By Rahil Nora Chopra
The Opposition parties are looking forward for making the 16th Presidential election a close contest. By putting forth the nomination of Yashwant Sinha as their candidate, the Opposition is now aspiring to bring Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s Janata Dal (United) in to their side, to make the battle slightly more even. But JD(U) on Wednesday has held forth its undaunted support to NDA presidential candidate Droupadi Murmu. Expressing content over the announcement of Murmu as the NDA’s presidential candidate, Bihar CM Nitish Kumar said that the candidature of a tribal woman for the country’s highest post is a matter of great pleasure. Nitish said Prime Minister Narendra Modi had called him on Tuesday to intimate that Murmu was being made the NDA candidate for the presidential election. “Heartiest anticipation and thanks to the PM for putting the candidature of a tribal woman who has proven her capabilities and mettle as a minister in Odisha and also during her gubernatorial stint in Jharkhand,” Nitish said in a statement on Wednesday. Nitish Kumar has a curious history in Presidential elections. In 2012, when he was part of the NDA alliance, he had voted in favour of the UPA nominee Pranab Mukherjee. And in 2017, while he was in a mahagatbandhan with the RJD, he voted for NDA nominee Ramnath Kovind. Just weeks after Mr. Kovind was elected, Mr. Kumar had walked out of the grand alliance and returned to the NDA.
On the other hand, Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik urged all elected lawmakers from the state to vote for Murmu. The Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) is likely to back former Union minister Yashwant Sinha the joint opposition candidate for the presidential election. Though KCR was not part of the opposition meetings to decide on the presidential candidate, he has decided that the TRS will support Sinha, who had been a bitter critic of the Narendra Modi government for the last few years. The ruling YSR Congress Party in neighbouring Andhra Pradesh is yet to take a position on the presidential elections. But YSR party leaders expect the party leadership to eventually back the NDA candidate in view of Reddy’s friendly relations with the Narendra Modi government. The NDA is also banking on support from the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM), a Scheduled Tribe (ST)-led party. JMM is likely to break ranks with the coalition of opposition parties, which has named former BJP leader Yashwant Sinha as its candidate. Murmu belongs to the Santhal Tribe. BJP leaders said parties such as Shiromani Akali Dal, Telugu Desam Party and Bahujan Samaj Party are also likely to back Murmu.
JAIRAM RAMESH BRINGS NEW DYNAMISM TO CONGRESS’S COMMUNICATIONS STRATEGY
Congress senior leader Jairam Ramesh has been appointed as the AICC general secretary in-charge of communication, publicity and media by the party, replacing Randeep Singh Surjewala. Jairam Ramesh has been working behind the scene since long time and has also made remarkable changes in the communications strategy of the party, disseminating quick information to the media at appropriate stroke of hour. The Congress was battling to keep the Maha Vikas Aghadi government alive, the party’s Uttar Pradesh leader Acharya Pramod Krishnam created a flutter by demanding the resignation of Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray. “Respecting the legacy of Balasaheb Thackeray, Uddhav Thackeray should quit as CM without any delay to protect the Maratha pride.” Krishnam tweeted. Congress general secretary communication Jairam Ramesh swung into action to contain the damage by distancing the party from the tweet. “Neither is this the Congress’s view nor is Acharya Pramod Krishnam the party’s official spokesperson,” Ramesh tweeted.
Ramesh gave strong indication to the dissident camp at the first press conference at the AICC after he took the charge and was addressed by Deepender Hooda on the issue of Agnipath. Hooda is in camp opposed to former head Randeep Surjewala. And in latest turn it was Kanhaiya Kumar, who is a new inductee to the party. As Rahul was grilled by the ED, and due to the same the decision was impending but was implemented with due importance to give more voice and edge to Congress in media. Since then Ramesh has been equipping the media with latest party updates through a channel of statements and tweets be it about issues of Sonia Gandhi’s health or Rahul’s appearance at ED or distancing from the statement by Subodh Kant Sahay on Prime Minister. According to Congress sources the party will give priority to young leaders and has formulated a line of strategy under which the various leaders will undertake the press conference on varied issues .Sachin pilot, Kanhaiya Kumar, will do the Press conference on issues related to youth. Shashi Tharoor and Salman Khurshid on foreign affairs. P Chidambaram on Indian Economy, Deependra Singh Hooda, Randeep Surjewala on farmers issues, Ashok Gehlot, Bhupesh Baghel, Kamal Nath will do the Press conference on issues related to Political Affairs.
RAHUL GANDHI GETS HIS ENERGY AND CALMNESS FROM DOING REGULAR VIPASANA
In the wake of enquiry which took five days of questioning by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in a money laundering case related to the National Herald newspaper, former Congress chief Rahul Gandhi firmly said that a leader who fights and believes in assertiveness and the truth is neither scared nor threatened. Rahul Gandhi also said that the Narendra Modi government has been weakening the Armed Forces, as with the introduction of the new recruitment scheme which as of now has made it “No Rank No Pension” from the promise of “One Rank One Pension”. He was firm in saying that like the farm laws, the Modi government would have to withdraw the new recruitment scheme too. Mentioning about the long hours of questioning, Rahul said that the officers of the agency even quizzed him about the secret behind his patience and energy. The answer, Rahul said, was Vipasana, as he addressed workers and leaders from across the country gathered at the AICC headquarters. “I would mostly be sitting in my chair, even though the officers would keep going out. Perhaps, they had to take instructions from their seniors. So, when they asked me for my secret, I told them that’s because I do Vipasana meditation.”
NCP SUPREMO SHARAD PAWAR RECOMMENDS FLOOR TEST TO DECIDE ON MAJORITY
With a rise in the political crisis in Maharashtra, Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee lashed back at BJP for hosting rebel Shiv Sena MLAs in Assam. She stated “Why are you disturbing the Assam government when they are facing floods? Send (the MLAs) to Bengal and she further added ” we will extend good hospitality and take care of democracy, too,”. She extended her views and said that the saffron party has deliberately chosen to disturb the Maharashtra government at a time when the presidential polls are approaching. Meanwhile Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar on Thursday seemed more confident in sharing that the Maha Vikas Aghadi government would survive the storm unleashed by rebel MLA Eknath Shinde, who claims the support of over 40 MLAs. Sharad Pawar said “A floor test will decide who has majority.” A last-ditch attempt to save the ruling Maharashtra alliance, Team Thackeray has decided to file an appeal with the Maharashtra assembly Deputy Speaker seeking to disqualify 12 rebel MLAs, sources said. The Sena may not step forward to disqualify 30 or more MLAs, however, since that would bring the halfway mark down, which will assuringly benefit the BJP. Sena’s play appears to be to go for disqualifying a few rebels to discourage the rest from facing elections, hence forcing them to return.
SENIOR JOURNALIST RAM SHARAN JOSHI’S MEMOIRS WILL SOON BE OUT
Senior Journalist and Hindi writer Ram Sharan Joshi had turned 78 years. He is left liberal and had penned his autobiography as a book – mei bonsai apane samaya ka”. Ram Sharan Joshi had created a huge controversy with his open admission of his promiscuous life with tribals in his early years of tribal activism in Chhattisgarh. He wrote that in Hans, a Hindi radical magazine few years back. He has not bothered to repeat that episode in his autobiography. Joshi worked as “Nai Duniya’ newspapers’ chief of bureau in Delhi for years and later was VC of the Makhan Lal Chathurvedi Institute of journalism at Bhopal. He was among few journalists who had the full ears of the Congress leader Arjun Singh for years. The book will be launched in English version and is translated in English from Hindi by Mohammed Anas, it is edited by Amit Sen Gupta .The book launch is expected in the first week of July. (IPA Service)