General Politics

Rahul era begins in Congress, impact clear in party reshuffle

Rahul-GandhiNew Delhi, June 24 :  The era of Rahul Gandhi, 43, has begun in the 127-year-old Congress with his stamp clear on the recent party reshuffle that saw the induction of 30 younger leaders as All India Congress Committee
(AICC) secretaries who are set to play a more active role in the organisation, party sources said.

"Rahul Gandhi's era has begun in the Congress. His impact is clearly visible in the recent AICC reshuffle," said a senior Congress leader who did not wish to be named..

Kerry visit to revive momentum in Indo-US ties

John-KerryNew Delhi, June 22 : US Secretary of State John Kerry arrives in India Sunday on a three-day visit for the fourth India-US Strategic Dialogue, his first visit to this country after assuming charge of the State Department in February. The visit is the first major high-level engagement between the two sides in US President Barack Obama's second innings and will seek to dispel misgivings about stagnation in ties.

Independent legislators eye cabinet berth in Bihar

Nitish-KumarPatna, June 21 : Four independent legislators, who helped the Nitish Kumar government survive a trust vote on the floor of the Bihar assembly, are now eyeing a place in the cabinet.

A day after Nitish Kumar met Governor D. Y. Patil, speculations are rife about a possible cabinet expansion.

"Nitish Kumar met governor and had dinner with him late Thursday night. It was a one-to-one discussion that assumes much significance as it took place four days after JD-U dumped BJP," a Janata Dal-United (JD-U) leader said.

According to JD-U leaders close to Nitish Kumar, some reallocation of portfolio is on cards.

Palestinians should have a state as a right: Blair

tony-blairJerusalem, June 19 : Palestinians "should have a state, not as a reward for good behaviour but as a right", Tony Blair, the official envoy of the Middle East Quartet, said Wednesday.

Blair cautioned Israeli leaders that the "window of opportunity" for peace with the Palestinians might close shortly, Xinhua reported.

"Some say the two-state solution is a fantasy. The fantasy is thinking one-state is sustainable or consistent with Israeli values," Blair said at the Fifth Presidential Conference hosted by Israeli President Shimon Peres.

Ahead of vote, Nitish confident of proving majority

Nitish-KumarPatna, June 18 : Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar is confident of proving his majority in the assembly Wednesday after dumping the BJP as an ally, party leaders said Tuesday.

Janata Dal-United (JD-U) leaders said Nitish Kumar was "calm and cool" and spent the day in office Tuesday, not worried about the trust vote in the 243-seat legislature.

Soon after the JD-U ended its 17-year-old alliance with the Bharatiya Janata Party Sunday, the chief minister vowed to seek a vote of confidence at a special session of the state assembly Wednesday.

BJP strife like civil war on reality TV: Tewari

Manish-TewariNew Delhi, June 18 : The internal strife in the BJP is like a "civil war playing out on reality television", Information and Broadcasting Minister Manish Tewari said Tuesday, in a dig at the national opposition party.

"What is happening in the BJP is their internal matter. It is a civil war situation playing out like reality television," said the minister when asked to comment on Bharatiya Janata Party strongman and Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi going to meet party veteran L. K. Advani who has not shied from displaying his reservations against Modi's elevation in the party.

The musical chairs in council of ministers

Manmohan-SinghNew Delhi, June 17 : Eight new ministers were inducted into Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's team Monday in the fourth major reshuffle of the cabinet and the council of ministers.

The first cabinet appointments of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA), led by the Congress, were made May 23, 2009, when seven cabinet ministers were appointed. Another 30 ministers were inducted May 28, 2009.

Since then, there have been six railway ministers, five ministers for water resources and four law and justice ministers.

Narendra Modi no threat to us: PM

Manmohan-SinghNew Delhi, June 17 : Prime Minister Singh Monday said BJP leader and Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi is not a "threat" to the Congress as people know what he "stands for".

"(He is) No threat to us. People of India know what Modi stands for," he said to queries about the Gujarat chief minister, who was appointed the head of the Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) election campaign committee at the party's national executive meet in Goa.

Mallikarjun Kharge new railways minister

Mallikarjun-KhargeNew Delhi, June 17 : Congressman Mallikarjun Kharge will be the new Railways minister while Rajasthan MP Girija Vyas will replace Ajay Maken as the housing and poverty alleviation minister.

The labour ministry will go to Sisram Ola. Oscar Fernandes will be the minister for road transport and highways, official sources said.

Manikrao Gavit will be the minister of state for social justice and empowerment, Santosh Chowdhary minister of state for health and E. M. S. Natchiappan will be minister of state for commerce and industry.

UPA will get a third term: PM

Manmohan-SinghNew Delhi, June 17 : Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Monday said he is confident that the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) will get a third term.

“I have always believed that we will have a third go as UPA and the people will again repose their faith in us,” the prime minister said in a tweet Monday shortly after eight new union ministers were sworn in at Rashtrapati Bhavan.

This is the second term in government for the Congress-led UPA. The next Lok Sabha polls are scheduled for 2014.

Congress willing to align with like-minded, secular parties: Maken

Ajay-MakenNew Delhi, June 17 : The Congress is watching carefully the political situation in Bihar where the JD-U and BJP parted ways and is willing to align with "likeminded and secular" parties, newly-appointed party general secretary Ajay Maken said Monday.

Maken, in his first press conference after taking over his powerful party post, also said the Congress party was set to play "a major role in Bihar".

Modi elevation not my concern: Rahul

rahul-gandhi1Badgam (Jammu and Kashmir), June 15 : Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi said Saturday that the elevation of Narendra Modi as the election campaign chief of the BJP did not concern him.

Describing it was an internal matter of the Bharatiya Janata Party, Gandhi told the media here: "It is really not my concern. My concern is how the Congress is doing and how we are doing in different states. What are the different types of action we are taking to benefit the people."

Nitish Kumar poaching legislators: Lalu Prasad

Lalu-PrasadPatna, June 15 : RJD chief Lalu Prasad Saturday accused Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar of poaching legislators from other parties amid indications of ties snapping between the JD-U and the BJP, the ruling coalition partners.

"He is poaching MLAs (legislators) from other parties," Lalu Prasad said at a press conference here.

The Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) chief also accused Nitish Kumar of being disloyal and said he was parting ways from the BJP to attract Muslim voters.

"He is not loyal... he is opposing Narendra Modi to attract Muslim voters," said Lalu Prasad.

Left opposition says Chandy must go

Oommen-ChandyThiruvananthapuram, June 15 : Kerala's Left opposition Saturday sought the resignation of Chief Minister Oommen Chandy Saturday over the contact that members of his staff maintained with a woman who has been arrested in a cheating case.

Saturday was the fourth day that the matter was being raised by members of the opposition.

A TV channel Saturday carried a one-hour interview with Biju Radhakrishnan, who had been in a live-in relationship with the arrested woman, Saritha S. Nair. Radhakrishnan confirmed that his former partner had maintained contacts with two members of the chief minister's office.

Congress detractors' noises hardly bother Hooda

Bhupinder-Singh-HoodaChandigarh, June 15 : Barbs aplenty on a variety of issues have for long been hurled at Bhupinder Singh Hooda but the Haryana chief minister of eight years doesn't seem to care a fig.

From apparent discrimination against southern Haryana vis-a-vis Hooda's home district Rohtak on the development front to rising crimes against Dalits, prominent Congress leaders have been raising issues against their own party's government but have not been able to make much headway.

Akali Dal has no issues with BJP's PM candidate

Sukhbir-Singh-BadalAmritsar, June 14 : At a time when the Janata Dal-United seems all set to leave the NDA over the issue of prominence to Narendra Modi, the BJP's oldest ally, the Shiromani Akali Dal, Friday said it has no issues over the BJP's prime ministerial candidate.

Interacting with media here, Akali Dal president and Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal said his party "would go with the NDA as far as the choice of PM is concerned".

Badal rubbished all talk about a third front, saying that this was only an imaginary exercise.

BJP asks JD-U not to run down Modi

M-Venkaiah-NaiduHyderabad, June 13 : Bharatiya Janata Party leader M. Venkaiah Naidu Thursday asked Janata Dal-United leaders not to make derogatory remarks against his party colleague and Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi.

He said the derogatory and uncharitable remarks against Modi would not help the Janata Dal-United (JD-U) or the country. "You will only be making our opponents happy. Please follow the coalition dharma," he said while addressing a news conference here.

Iran's supreme leader calls for high turnout in poll

Ayatollah-Ali-KhameneiTehran, June 12 : Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei Wednesday called for high turnout in the upcoming presidential vote, reported Xinhua citing the semi-official Fars news agency.

High public turnout in the election will enable the next president to stand firm and strong against enemies, Khamenei was quoted as saying.

"The international scene is not the scene of hesitation and shyness and the more you show weakness and withdraw, the more the enemies will move forward," he said, persuading people to decisively cast their ballot.

Nitish and Navin positive on federal front: Mamata

mamata-banerjeeKolkata, June 12 : Two days after urging all non-Congress and non-BJP regional parties to form a federal front for next year's Lok Sabha polls, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee Wednesday said she has spoken to her Bihar and Odisha counterparts who have reacted positively to her proposal.

Banerjee who is also the Trinamool Congress chief, was speaking after meeting Janata Dal-United leader K. C. Tyagi at the state secretariat here.

Modi's elevation tipping point for Indian politics

Narendra-ModiThe controversial BJP decision to elevate hardliner Narendra Modi to run the party’s campaign in 2014 elections and ruthlessly sideline a leader such as L. K. Advani is bound to damage its image, but let us not forget that it is a decisive victory for the RSS, which forced BJP President Rajnath Singh, from behind the scenes, to go ahead with the drastic step.

Hardline groups such as RSS, Shiv Sena and Vishwa Hindu Parishad have been waiting in the wings for decades to somehow harden the BJP’s Hindu nationalist image by encouraging leaders like Modi to lead the party campaigns and also the party.

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