By Rahil Nora Chopra
The violence that erupted in the Lakhimpur Kheri on October 3 when a jeep allegedly ran over protesting farmers has sprouted a new political life to the Congress and party general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra has undoubtedly gained appreciation for herself. When Priyanka was stopped from leaving for Lakhimpur on October 4, she set out of her house on foot and before the cops on duty could realise what was happening, she got into a waiting car and sped off towards Lakhimpur. The administration panicked and she was stopped at Sitapur, just ahead of Lakhimpur. Priyanka was detained in a guest house but allowed access to her phone. She used it to give interviews to TV channels, to shoot videos and even to address Congress workers who had assembled to hear her speak. Akhilesh Yadav was detained in Lucknow. Bhupesh Baghel staged a dharna at Lucknow airport when he was refused entry into the state. The deputy chief minister of Punjab was also stopped from going to the site. Priyanka, in two days has knocked the state government and even though the party does not offer much resistance, she has rattled those in power. From Shiv Sena, NCP in Maharashtra to Mehbooba Mufti in Kashmir, they have all supported Priyanka Gandhi. Chief minister Yogi Adityanath had transformed Priyanka’s image from inept backroom strategy maker to the heir of Indira Gandhi, standing up to those in power on behalf of the helpless. Eventually, Yogi Adityanath decided ona future course of action in this matter as it seems he been advised, to which he gave a assertive notion in his own fumbling way, to let Rahul Gandhi and others visit Priyanka, and then, the site of the incident. But by then, the damage was done. Meanwhile, Rahul Gandhi along with the chief ministers of Punjab and Chhattisgarh — Charanjit Singh Channi and Bhupesh Baghel — and general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra reached Palia village in Lakhimpur late on Wednesday and met the family of Lovepreet Singh, one of the farmers killed on October 3. Congress workers are elated that they have found a true leader in Priyanka Gandhi and if she plans her moves well, she could even bring the Congress back into the reckoning.
RJD, CONGRESS DIFFERENCES WIDEN OVER BY-POLLS
After RJD had announced the names of its candidates for Tarapur and Kusheshwarsthan constituency, scheduled to go for a by-election on October 30.The Congress party on Wednesday announced the names of its candidates for both the seats: Rajesh Kumar Mishra from Tarapur (Munger) and Atirek Kumar from Kusheshwarsthan (Darbhanga. The Congress party, which had staked claim to the Kusheshwarsthan (reserved) seat, expressed reservation over the RJD’s unilateral announcement. However, RJD leaders said the decision was taken after consulting the top Congress leadership. According to political observers, thedifferences between the two parties began after Tejashwi Yadav along with Nitish Kumar met Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 23 August demanding that the Centre should initiate a caste based census. Secondly when former Communist Party of India (CPI) leader Kanhaiya Kumar recently joined the Congress party, political circles in the State were abuzz that his entry had created a rift between the two grand alliance partners.
MANEKA CLAN, OTHER DISSENTERS OUT OF KEY BJP BODY
After Varun Gandhi and Chaudhary Birendra Singh have been critical of the government’s handling of the farmers agitation, the BJP dropped both, along with Maneka Gandhi from the 80-member national executive committee as party president J.P. Nadda reconstituted the top decision-making body. Varun Gandhi has been tweeting about adopting a more humane approach to deal with the farmers’ agitation. On Thursday, he tweeted a video from the protest site in LakhimpurKheri, which shows a car running over a group of people who were protesting against the farm laws. Other prominent exclusions include Rajya Sabha MP Subramanian Swamy, SS Alhuwalia and old-generation leaders like Vinay Katiyar, C.P. Thakur, Vijay Goel, Suresh Prabhu and Ram Madhav, the former BJP general secretary who returned to the RSSthis March. Among the new inclusions are Union ministers Jyotiraditya Scindia from Madhya Pradesh; S Jaishankar and Meenakshi Lekhi from Delhi; Anurag Thakur from Himachal Pradesh and Ashwani Vaishnaw from Odisha. Actor turned politician Mithun Chakraborty and former railway minister Dinesh Trivedi, who quit the TMC and joined the BJP ahead of the West Bengal election, have also been included in the committee. Khushbu Sundar has been included in the list of special invitees from Tamil Nadu; she had quit the Congress to join the BJP. The BJP’s national executive committee includes party patriarchs LK Advani and MM Joshi, apart from Prime Minister Narendra Modi, defence minister Rajnath Singh and home minister Amit Shah. The central decision making body of the party also includes 50 special invitees and 179 permanent invitees, including chief ministers, deputy chief ministers of BJP ruled states, leaders of the legislative assemblies and state presidents among others.
NEW BJP ‘RECRUITS’ UNHAPPY OVER CM SELECTION
Many prominent leaders, including ex-chief minister Vijay Bahuguna, Harak Singh Rawat, Satpal Maharaj and Yashpal Arya had left the Congress to join the BJP but some of them are reportedly upset ever since the BJP appointed Pushkar Singh Dhami as the Chief Minister of Uttarakhand. Although the BJP high command had accommodated all the former chief minister and senior ministers in different election committees for the upcoming assembly election, suddenly the visit of chief minister Pushkar Singh Dhami and Harak Singh Rawat at Yashpal Arya’s residence has spread rumours that Yashpal Arya may join Congress. However, Arya denied the rumour but he asserted that it always happens as and when any election takes place many workers and leaders tend to shift or move to another party. Instead of setting the controversy at rest, this has made the speculation pertinent . Meanwhile, former chief minister and the chairman of Congress campaign committee Harish Rawat claimed that many BJP leaders are in touch with the party and the final call will be taken at the time of election.
SONIA AGREES TO G-23 DEMAND FOR FREE DISCUSSION
Senior party leaders Ghulam Nabi Azad and Kapil Sibal, who are the part of a group of 23 leaders (G-23) seeking organisational revamp, have demanded that a meeting of the CWC be convened immediately to discuss internal party issues like the series of defections from the party and the unrest in many state units including Punjab, Goa and Kerala, According to sources, Sonia Gandhi has already indicated that the meeting of the CWC will be convened soon and internal issues will be discussed. The Congress Working Committee is likely to meet by the end of the month but no date has been finalised. The party will also discuss the Lakhimpur Kheri incident in the CWC meeting and may pass are solution in favour of farmers. Speculation is rife that new general secretaries will be appointed in some states. The names such as BK Hariprasad, Sachin Pilot, Mohan Prakash are in line of discussion. (IPA)