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    Showing posts with label UPA. Show all posts

    Sonia Gandhi's advice to revitalise Congress, counter Modi juggernaut will not be easy for party president Rahul

    If Congress president Rahul Gandhi has to counter the Narendra Modi juggernaut in the 2019 Lok Sabha election, he will have to revitalise the party from scratch. That’s the indication UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi gave on Friday.

    Referring to party’s Steering Committee meeting, she said, “Certainly, Rahul always wanted new and younger people in the party. It’s very valid that without them, how could a party grow? (sic) But he also said that older leaders who, worked for years (in Congress), can’t be ignored.”

    During her interaction at the India Today Conclave, Sonia commented on Rahul’s leadership style after he took over as the new party chief and said that the leadership style doesn’t make much difference. Whether it’s Rahul or any other, Congress has its policies that everyone follows.

    File image of former Congress president Sonia Gandhi. PTI File image of former Congress president Sonia Gandhi. PTI
    While emphasising that Congress had to adopt a new style of connecting with people, the former Congress chief said that the need of the hour was to revitalise the party.

    She asserted that older generation leaders couldn’t be done away with and a balance was needed between the younger lot and senior leaders.

    And to revitalise the grand old party of India, Rahul obviously would have to take tough decisions, which might not go down well with the senior leadership.

    Recently, the Congress has faced electoral debacle in three northeastern states — Tripura, Nagaland and Meghalaya. From being in power in 13 states, Congress is reduced to just four now. The party might have tasted victory in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh bypolls, but upcoming elections in Karnataka, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh will pose a tough challenge for Rahul’s leadership.

    By emphasising the importance of the old guard and the need to maintain a balance vis-à-vis revitalisation of the party, Sonia has probably placed a handicap before her son.

    A balancing act

    For Rahul, it will be like walking a tight rope to maintain a balance between the young leaders and the old guard, while revitalising the party.

    Many a times it had been a point of debate and discussion that it won’t be palatable for the old guard within the Congress party – who have worked with Rahul’s grand mother Indira Gandhi and father Rajiv Gandhi – to accept the leadership of this Nehru-Gandhi scion.

    While Sonia had always backed the old order, Rahul has often faced difficulty in reining in the senior leaders.

    Sources in the party said that when Rahul was vice-president, he, on many occasions, maintained distance from a few senior leaders, who are apparently close to Sonia Gandhi.

    Gujarat election is a case in point, when senior Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar called Prime Minister Narendra Modi “neech".

    Rahul was quick to control the damage and asked Aiyar to apologise. Later, Aiyar was suspended from the primary membership of the party.

    Let’s not forget that Congress general secretary and former Madhya Pradesh chief minister Digvijaya Singh, who was once regarded as Rahul Gandhi’s ‘political guru’, fell out of favour in 2012 after repeatedly going against the party line on issues such as the Batla House encounter in September 2008 against Indian Mujahideen (IM) terrorists.

    Baba Ramdev Government is trying to defame me

    A day after the police registered a case against Ramdev's brother Ram Bharat on charges of abducting and manhandling a former employee, the yoga guru attacked the government and said it was an attempt to defame him.

    "There are headlines on television channels accusing me and my brother of abduction. These are all false and baseless allegations against me. This is a conspiracy by the Congress government, both at the Centre and in Uttarakhand, to defame me."

    Accusing the Congress of adopting a hostile attitude towards him, Ramdev said, "I am being portrayed as a criminal. It is clear from some incidents in recent past that I am being victimised and targeted by the ruling Congress party."

    According to the police, 25-year-old Nitin Tyagi used to work as a supervisor with Patanjali Food and Herbal Pvt Ltd till two years ago. There he was accused of stealing a herb used in making ayurvedic medicine. Four days ago, Ram Bharat allegedly abducted Tyagi and kept him in captivity. The man was rescued from Patanjali Phase 2 only after his grandfather, Som Tyagi, filed a complaint.

    Baba Ramdev Government is trying to defame me
    The police have filed a case under Sections 323, 504, 506, 365 and 342 of IPC at Kankhal police station against Ram Bharat and the four security guards. While whereabouts of Bharat and three security personnel are unknown as of now, one guard has been arrested and is being questioned by the police.

    Ramdev, however, has termed the charges against his brother as baseless. "A worker at Patanjali Yog Peeth was caught red-handed stealing nearly R30 lakh. He was detained at the ashram by the security personnel and later handed over to the local police. It is unfortunate that our rivals, instigated by some political leaders at the Centre, projected the whole incident in a negative manner and the media also reported it like a case of kidnapping. It is another case to defame me," he said.

    He said he was a victim of a political conspiracy. "They are trying to infiltrate sex workers into the ashram, they will be then caught and people will say Ramdev is a sex offender."

    Speaking to HT, SSP Rajeev Swaroop said, "One of the four private security guards of Ram Bharat, Ramesh Kumar, has been taken in custody and interrogation is on. The victim will be given due justice and the culprits will not be spared. A special team has been formed to nab the other accused."

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