Congress Denies Demanding Of Front Row Seat For Rahul Gandhi In Lok Sabha

The Congress dismissing media reports talking about said on Tuesday that it has not demanded a front-row seat for Rahul Gandhi in the Lok Sabha. It has called the contrary as “propaganda”.

The clarification came after media reports claimed the government has ignored the Congress party’s demand for an additional front-row seat in the Lok Sabha.

According to the report, the Congress was given only two seats in the first row for party leaders Sonia Gandhi and Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury.

“We have proposed seat no. 466 for Rahul Gandhi ji. Desist from false propaganda,” Congress leader in the Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury clarified.

The number of front row seats a party gets in the Lok Sabha depends on its strength in the House.

Rahul Gandhi recently announced his resignation, assuming responsibility for the Congress’ defeat in the 2019 general election, wherein it only won 52 of the 543 Lok Sabha seats. No announcement of the former party president’s successor has been made.

This comes after the Congress, in much turmoil in Karnataka, protested in the Parliament on Tuesday, in which Gandhi was also seen raising slogans. Several legislators of the Congress-JD(S) coalition have resigned, leading to a massive political crisis in the state.

The former Congress president is set to visit Amethi, the Congress bastion he lost to BJP’s Smriti Irani, for the first since the election on Wednesday.

Rahul Gandhi Pleads Not Guilty In Gauri Lankesh Murder- RSS Defamation Case

Congress Leader Rahul Gandhi on appearing before a Mumbai court on Thursday pleaded not guilty in a defamation case for linking activist Gauri Lankesh murder with BJP- RSS ideology.

He has been released on ₹15,000 surety amount with ex-MP Eknath Gaikwad giving surety for the Gandhi scion, reported ANI.

Rahul and CPM general secretary Sitaram Yechury appeared before a Mumbai court in connection with a defamation case filed against them in 2017 for allegedly linking Gauri Lankesh’s murder with “BJP-RSS ideology”.

The Mazgaon metropolitan magistrate’s court, in February, issued summons to Gandhi and CPI(M) leader Sitaram Yechury in response to a private complaint filed by Dhrutiman Joshi, a lawyer and worker of the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS).

Joshi had filed the complaint in 2017 against Rahul Gandhi, the then Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, the Communist Party of India (Marxist) and its general secretary Yechury.

Lankesh was shot dead outside her house in Bengaluru in September 2017, allegedly by members of a right-wing extremist group.

Joshi alleged that within 24 hours of her death, Rahul Gandhi told reporters that “anybody who speaks against the ideology of the BJP, against the ideology of the RSS, is pressured, beaten, attacked and even killed.”

The complaint also alleged that Yechury stated that it was the RSS’ ideology and RSS people who killed the journalist who was known for trenchant criticism of right-wing politics.

The court issued summons against Rahul Gandhi and Yechury but dismissed the complaint against Sonia Gandhi and the CPM, saying a party cannot be held liable for comments made by individuals.

There are five different cases for which Rahul will have to appear in courts across the country to defend statements he made against BJP and RSS while campaigning for the Lok Sabha polls.

Rahul will next appear before a Patna court on July 6 in connection with a defamation case filed against him by deputy chief minister Sushil Kumar Modi for asking “why all thieves have Modi as their title (surnames)”.

Rahul will appear before an Ahmedabad court on July 9 for his “murder accused” reference to BJP chief Amit Shah, while on July 12, he will appear before another Gujarat court in criminal defamation suits filed by the Ahmedabad District Cooperative Bank and its chairman. On July 24, Rahul is scheduled to appear before a Surat court, for allegedly defaming the entire Modi community by saying all “Modis are thieves”.

Vivek Tankha Exits, Congress Crisis Continue After Rahul’s Refusal As Chief

The Congress party’s troubles are still ongoing which had begun with a defeat in the Lok Sabha elections followed by the refusal of Rahul Gandhi to continue as party chief.

A day after senior Congress leader and advocate Vivek Tankha quit from the post of chairperson of the All India Congress Committee’s (AICC) legal human rights and RTI department, sources in the party said more heads were likely to roll. Ahead of the Congress Working Committee (CWC) meeting, sources said all department heads could step down, signalling a leadership crisis in the party.

The Congress has been embroiled in a crisis since Rahul Gandhi expressed his desire to step down from his post though the CWC, in a meeting on May 25, turned down his proposal. While several leaders have called upon Rahul Gandhi to continue as party chief, the Wayanad MP has remained firm.

On Thursday, Rahul Gandhi said he took the decision to ensure accountability for the party’s Lok Sabha poll debacle and there was no question of going back on it. “I have resigned after taking full responsibility and ensuring accountability for the party’s defeat in the Lok Sabha elections. I cannot ask others to resign too. It is up to them if they want to take responsibility,” he told the leaders.

However, in private, he has expressed his anger and disgust with many leaders who continue to cling to their posts. When youth Congress volunteers met him, Rahul Gandhi told them, “No one resigned.”

Tankha is the first to do so and he has made a smart move. Realising that there was no way Rahul Gandhi would take back his resignation and with his anger mounting at leaders doing nothing about accepting responsibility, some leaders have realised that giving up their posts could endear themselves to Rahul Gandhi and they may have a future then within the Congress.

Ahead of the CWC meeting, resignations by leaders would show they do not want to cling to their posts. This could redeem them in the Congress chief’s eyes. Even if Rahul Gandhi does not retain his post, his stamp and influence is bound to hang on and if he does stay on, these people could be part of his team.

When Sonia Gandhi stayed away from politics post Rajiv Gandhi’s assassination and Kesri had begun to build his team, many like Anand Sharma stuck on with former. This explains why Sharma continues to enjoy a special place. Loyalty pays and many who resign are hoping it would do the same for them in future.

Prior To Session, Confusion Persists In Congress Over ‘Party President’ Post

With the Parliament session getting underway on Monday, the confusion is still continued in the Congress ranks created by Rahul Gandhi’s announcement of quitting the party as its president.

As Rahul continued to stay away from public glare, senior MPs Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury and K Suresh, represented the Lok Sabha wing of Congress in the customary all-party meeting on the eve of the session.

While there has been no announcement yet from Congress on who would be the party leader and deputy leader in the lower House, the presence of senior MPs from West Bengal and Kerala in the meeting triggered speculations.

However, Congressmen said a formal announcement was awaited, in what appeared an attempt to tamp down speculation. Besides the two, Shashi Tharoor, Manish Tewari and Gaurav Gogoi are also in contention.

Over 20 days after Rahul announced his intent to quit, Congress is still groping for an answer to the crisis, with many calling it a vacuum. An alternative mechanism, with Rahul heading a collegium of CWC leaders for decisionmaking, is the latest to emerge from the party. But the possibility of a new president just refuses to end in the wake of party’s failure to put an end to the speculations.

On Sunday, AICC general secretary Mukul Wasnik was the subject of intense commentary amid reports that he is the likely candidate to head the party.

With none in a position to confirm or deny the chatter on social media, Wasnik became the hot story on the day the government and the opposition prepared to start fresh innings in 17th Lok Sabha that would be overwhelmingly dominated by BJP.

It was said Rahul Gandhi would return from his foreign sojourn and attend Parliament on Monday, which would start with oath-taking of new members.

Rahul stopped meeting party leaders after he blamed the election debacle on veterans who he said did not pull their weight behind the party. He announced his intent to quit at the CWC meeting two days after the LS poll results.

Now, all eyes are on how the leadership issue pans out. While last week Congress officially claimed that “Rahul was, is, and will remain” the party president, insiders said he was still to give a clear indication.

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.

Rahul Gandhi Insists On Quitting, CWC Likely To Hold Meeting In Four Days

Following the poll defeat, the Congress is now in some deep trouble with party president Rahul Gandhi insisting on quitting the post amidst lined up resignations pending. This may likely lead to a meeting of its highest decision-making body, the Congress Working Committee (CWC), in the next four days.

Amid indications that the party was considering a presidium system for taking it forward, the CWC is likely to discuss the leadership issue, sources said on Monday.

It is learnt that Rahul Gandhi has conveyed that he has not changed his mind to quit.

UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi and party general secretary Priyanka Gandhi are also learnt to have come to terms with his view that there should be a change of guard, though they have been of the view that the blame for defeat cannot be put on one person.

During the day, party treasurer Ahmed Patel and general secretary K. C. Venugopal met Rahul and tried to persuade him not to press for his exit from the post.

However, Patel later said that he had gone to meet Rahul for routine administrative work.

“I had sought time before the CWC to meet the Congress President to discuss routine administrative work. The meeting today was in that context. All other speculation is incorrect and baseless,” Patel tweeted.

Sources said the CWC, the party’s top decision-making body, is also likely to look at the structural reforms needed by the party.

There is also a view in the Congress that Gandhi is sending a clear message to the old guard by holding out because there should be full freedom in decision-making.

Sources said Rahul Gandhi did not give appointment to Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot in an apparent snub to him. The Congress President was not keen on Gehlot seeking ticket for his son. Gandhi is also learnt to have declined other appointments including of newly-eleced MPs who wanted to see him.

The Congress is also believed to be considering a presidium system, as resignations pile up amid a deepening crisis.

Gandhi had offered to resign taking moral responsibility for the party’s defeat but the Congress Working Committee at its meeting on Saturday unanimously rejected the offer.

Meanwhile, three more state party chiefs have tendered their resignations, taking the total number to six.

Congress party chiefs of Jharkhand, Assam and Punjab have also resigned in addition to those from Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh and Odisha. Karanataka Pradesh Campaign Committee chairman H. K. Patil has also resigned.

Punjab Congress chief Sunil Jhakar, who was the sitting MP from Gurdaspur, sent his resignation to Congress President Rahul Gandhi taking moral responsibility for losing to actor Sunny Deol from the seat. The Congress has generally done well in Punjab winning eight of 13 seats

Jharkhand Congress chief Ajoy Kumar has also tendered his resignation. The party won only one seat in the state where it had an alliance with the JMM, RJD and other parties.

While the party won Singhbhum seat, it lost Khunti by only 1,445 votes and Lohardaga by 10,363 votes.

The party’s Assam unit chief Ripun Bora also wrote to Gandhi taking moral responsibility for the party not being able to increase its tally from its previous tally of three seats. He has said in his letter that Gandhi may choose to replace him.

Maharashtra unit chief Ashok Chavan, Uttar Pradesh unit chief Raj Babbar, and Odisha Congress chief Niranjan Patnaik have already sent their resignations.

Yogendra Misra, the district Congress chief in Amethi in Uttar Pradesh has also sent his resignation, owning moral responsibility for Rahul Gandhi’s defeat from Amethi.

Senior Leaders Propose To Create Post For Congress Working President As Buffer For Rahul Gandhi

A proposal for creating a post of Congress working president as a buffer for Gandhi has been floated by some senior leaders of the party. The Congress Working Committee has given powers to party president Rahul Gandhi to restructure the leadership after the poll results.

Gandhi, after CWC members told him their collective view that he continue as party chief, is also being persuaded to set up a committee to study the reasons for the defeat and to come out with a set of proposals for a productive action plan. The rider is that the committee’s proposals — unlike in the past — should be placed before a full CWC meeting for collective deliberation.

A party working president at 24, Akbar Road headquarters of Congress could, these leaders feel, besides assisting the party chief, spare Rahul a part of the day-today work so that he can focus on travelling across the states for organisational work as the party now requires a major organisational re-building after its pan-India collapse, barring Kerala and Punjab.

An acknowledged leader from outside Gandhi family as working president can also give the “right message”, given the party’s top leadership currently has the largest ever representation from the Gandhi family –– Rahul as president, Sonia Gandhi as CPP chief and Priyanka Gandhi as AICC general secretary.

While maintaining it is up to Rahul to take a final decision, they pointed out that Indira Gandhi had appointed senior leader Kamalapati Tripathi as working president after the Congress’ debacle in the south in 1983, in the runup to the next general elections.

Later, the then party chief Rajiv Gandhi made Arjun Singh Congress vice president amid the then PM’s worsening ties with Tripathi. Though the Jaipur AICC session appointed Rahul as vice president in 2013, it was more of setting the motion for the transition phase of the son taking over from the mother as party chief. Incidentally, Rahul has appointed working presidents in many PCCs as his way of “strengthening collective leadership”, they pointed out.

The move comes amid efforts in the top leadership to project a united face and to shield Gandhi’s leadership. Gandhi offering his resignation at the CWC meet and persisting with it coincided with increasing in-house murmurs after the debacle on his political and campaign approach.

Incidentally, Sonia had for days insisted on quitting when her leadership was questioned by Sharad Pawar and Co in 1999, making the entire CWC and party workers to repeatedly plead with her to carry on.

The CWC’s “unanimous and emotional” rejection of Rahul’s resignation offer and Priyanka Gandhi maintaining that no one individual should take the full blame for the defeat and exhorting her brother to carry on are seen as signals of the top party body and the family working in the same direction.

Moreover, they know that if Gandhi flopped, so did all others — except Kerala and Punjab leaders. While family loyalists insist only Gandhi has a “pan-India appeal and the ability to keep the Congress united”, some whisper that those leaders “with challenger potential” have long been “cordoned off” from the party or its central leadership.

Yet, Gandhi and AICC will have to, for two main reasons, prop up a fresh team –– both at the AICC and in many PCCs –– to face the gruelling tasks of the next five years as most of ‘young Team RG’ members have proved to be completely apolitical and ineffective, and many of the seasoned senior Congress leaders are by now increasingly exhausted and ageing.

“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.