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Thursday,06-August-2020

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Sachin Pilot incommunicado, Congress trying for truce to save Rajasthan government

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With Rajasthan Deputy Chief Minister Sachin Pilot in Delhi to meet Congress high command and his camp claiming support of 25 MLAs, the Congress is trying to pacify factions led by him and Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot to save itself more embarrassment as well as the party’s government in the state, sources said on Sunday.

The MLAs from the Pilot camp are said to be lodged at different places, with about a dozen at ITC Grand in Gurugram, and a few others are at ITC Maurya in Delhi.

Meanwhile, Sachin Pilot has gone incommunicado since he is not taking phone calls from any Congress leader, including his friends in the party.

Sources said he spoke with Congress Treasurer Ahmed Patel late Saturday night, adding that the Congress was trying to pacify both the camps to save the party from embarrassment.

On the other hand, the Gehlot camp claims that the Chief Minister has the support of 103 MLAs and his government the required numbers in the state Assembly.

An earlier report had said that Deputy Chief Minister Sachin Pilot had arrived in Delhi on Saturday to meet party high command and had sought an appointment with Congress interim President Sonia Gandhi.

According to the sources, MLA P.R. Meena, considered to be from the Pilot group, had sought to meet Sonia Gandhi to apprise her of the “stepmotherly treatment given to them by the Ashok Gehlot government in Rajasthan”.

Meanwhile, Chief Minister Gehlot called a meeting of his Ministers at his official residence in Jaipur late Saturday and asked all party MLAs to give a letter of support to him. Senior ministers have been roped in this regard.

However, ministers from the Pilot camp did not attend this meeting.

Gehlot, sources said, has spoken with Sonia Gandhi, Rajasthan party affairs incharge Avinash Pandey, and Congress General Secretary (Organisation) K.C. Venugopal to apprise them of developments in his state.

National News

Bihar seat sharing formula to be finalized soon: Rahul Gandhi

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New Delhi: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi addresses a special party briefing via video conferencing in New Delhi during the fourth phase of the nationwide lockdown imposed to mitigate the spread of coronavirus, on May 26, 2020. (Photo: IANS)

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi has held a meeting with party workers of Bihar through video conferencing where he told them that the situation due to Covid-19 is pathetic and unemployment is rising in the country. He said that the Congress should prepare for the elections in the state with “positivity”.

Rahul Gandhi in his speech said that a seat sharing formula with alliance partners will be finalized in 15 to 20 days and asked Congress leaders to respect the allies and their leaders, sources said.

For the seat sharing formula, Congress state in-charge Shakti Singh Gohil will travel this week to Bihar to hold talks with all the stakeholders, Rahul told the party workers.

Leader in the Bihar Assembly Sadanand Singh requested Rahul Gandhi to finalise the alliances soon so that they get time to prepare for the elections. Many Congress leaders including former Minister Shakiluzzaman Ansari raised the issue of outsiders being given party tickets and asked the leadership to give tickets only to dedicated party workers in the wake of the recent rebellions in many states, said sources.

The Congress is set to contest the Bihar assembly elections in alliance with the RJD and other non-NDA constituents.

Chief National Media Coordinator of the Congress, Sanjiv Singh said that over 1000 Congress workers participated in the virtual meeting.

He said, “Rahulji said that he will be present in Bihar as and when the state unit desires.”

But the Congress has a tough task ahead on seat adjustment with the RJD which had bulldozed the Congress in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections when Kirti Azad had to contest from Dhanbad in Jharkhand and Shakil Ahmed fought as an Independent.

In the 2015 Assembly elections, the RJD, JDU and the Congress contested the polls together and won handsomely. But the JDU later went over to the BJP.

There are about 100 seats which were contested by the JDU which are yet to be distributed amongst the alliance partners and the Congress too wants a major chunk from the pie, but sources say that the party may settle for 70 seats.

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National News

Gujarat CM Vijay Rupani orders probe in hospital fire which claimed 8 lives

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Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani, on Thursday ordered a probe into the fire incident at a Ahmedabad Covid hospital which claimed eight lives on Thursday morning.

The Chief Minister ordered the Additional Chief Secretary (ACS), Home Sangeeta Singh and ACS Urban Development Mukesh Puri to submit a report within 3 days.

The CM has also announced an aid of Rs 4 lakh to the next of the kin of the deceased and Rs 50,000 to those injured, from the CM relief fund.

A major fire in the ICU ward of a private dedicated Covid hospital in Ahmedabad claimed the lives of eight patients, including 5 men and 3 women in the wee hours on Thursday. The fire broke out in the ICU ward of ‘Shrey hospital’, a dedicated Covid-19 hospital in Navrangpura area in Ahmedabad at around 3 a.m. on Thursday.

The prime Minister Narendra Modi has also expressed his condolences for the tragic incident and had a telephonic conversation with the Gujarat CM and Ahmedabad Mayor.

The prime minister tweeted, “Saddened by the tragic hospital fire in Ahmedabad. Condolences to the bereaved families. May the injured recover soon. Spoke to CM @ vijayrupanibjp Ji and Mayor @ibijalpatel Ji regarding the situation. Administration is providing all possible assistance to the affected.”

The PMO has also announced a compensation of Rs 2 lakh for the victim’s families and Rs 50,000 for the injured.

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National News

Congress has always towed the soft Hindutva line: Pinarayi Vijayan

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Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Wednesday took pot shots on the Congress over its stand on the Bhumi Pujan ceremony in Ayodhya to start construction of the Ram temple.

Vijayan said the statement of party General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi, welcoming the event, is the least surprising as top Congress leaders, including Prime Ministers Rajiv Gandhi and P.V. Narashima Rao had a similar stand.

“If they had taken a proper stand on real secularism, then things would have been different for the country. The Congress has always towed the soft Hindutva line. Just look at Ayodhya, the Congress has done everything and even when the Babri Masjid was demolished, Rao remained silent. It’s best not to speak of such things now,” he said.

On Wednesday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi performed the Bhumi Pujan for Ram temple in Ayodhya, laying its first brick.

Priyanka Gandhi, in her statement, said that “this programme with blessings of Lord Ram and his teachings should become a symbol of national unity, brotherhood and cultural amalgamation”.

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