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Rahul can wait, Cong open to Mamata, Mayawati as PM in 2019

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New Delhi: The Congress may have pitched for Rahul Gandhi as its prime ministerial candidate for the 2019 Lok Sabha polls but the party gave indications that it is not averse to accepting a nominee for the top post from any Opposition alliance who does not have the backing of the RSS.
Top Congress sources while giving this indication also said that to prevent the BJP from coming back to power in 2019, the Congress will look to cobble up alliances with various parties in states.
On whether Congress president Rahul Gandhi will step aside for a woman candidate from a possible Opposition alliance, the sources said he “is comfortable seeing any prime minister other than an RSS-backed one”.
“Let’s see how the dice rolls,” the sources said.
There is speculation in the Opposition camp that a woman prime ministerial candidate may be projected in the next elections and names of BSP leader Mayawati and TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee are doing the rounds.
After the meeting of the Congress Working committee (CWC) on Sunday, the Congress said Rahul Gandhi will be its prime ministerial face for the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. It also authorised Rahul Gandhi to forge alliances with “like-minded” political parties to take on the ruling BJP.
Also Read: Cong discusses alliance at CWC meet, authorises Rahul to decide on tie-ups
Stating that it’s going to be an “ideological fight”, the sources said the Congress has to bring all the opposition parties together to defeat the BJP.
“India in 2004 is different from 2014. This is beyond our regular political battle. It is for the first time all institutions are attacked,” the sources said and added, “the more the RSS attacks Congress, it will help the party to build.”
The sources further said that the Congress does not believe in “right or left” views but for a liberal and pragmatic space.
According to the sources, the Congress leadership is of the view that the BJP will be decimated without any “anger and disrespect”. The BJP will not get enough seats to win the next general polls as parties like the TDP and the Shiv Sena are not happy with the saffron party, the sources added.
For Narendra Modi to be the Prime Minister again, he has to get seats in the range of 280 and that is not going to happen, they said.
The sources said if grand anti-BJP alliances in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar work out fine, then it will be difficult for PM Modi to retain power.
While Uttar Pradesh has 80 Lok Sabha seats, Bihar has 40 and the two together comprise over 22 per cent of the total strength of Lok Sabha members of 543.
Noting that the Congress is focussing on increasing women’s representation in the party, the sources said women leaders will be appointed in general secretary- level posts after they gain experience at different levels of party functioning.
On women’s reservation bill, they said it will be a “tactical win” if the legislation gets through Parliament. However, the party has to work a lot to ensure more women in politics and that it would work towards creating a positive atmosphere.
The sources further said India needs to be built with new ideas to address the challenges of farm crisis, unemployment among others but the Prime Minister is “running out of ideas” as he is working on the political architecture of the 1990s and the saffron party is allegedly working for few corporates.


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National

Ayodhya on high alert following intelligence inputs

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Ayodhya: Amid VIP movements, Ayodhya has been put on high alert soon after intelligence inputs indicated a possible terror attack in the city.

“We have put more force into action. The force has been alerted. Also, intelligence officials in the civil dress have come here. They are checking all hotels, restaurants and railway stations. The police force is vigilant and keeping a track of all the movements,” Anil Kumar Sisodia, Superintendent of Police City, told ANI.

This comes ahead of Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray’s visit to Ayodhya on Sunday along with his party MPs.

 

According to reports, the security has also been heightened keeping in mind the hearing on 2005 Ram Janmabhoomi attack on June 18.

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Seven died while cleaning hotel sewer in Vadodara

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Vadodara: Seven persons, including four sanitation workers, died due to asphyxiation on Saturday while cleaning sewer of a hotel in Gujarat’s Vadodara district, officials said.

The incident happened at a hotel in Fartikui village in Dabhoi tehsil, about 30 km from Vadodara city. Three employees of the hotel were also among those killed.

“When one sanitation worker failed to come out of the manhole, others went inside. All of them died due to asphyxiation,” district collector Kiran Zaveri told PTI.

 
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Manmohan retires from Rajya Sabha

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New Delhi: For the first time in 28 years, former prime minister Dr Manmohan Singh’s name ceased to be part of the list of members of the Rajya Sabha on its Web site, and was included in the list of former members of Parliament.

With the Congress lacking the numbers in the Assam legislature to ensure his re-election, 86-year-old Dr Singh retired from the Rajya Sabha.

Dr Singh, then finance minister in the P V Narasimha Rao government, had debuted in the House on October 1, 1991, from Assam and represented the state for five consecutive terms. He was the leader of the House during his 10 years as PM, and leader of the Opposition from 1998 to 2004.The former PM would now need to wait for the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, an ally of the Congress, to send him to the Rajya Sabha next month or until the next biennial elections in the Upper House in April 2020 when 54 MPs retire.

 

Five Rajya Sabha members from Tamil Nadu retire in July. The DMK, along with its allies, has the strength in the state legislature to get at least three elected to the Rajya Sabha. It has promised one seat to MDMK chief Vaiko.

However, sources said the DMK and the Congress have not had any discussions on the issue.

The Congress could also hope to send Dr Singh to the Upper House from Gujarat if elections to fill the two vacancies from the state take place together.

The vacancies are on account of two Bharatiya Janata Party Rajya Sabha members from Gujarat, Amit Anilchandra Shah and Smriti Zubin Irani, being elected to the Lok Sabha. Shah has debuted in the Lok Sabha from Gandhinagar while Irani is the Lok Sabha member from Amethi in Uttar Pradesh.

The Congress’s numbers in the Gujarat assembly would ensure the party wins one of the two seats, the other going to the BJP, if elections to the two seats are held jointly.

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