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Manmohan Singh wanted to step down, make Rahul PM: Congress leader

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Congress leader Shaktisinh Gohil on Wednesday claimed that during UPA-II, then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had offered Rahul Gandhi his place as he wanted to step down due to health issues.

However, Rahul Gandhi turned down the proposal and requested Manmohan Singh to complete his term, he said at a press conference in response to a question on party General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi’s expressed willingness to work under non-Gandhi Congress chief.

“This is the graciousness of the Gandhi family… they don’t hanker after power. Sonia Gandhi refused to become Prime Minister in 1991 and then in 2004 and Rahul Gandhi declined the offer during UPA-II,” Gohil said.

Asked when Manmohan Singh made the offer, he responded that it was widely reported in the media.

The Congress leader’s comment came in the wake of a claim made in book “India Tomorrow: Conversations with the Next Generation of Political Leaders” by Pradeep Chibber and Harsh Shah.

The book says Priyanka Gandhi was ready to work under a non-Gandhi President after Rahul Gandhi’s resignation following the party’s rout in the 2019 general elections.

“If there were to be another party President, he would be my boss. If he tells me tomorrow that he doesn’t want me in Uttar Pradesh but wants me to be in Andaman and Nicobar (Islands), then I would jolly well go to Andaman and Nicobar,” she had said, as per the book.

Rahul Gandhi had also said that the party should elect a President from outside the Gandhi family, but in August last year, Sonia Gandhi was appointed as the interim President of the Congress.

However, the Congress downplayed Priyanka Gandhi’s purported remarks, and charged the BJP with stoking the issue.

“We, at INC India, appreciate the sudden media interest (egged on by BJP) in a year old remark (dated July 1, 2019) of Priyanka Gandhi Vadra,” party’s chief spokesperson, Randeep Singh Surjewala, said in a statement.

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Priyanka Gandhi Vadra spoke to Sachin Pilot: Ajay Maken

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Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra has spoken to Sachin Pilot, party leader Ajay Maken said this on Friday dispelling rumours that ‘no leader was engaging with Pilot’.

Sources have said that party interim President Sonia Gandhi ‘is likely to intervene’ to resolve the deadlock between the Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and Pilot.

Ajay Maken Congress General Secretary In-charge of Rajasthan said, “Priyanka Gandhiji and I have spoken to Sachin Pilotji. As he is senior leader of the party and asset, so it’s impossible if he seeks appointment he will be denied, K.C. Venugopal has also spoken to him.”

The MLAs and the Pilot camp in particular have been pressurizing the Congress leadership for cabinet expansion and appointments in board and corporations in Rajasthan. They allege all this is being stalled by the Chief Minister’s camp.

Pilot was in Delhi last week and even toured Uttarakhand to meet his supporters where he attacked the BJP.

Maken had said last week, “Vacant positions in the cabinet, boards and commissions would be filled soon and we are in talks with all.”

He said that all other pending issues will also be taken up.

When asked if senior party leader Sachin Pilot is angry, the former Union Minister said, “I am speaking to Pilotji on a regular basis. If he would have been angry, he would not be speaking to me.”

Pilot has raked up the issue of non-resolution of commitments made to him.

“It has now been 10 months. I was given to understand that there would be swift action by the committee, but now half of the term is done, and those issues haven’t been resolved. It is unfortunate that so many of the party workers who worked and gave their all for getting us the mandate are not being heard,” Pilot had said.

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Tamil Nadu CM M.K. Stalin meets Sonia Gandhi and Rahul

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Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M.K. Stalin on Friday met Congress interim Chief Sonia Gandhi and party leader Rahul Gandhi here for the first time after the Assembly poll results were declared on May 2.

Stalin had met Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday.

The DMK leader along with his wife arrived at the residence of Sonia Gandhi on Friday morning at 10 Janpath.

During the meeting, Rahul Gandhi was also present.

The meeting lasted for over 40 minutes.

Party sources said that the leaders discussed several issues for the development of the state.

After the meeting, Rahul Gandhi took to Twitter and wrote, “Congress President Sonia Gandhi and I had the pleasure of meeting Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M.K. Stalin and Durgavathy Stalin earlier today. We will keep working with the DMK to build a strong and prosperous state for the Tamil people.”

The Congress had contested the Tamil Nadu Assembly polls in alliance with the DMK.

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Former TDP MLA Philip C. Tocher joins YSRCP

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Former Telugu Desam Party (TDP) Christian minority leader Philip C. Tocher has joined Andhra Pradesh’s ruling Yuvajana Sramika Rythu Congress Party (YSRCP).

Tocher joined YSRCP in the presence of party founder and Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy on Thursday at his camp office.

The former MLA was accompanied by YSRCP MLC Lella Appi Reddy and party leaders Kathera Suresh and Kathera Henry Christina.

Back in January, Tocher resigned from the TDP, accusing party supremo Nara Chandrababu Naidu for his remarks on the Christian community.

He was with TDP since its inception in 1983 and went on to be nominated as the Anglo-Indian MLA during the TDP regime from 2014 to 2019.

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