Congress Won’t Participate In TV Debates For A Month, In Crisis After Election Defeat

The Congress party has announced that it won’t participate in TV debates for over a month, amidst a huge internal crisis after Rahul Gandhi refused to continue as its chief following the poll results.

“The Congress has decided to not send spokespersons on television debates for a month,” the party’s spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said in a tweet on Thursday.

“All media channels/editors are requested to not place Congress representatives on their shows,” he added.

The tweet, to many, reflected the deep churning within the grand old party stunned by the scale of its defeat in the national election and its sharp decline across the country.

Congress leaders say the gag is meant to give the party time to sort out its mess and understand what went wrong, away from constant media speculation. Also, the party doesn’t want to be seen criticizing the BJP or Narendra Modi in debates, say sources.

The Congress was wiped out in 18 states and union territories and couldn’t win even in the states it won in December – Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh.On the other hand, the BJP led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi won 303 seats to win an incredible back-to-back majority, a feat previously achieved only by Congress icons like Jawaharlal Nehru and Indira Gandhi.

The worst cut of all was Rahul Gandhi’s defeat in his traditional Amethi constituency in Uttar Pradesh, where he had effortlessly won since 2004, when he debuted in politics.

If the Congress president had not contested from Kerala’s Wayanad and won, he would not have been in parliament. The party, with 52 seats in the 543-member Lok Sabha, does not even qualify for the post of Leader of Opposition, for which 55 seats is the prerequisite.

On Saturday, at a post-mortem of the party’s decimation, Rahul Gandhi announced his decision to quit and the Congress Working Committee, the party’s top decision-making body, rejected it.

The familiar ritual after every Congress election debacle did not follow the script this time; Rahul Gandhi has refused to change his mind about quitting and has not met any leader since Saturday apart from his mother Sonia Gandhi and sister Priyanka Gandhi Vadra.

The 48- year old reportedly asked the party to look for a new chief, a non- Gandhi. The Congress is debating ways of weathering this crisis – one option would be to have Rahul Gandhi lead the party in parliament.

A day after the national election result on May 23, Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav had also said that no channel should invite any of its leaders for debates.

“Received Message Loud And Clear” Says Smriti Irani To Rahul Gandhi After Death Of BJP Worker In Amethi

Smriti Irani after defeating Congress President Rahul Gandhi in Amethi said that she got his message to take-care-of-Amethi-with-love “loud and clear”. Irani’s response came after the killing of a BJP worker took place in Amethi late night on Saturday. He was an ex-village head and had worked closely with Ms Irani and had campaigned for her.

“On (May) 23, I was given a message that take care of Amethi with love. To the person, who gave me the message, I would like to say that I have received the message loud and clear,” she said, referring to Mr Gandhi’s remarks made on the counting day.

Last Thursday, as it became clear that he was losing Amethi, Rahul Gandhi and congratulated Ms. Irani “I want Smriti Irani jito keep people’s faith and take care of Amethi with love,” he told reporters in a brief press conference after the Congress’s massive defeat in the national election.

Smriti Irani rushed to Amethi from New Delhi on Sunday and took part in the funeral of Surendra Singh, a former head of Barauliya village who was shot outside his house. Scores of BJP supporter and locals gathered took part in the funeral as Ms Irani was seen carrying his bier on her shoulders amid chants of slogans by villagers.

Ms Irani asked party workers to exercise restraint. She said Surendra Singh was killed so that Amethi could be “terrorised, disintegrated and bowed down”. “The development will reach every household of Amethi in his (Surendra Singh”s) memory,” she said.

Smriti Irani said, if need be, she would approach the Supreme Court to ensure that Surendra Singh”s killers are given capital punishment.

Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath asked the state police chief to show results within 12 hours and the Lucknow police chief has been sent to oversee the investigation. Seven people have been taken into custody and they are being interrogated.

Smriti Irani won from Amethi over 55,000 votes, defeating Rahul Gandhi, its three-time lawmaker.

The dusty, largely rural constituency around 130 km from UP capital Lucknow, had been held by Mr Gandhi’s family almost continuously for the last four decades.

Kaun kehta hai aasmaa me surakh nahinho sakta(who says one can’t achieve the impossible),” Smriti Irani had quoted poet Dushyant Kumar in her tweet on her incredible win.

Election Results 2019: Rahul Gandhi, Smriti Irani Fight Tough Battle Facing Each Other

Congress President Rahul Gandhi is battling tough in Amethi, a constituency in Uttar Pradesh where he is representing since 2004. Following the early leads, Rahul Gandhi was behind the BJP’s Smriti Irani but he caught up later.

He is also contesting from Wayanad in Kerala, where he has been in the lead since morning.

Amethi, a dusty, largely rural constituency around 130 km from UP capital Lucknow, features one of the most watched battles in this national election.

Smriti Irani campaigned aggresively in Amethi, where she had contested and lost to Rahul Gandhi in 2014 but had managed to reduce his winning margin to one lakh. She kept visiting the constituency regularly and launched central schemes there.

Rahul Gandhi, his party’s chief campaigner across India, was accused by the BJP of neglecting his constituency.

At the height of the election campaign, the Congress president visited Amethi only once, when he held a roadshow before filing his nomination papers. His sister Priyanka Gandhi Vadra campaigned in Amethi and her mother Sonia Gandhi’s Raebareli and visited the constituencies several times.

Rahul Gandhi’s struggle was telling in his traditional seat, a Congress stronghold that has remained with the Gandhi family for decades.

The Congress has not lost the seat in the last three decades, except in 1998.