Congress continues to face alliance challenges
As the General elections draw closer Rahul Gandhi-led Congress is facing resistance from existing and potential alliance partners. Congress attempts at putting together an effective Mahagathbandhan has failed. Congress was hoping for a seat-sharing deal with the BSP-SP alliance in U.P, but that too has failed, with Mayawati clearly stating they did not require the Congress to sacrifice the 7 seats earlier announced in favour of the alliance. Mayawati was categorical is stating the Congress was free to fight in all seats in the state.
Similar voices of resistance are coming out of Bihar where Lalu Prasad is reportedly playing hardball with Congress offering just 8 seats instead of the earlier discussed 14 and 11 seats.
UP CM Yogi Adityanath meets the press with ‘decline in riots’ claim
U.P Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath along with his deputies Keshav Prasad Maurya and Dinesh Sharma met with the media to review his government’s performance since taking office. NDTV reports the CM claimed an improved law and order situation in the state and backed it with figures to show a decline in communal riots.
He said there were over 200+ deaths recorded each year between 2012 and 2015, and 100+ deaths in 2016. He, however, said there had been no communal riots, no kidnappings or acid attacks under the BJP government.
It may be recalled, the state had witnessed mob violence, including the lynching of a police officer in Bulandshahr, over the discovery of a cow carcass. Earlier in 2017, Kairana in western U.P had witnessed communal riots leading to mass exodus of a minority community.
NCP supremo Sharad Pawar plays peace broker between AAP and Congress
NCP leader Sharad Pawar is not contesting the Lok Sabha elections but is busy trying to bring various parties to unite against a well-entrenched BJP. The Hindustan Times reported on Rahul Gandhi visiting the senior NCP leader’s residence along with senior Congressman Mallikarjun Kharge to discuss seat-sharing in Maharashtra.
The paper reports Pawar has urged Congress to be more flexible and join hands with AAP to take on BJP in Delhi. Earlier in February, Sharad Pawar had tried a similar initiative to bring together the two parties but failed. Some senior Congress party stalwarts including Sheila Dikshit are resisting any such alliance with AAP.
Senior Congress leader PC Chacko has said there has been a rethinking among a section of party leaders on the necessity of an alliance with AAP and said the party high command would decide on this shortly.
Rahul Gandhi promises to restore ‘Special Category’ status to Arunachal and other North-East states
Reporting on the Congress President Rahul Gandhi’s campaign trail in Arunachal Pradesh, Times of India has said he promised to restore ‘special category’ status for Arunachal and other North-East states if the UPA came to power. Congress is pushing hard to capitalize on the anti-Citizenship Bill sentiment prevailing across the North Eastern states and hoped for improved performance over 2014. The party opposes the contentious Bill and has promised not to allow it to pass in Parliament.
Arunachal Pradesh goes to polls to elect members to the state legislative assembly and Lok Sabha on 11 April.