJP. During his first visit to Bageshwar as BJP state President, he was given a Guard of Honour on Monday by the state police in Bageshwar in violation of protocol, with a senior official saying it happened due to a misunderstanding. Pictures of the state BJP chief being given the Guard of Honour on his arrival at Bageshwar were shared on social media. Admitting that the Guard of Honour given to the state party president was wrong, Deputy Inspector General (Law and Order) Neelesh Anand Bharne said it was due to a misunderstanding. Kaushik, who represents Haridwar in the state assembly, was appointed state BJP president on March 12 replacing Bansidhar Bhagat who is now a minister.
ARE DELHI SCRIBES POKING FUN AT CONGRESS’ MEDIA MAN?
These days, the Congress media department seems to be rather unorganized. As a result, the high command is looking for a new media head, closely following the appointment of new Congress president in July this year. In the press conferences of Congress at 24 Akbar Road these days, Secretary of Communication Pranav Jha sits in the corner and asks the written questions to highlight the Congress version on the issues. Delhi journalists are enjoying taking a jibe at Jha and his curious methods of dealing with questions. (IPA)