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Sunday,19-September-2021

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Ashok Gehlot may feel the heat after Congress loss in Rajasthan panchayat polls

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The Panchayat poll results in Rajasthan are considered a blow to Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot who has just survived internal rebellion in the state. The faction opposing him in the party is lying low since the truce but the rift still persists.

The Panchayat elections could have been a boon for Gehlot but in a close contest the BJP had the edge over the Congress. The Congress government has completed two years in power and within that time span the results say it all. Party insiders feel that the the feud between Sachin Pilot and Ashok Gehlot has cost the party dear which has not performed well.

The saffron party in Rajasthan bagged 1,911 seats in the recently held panchayat samiti elections while the Congress was limited to 1,781 seats.

The Independents gained 425 seats, the Bahujan Samaj Party got 3 seats while the CPI-M captured 16 seats and the RLP got 57, according to the state election commission website.

Results for 4,239 seats were announced out of the 4,371 with the counting still underway. The BJP managed to cross the majority mark on its own in 11 Zilla Parishads, winning 353 of the 636 Zilla Parishad seats as per the data published on the Rajasthan State Election Commission website.

The Congress has lost the Panchayat polls when the farmers agitation is at its peak in the country. The BJP is in a celebratory mood and party Chief JP Nadda thanked the voters for reposing faith in the party.

Prakash Javadekar, Union Minister for Information & Broadcasting, said this was a rural election with 2.5 crore voters and the party’s win indicates that farmers are pro-reforms on the farm laws.

Ahead of the polls, Ashok Gehlot had alleged that the BJP is trying to topple his government, and danger seems to be looming large as a rebellion is said to be brewing among a section of party leaders.

Even though the BJP has rejected the charge, party insiders say that things do not seem to be smooth after the rebellion by a section of the state Congress led by then Deputy CM and Rajasthan Congress unit chief Sachin Pilot in July this year. Sachin is lying low since his open rebellion against Gehlot’s leadership.

But now after the panchayat polls have been lost Gehlot will find it difficult to blame anybody else since he has been leading the state. The opposition faction may again try to take the matter to the Congress leadership.

In the 2019 general elections also, with Gehlot being the CM, the Congress had lost all the Lok Sabha seats in the state.

National News

Captain quits in Punjab, takes team along

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Just minutes ahead of the crucial Congress Legislative Party (CLP) meeting on Saturday, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh reached the Governor’s house and submitted his and his council of ministers resignation to him.

“CM @capt_amarinder has met Punjab Governor and submitted his and his council of ministers’ resignation,” the Chief Minister Media Advisor Raveen Thukral informed in a tweet.

Earlier in the day, the party’s high command is said to have conveyed to the Chief Minister to resign to enable the election of a new incumbent.

However, the Chief Minister ‘threatened’ to quit the party for being humiliated.

“Amarinder Singh spoke to Congress President Sonia Gandhi in the morning and told her he is being humiliated and he will resign from the party,” a close confidant of the Chief Minister, told IANS.

According to some senior party leaders, the high command has categorically asked Amarinder Singh to step down.

The minute-by-minute changing political development began at about 11.42 p.m. on Friday when Punjab Congress in-charge Harish Rawat tweeted about the decision to hold an urgent CLP meeting on Saturday.

Almost 10 minutes later state party chief Navjot Sidhu directed all the MLAs to be present at the CLP meeting.

The announcement by Rawat is being seen as an indication from the high command to appoint the new incumbent under whose helm the party will go to the Assembly polls, slated in March 2022.

Responding to the political developments, former state President Sunil Jakhar tweeted: “Kudos to Sh Rahul Gandhi for adopting Alexandrian solution to this Punjabi version of Gordian knot.”

“Surprisingly, this bold leadership decision to resolve Punjab Congress imbroglio has not only enthralled Congress workers but has sent shudders down the spines of Akalis.”

The decision to call the CLP comes in the wake of the fresh letter signed by a majority of legislators who expressed dissatisfaction with Amarinder Singh and demanding his removal from the Chief Minister’s post.

Meanwhile, AICC’s deputed party general secretary Ajay Maken and Harish Chowdhry reached Chandigarh as central observers for the Congress Legislative Party (CLP) meeting slated in the evening. State party in charge Harish Rawat is also reaching here.

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Former Union Minister Babul Supriyo joins Trinamool Congress

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Former union minister and BJP MP Babul Supriyo on Saturday joined West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s All India Trinamool Congress (AITC).

“Today, in the presence of National General Secretary Abhishek Banerjee and Rajya Sabha MP Derek O’Brien, former union minister and sitting MP Babul Supriyo joined the Trinamool family,” the official account of the AITC tweeted.

On July 31, Babul, also a playback singer, declared that he had quit politics and would soon resign as the MP too. He had cited a difference of opinion between him and the state BJP leaders, saying that it was “harming the party”.

“I will continue to work constitutionally as an MP in Asansol. Politics is beyond the constitutional post and I withdraw myself from it. I will not join any other party. I will vacate the MP bungalow in Delhi and release security personnel from their duties soon,” he was quoted saying.

A minister in the Narendra Modi Cabinet, Supriyo was dropped in a reshuffle that took place in the month of July. Post his leaving the saffron party, he had told media that if someone asks whether leaving the politics was somehow linked to losing ministry then he said that is true to some extent. He also added differences with the senior leadership since the assembly poll campaign as another reason.

It is yet to be seen whether Supriyo will resign from his Lok Sabha seat or leave it to the Bharatiya Janata Party to move the Speaker’s office for his disqualification post the latest move.

Earlier in the day, Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) reduced the security cover of Babul from Z to Y category, an official ministry said.

Having joined BJP in 2014, Babul Supriyo has been elected twice from Asansol.

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B’days will come and go, but yesterday was special: Modi

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Saturday that birthdays will come and go, but I will never forget my 71st birthday because of the nearly 2.5 crore vaccine jabs which the country administered, marking a new feat against the Covid-19 pandemic.

Speaking during a virtual interaction with health workers, ruling politicians, administrative officials and a cross section of people from Goa, Modi also said that by clocking the record vaccinations in a single day, India has shown the world the depths of its ability, adding that Indians should boast about the achievement with pride.

“But due to all your efforts, yesterday was a special day for me. Birthdays will come and go, but I will never forget yesterday. I cannot thank you all enough,” Modi said.

“Many birthdays have come and gone. But I have kept away from these things (birthday celebrations). But in all my years, yesterday was a very emotional day for me,” the Prime Minister added.

Breaking down Friday’s nationwide statistics, Modi said that 15 lakh vaccines were administered every hour, 26,000 every minute and 425 doses given every second at the more than 1 lakh inoculation centres across the country.

“Because of your efforts, yesterday, India in one day, vaccinated 2.5 crore people, creating a record. Bigger and developed countries in the world have not been able to achieve this fear.

“I noticed yesterday as to how the country was watching the Cowin dashboard in anticipation,” Modi said.

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