The infighting in Uttarakhand Congress has become more prominent ahead of 2022 assembly election, although the party is trying hard to return to power in the northern hill state. The Congress campaign head in Uttarakhand, Harish Rawat, has been posting cryptic messages on Twitter, saying that he sometimes feels “it’s time for him to rest”. In a series of recent tweets, the senior leader expressed strong displeasure and discontent over the state of affairs in the party and sought “guidance from [the] Almighty”. In remarks that appeared to be directed against the Congress leadership, Harish Rawat said: “[T]he representatives of the leaders on whose directions I have to swim in the sea of elections are tying my hands and legs.”He added: “Isn’t it a strange thing? Have to swim across the sea of electoral battle, but the organisational structure instead of lending a helping hand is obstructing and playing a negative role at most places.” According to Congress sources, Rawat’s reaction came after seeing more posters of Devendra Yadav in comparison to his and fellow local leaders’ posters in the Congress’s ‘Vijay Samman’ rally in Dehradun on December 16. In the rally, more importance was given to Uttarakhand in-charge Devendra Yadav and to his companions who had come from Delhi, while Harish Rawat, and other local leaders and ground workers were ignored. Consequently, Congress’s local leaders and workers are demanding that Devendra Yadav be removed from his post as the party in-charge of Uttarakhand. Meanwhile, Rawat is still regarded as the Congress’s best hope in the hilly state, where the party has long struggled with factionalism. However, the Congress party is yet to declare its CM face. It must be noted that Devendra Yadav had flatly rejected former CM Harish Rawat’s demand for declaring him or any other name as prospective Congress CM candidate, saying that it has never been the tradition in Congress and the leader of Congress Legislature Party is always elected after the party gains majority. In fact, a top Congress source says Rawat’s move could be interpreted as a pressure tactic to gain more of a say in matters of ticket selection and have himself named as the chief ministerial candidate.
PRIYANKA TAKES POTSHOTS AT MODI, YOGI OVER AYODHYA LAND SCAM
With Uttar Pradesh assembly election round the corner, Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra has been reaching out to women voters in the state in the hope that they would help turn the tides for her party. In a dig at Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s cash outreach scheme for women in UP, Priyanka said: “What did I say to the women of UP? To use their power. Now even PM Modi has given in. Why didn’t he announce this in the last five years? Why now, before elections? Women have woken up with our ‘ladki hoon, lad sakti hoon’ slogan.” Priyanka has also asserted that the investigation ordered by the Uttar Pradesh government into the Ayodhya land scam was an eyewash and called for the intervention of the Supreme Court. She alleged: “The pieces of land of Dalits, which could not have been purchased, were usurped. Secondly, a few plots that were cheap were sold at high prices. This means that the donations were misused for corruption.” She added: “Donations to the Ram Mandir Trust were collected from across the country. Even poor households contributed. It is a matter of faith and that is being played with.”She added that the “money of the Trust is being misused to benefit leaders and officials.”
KEJRIWAL MOCKS TMC, BUT SAYS OPEN TO POST-POLL ALLIANCE IN GOA
Following Congress’ footsteps, now Delhi Chief Minister and AAP national convener, Arvind Kejriwal, has hit out at the Trinamool Congress, saying the party is not even in the race for the upcoming Assembly elections in Goa. The Delhi chief minister, who is in Goa to disseminate his party’s agenda ahead of the 2022 elections, on Wednesday tore into the Mamata Banerjee-led TMC, which is leaving no stone unturned to expand its footprint across the country and has set its eyes on Goa. Addressing a press conference, Kejriwal said: “I think you people give a lot of importance to TMC. I think TMC doesn’t have even a 1% vote share as of now. It came to Goa only three months back, democracy doesn’t work like this. You need to work hard, you need to work among people.” Moreover, Kejriwal has ruled out the possibility of a pre-poll alliance of AAP with the TMC in Goa, but said he may think of tie-ups with non-BJP outfits post-results if the ensuing assembly elections throw up a fractured mandate in the coastal state. He said that the AAP would contest all the 40 seats of the Goa assembly and the party’s chief ministerial candidate would be declared in time to come. On the other hand, TMC leaders said Delhi CM Kejriwal’s remarks that the Banerjee-led party was not even in the race in Goa reflected the AAP chief’s political immaturity and desperation. In response to Kejriwal’s pointed barb, TMC asserted that it should be left to the people of Goa to decide who should be taken seriously.
JITAN RAM MANJHI SAYS: ‘DRINK, BUT ONLY A LITTLE’
Former chief minister Jitan Ram Manjhi of the Awam Morcha (Secular) advised some people “thodi thodi piya karo (drink only a little)”. He argued that medical science also recommend drinking a bit of alcohol as it’s beneficial for health. Manjhi had openly advocated that poor people should consume liquor after 10 p.m. and stay at home like IAS-IPS officers, doctors, engineers and other such people. When asked by media persons to clear his stand on Jitan Ram Manjhi, Nitish Kumar said: “Those who are making statements against the liquor ban should know that they gained public support because of this. We had imposed a liquor ban following public opinion. Hence, he should avoid giving statements that promote liquor consumption in Bihar.” But Kumar did not say what action he is going to take against Jitan Ram Manjhi. Manjhi had also demanded that the Nitish Kumar government should adopt the Gujarat model of liquor ban in Bihar.
CM NITISH LOOKS TO UP ELECTIONS TO DECIDE ON KEY ALLIANCE POLITICS
With the differences between JD(U) and BJP over the issues of caste census and special category status for Bihar have been alleviated, CM Nitish Kumar has been advocating for the same and is attaining vocal support from the Opposition, including the RJD. Both issues have socio-political and sentimental importance. The extent of rekindled warmth and closeness between Nitish and RJD has sparked off speculations that something new is cooking in the state’s political cauldron. JD(U) leaders are claiming that CM Nitish Kumar is waiting for Uttar Pradesh assembly election results to take a public position. It seems that after the UP poll results, Nitish will make his next move pertaining to the future of his alliances, deciding, crucially, whether to stay with the BJP, or to form the government with RJD. (IPA Service)