By Rahil Nora Chopra
In a step forward, Congress is all set to look for a joint candidate of Opposition parties for the vice-presidential election. Congress has assigned the task to Mallikarjun Kharge, who is the Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha, to communicate with the opposition parties and choose a consensus candidate for the election to the Vice-President’s post. Moreover, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar on Wednesday held a meeting in Delhi to discuss the progress of the campaign of the Opposition’s presidential nominee, Yashwant Sinha, and to have preliminary discussions on the vice-presidential candidate. The leaders who attended the meeting included Leader of the Opposition Mallikarjun Kharge of the Congress, CPI-M general secretary Sitaram Yechury, CPI’s Bhalchandra Kango and A D Singh of the RJD.
A section of the Opposition feels that they must wait for the Union government to come up with its proposal, and field a candidate only after that. The government has enough votes to ensure victory of the ruling dispensation’s candidate in the vice-presidential election. Only Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha MPs, including nominated lawmakers, vote in the vice-presidential poll. And between the two Houses, the BJP has 395 MPs, or votes, seven more than the victory mark of 388. According to the notification, July 19 is the last date for filing nominations. The top names of the prospective NDA VP candidate include that of Thawar Chand Gehlot, Arif Mohammad Khan, and Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi. The party can again spring a surprise on the lines of its presidential candidate Droupadi Murmu. The term of incumbent M Venkaiah Naidu ends on August 10. The next Vice President will take oath on August 11. The scrutiny of nomination papers will take place on July 20, and the last date for withdrawal of candidature is July 22.
UP LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL NOW DEVOID OF SINGLE MEMBER FROM CONGRESS
For the first time ever, the Uttar Pradesh Legislative Council will have no member from the Congress. On Wednesday, the Congress’s sole legislator in the Uttar Pradesh legislative council, Deepak Singh, retired, leaving the party and with no future representation in the UP council for the first time ever. The Uttar Pradesh Legislative Council had come into existence in 1887 and Motilal Nehru was Congress’ first MLC in the House in 1909. The development comes after the party faced a massive drubbing in the state’s assembly elections earlier this year, when it managed to win only two seats — it had won seven in the previous polls in 2017. Its vote share also came down to just about two per cent. After the elections, the party’s state unit president, Ajay Lallu, was asked to resign and the speculation is rife that the party will appoint a new state unit president and 3 working state president soon. The top name doing the rounds is that of former MP from Jalaun Brijlal Khabri, party spokesperson Akhilesh Pratap Singh as the new state unit president.
CHIRAG PASWAN UNVEILS FATHER RAM VILAS’S STATUE
To strengthen the party’s place and the prominent hold on his father’s Karmbhumi, Jamui MP and LJP (Ram Vilas) chief Chirag Paswan held a mega show and unveiled a life-size statue of late Ram Vilas Paswan on his birth anniversary at Hajipur on Tuesday. Ram Vilas who had represented Hajipur in the Lok Sabha successfully for nine terms. Chirag is likely to contest the next parliamentary election from Hajipur, which is now represented by his estranged uncle and Union minister Pashupati Kumar Paras, who to pay his tribute organised a separate function at Patna on the occasion. Taking a dig at Paras and cousin Prince, Chirag said: “Our party got split around a year ago due to personal motives of some people. Still I invited him (Paras) here and would have been glad had Chachaji also come, as my entire family is here.” Paswan has alleged that JD(U) and its ally BJP were in search of their own Eknath Shinde who could pull the rug from under the feet of his own party to benefit the rival. Paswan accused and alleged that the two parties remained in an alliance just to attain the power and charged the BJP with capitulating before chief minister Nitish Kumar on ideological issues. Paswan also claimed that Kumar was trying to cut BJP to size and had played a role in the defection of four AIMIM MLAs to the RJD to achieve this end.
TMC DISTANCES ITSELF FROM MOHUA MOITRA’S KALI RAMARK
Trinamool Congress (TMC) distanced itself from party MP Mahua Moitra’s remark on Goddess Kaali, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday said people make mistakes but they can be rectified. “We make mistakes while working but they can be rectified. Some people don’t see all the good work and suddenly start drawing faults and such adversity and .negativity affects our brain cells so we should think positively,” said Mamata while addressing a students’ credit cards distribution event in Kolkata. Trinamool Congress MP Mahua Moitra is facing an FIR for her comments on Goddess Kaali at a Media event. The MP had said she had every right as an individual to imagine Goddess Kali as a “meat-eating and alcohol-accepting goddess” as every person has the right to worship God in their own way. “If you go to Bhutan or Sikkim, for example, when they do puja, they give whisky to their god. Now, if you go to Uttar Pradesh and say that you give whisky to your god as prasad, they will say that is blasphemous,” she said. The TMC on Tuesday condemned the comments made by its MP Mahua Moitra on Goddess ‘Kaali’ at an event. While the BJP has said she should be arrested. An FIR has been filed in BJP-ruled Madhya Pradesh, accusing her of hurting religious sentiments, and more leaders have threatened to file cases.
BLOW TO UDDHAV THACKERAY AS 66 SHIV SENA CORPORATORS JOIN CM SHINDE
In yet another setback for Shiv Sena supremo Uddhav Thackeray, 66 party corporators in the Thane Municipal Corporation (TMC) have joined the Eknath Shinde camp. According to the sources, all 66 rebel corporators met new Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde at his residence on Wednesday. With the defection of 66 of the 67 Shiv Sena corporators, Uddhav Thackeray has effectively lost control over the TMC. The Thane Municipal Corporation is the most important civic body after the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation. The high-stake election of Mumbai’s civic body Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), the richest municipal corporation in the country, is scheduled to take place soon and the final dates for the same could be announced anytime now. A lot has changed ahead of the crucial BMC polls. Now, Maharashtra is being led by Chief Minister Eknath Shinde, who overturned the Uddhav Thackeray-led government in a 10-day power struggle, with 42 Sena and rebel MLAs backing him. The key to the Deputy Chief Minister’s office, too, has gone to former CM and BJP key Maharashtra player Devendra Fadnavis. However, Uddhav loyalists and the Shinde faction claim their respective group represents the original Shiv Sena, and are sparring over the party’s ‘bow and arrow’ symbol. Rebel Shiv Sena MLA Gulabrao Patil has claimed that 12 out of 18 Shiv Sena MPs would soon join the Shinde-led faction. Meanwhile Uddhav Thackeray-led faction of the Shiv Sena has nominated Rajan Vichare as the party’s chief whip in Lok Sabha in place of Bhavana Gawali, party leader and MP Sanjay Raut said on Wednesday, 6 July. (IPA Service)