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Congress confident of crossing three-digit mark in Lok Sabha elections

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At the end of the fourth phase of polling, Congress is confident of crossing the three-digit mark in the 17th Lok Sabha polls.

According to an internal assessment, Congress will significantly improve its tally compared to the 2014 election when it bagged just 44 of the 543 seats. That was its lowest tally in any Lok Sabha election, beating the previous low of 114 seats in 1999.

In 2014, Congress failed to open its account in 13 states, including Gujarat, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Delhi and Odisha, and could not cross the double-digit mark in any state. It did not get Leader of Opposition status as it failed to win 10% of total seats of House.

On the other hand, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) became the first political party to secure an absolute majority on its own in 30 years by winning 282 seats.

The Congress’s evaluation for 2019 indicates gains in Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Punjab. But it is not expecting a good showing in Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Delhi and the North-East.

The internal assessment is based on feedback from the ground in several Lok Sabha constituencies across the country, a Congress functionary familiar with matters said. The party is expected to revise its assessment after the final phase of polling on May 19. Votes will be counted on May 23. On record, Congress said people were voting for change and the fall of the BJP government at Centre was imminent, as evident from statements of PM Narendra Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah.

“Our first and foremost assessment comes from Modi’s desperation and nervousness… Sometimes, he indulges in abusive language against Congress president Rahul Gandhi, second day he says he is going to bring down an elected government in West Bengal through defection, and on the third day… he and his home ministry indulges in absolute rubbish of questioning Rahul Gandhi’s citizenship,” party’s chief spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala said. “It seems he is trying to hold on to every straw to somehow stop his boat from sinking.” Surjewala said the party’s second assessment comes from the observations of workers on the ground. “That is extremely encouraging and shows massive gains for Congress and allies and consequent losses for BJP,” he said.

He said the third assessment comes from online and physical surveys that have established the observations of workers on the ground.

When contacted, BJP refused to make any comment on it

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Rahul Gandhi quips at Govt’s ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ call, questions priorities; BJP hits back

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Continuing his attack on the Narendra Modi government, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday took a jibe at the much-hyped ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ programme of the Centre and called out the “misplaced” priorities given to events since February when Coronavirus cases were just starting off and then amounted to 11 lakh by July third week.

“Achievements of government during the COVID-19 period: In February, Namaste Trump (US President Donald Trump’s visit to India); in March, Madhya Pradesh government toppled; in April, lighting candles; in May, sixth anniversary of the government; in June, virtual rally in Bihar and in July attempt to topple the Rajasthan government.

“This is the reason why the nation is self-reliant in the fight against COVID-19.” he said in a tweet in Hindi.

His remarks come amid the crisis in Rajasthan being faced by the Ashok Gehlot-led Congress government.

Amongst several important developments, a petition by Sachin Pilot and 18 other rebel Congress MLAs challenging disqualification notices served to them last week for “anti-party activities” is in the Rajasthan High Court.

After Sachin Pilot and the rebel MLAs gave the second CLP meeting a miss on July 14, the Congress announced the removal of Pilot as the Deputy Chief Minister as well as the Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC) chief.

On the evening of the same day, Pilot and 18 rebel MLAs were served notices by assembly Speaker CP Joshi for allegedly flouting the party whip and not attending Congress Legislative Party meetings called on Monday and Tuesday. They were asked to respond by Friday.

However, Pilot and his loyalists approached the high court challenging the validity and legality of the notice served to them.

The crisis exploded following the night of July 10 when the Rajasthan Police sent a notice to Pilot, asking him to record his statement over an alleged attempt to bring down the government.

On July 12, the sulking leader declared open rebellion against his party by claiming that he has the support of 30 MLAs.

Hitting back at Rahul Gandhi over his remarks, Union Minister Prakash Javadekar detailed the achievements by the Congress leader in the last six months which included the anti-CAA protests as well as “advocating for China”.

“Will tell Rahul Gandhi’s achievements in the last six months. Shaheen Bagh and riots in February; losing Jyotiraditya Scindia and Madhya Pradesh government in March; instigating labourers in April (amidst the COVID-19 crisis); 6th anniversary of the historic poll defeat in May; advocating for China in June and party destroyed in Rajasthan in July,” Javadekar said while speaking to reporters later today.

“Rahul Gandhi is tweeting daily. I think Congress will be reduced to a party that only tweets. One after the other, states are proof that Congress isn’t working. A dejected party is attempting to attack Centre in every manner, but they will not succeed,” he added.

Meanwhile, Rahul Gandhi’s attack on the Centre’s “Atmanirbhar Bharat” mission comes months after PM Modi on May 12 announced the most anticipated stimulus package of Rs 20 lakh crore, nearly 10 per cent of country’s GDP, for all segments including industries, workers, farmers, honest taxpayers, MSMEs, cottage industry and others.

The Prime Minister said that the special economic package would be the primary component of “Aatmanirbhar Bharat (self-reliant India)”.

He said the package will focus on land, labour, liquidity and laws. It also includes the monetary easing announced by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).

Articulating the plans, PM Modi said, the self-reliant strategy will depend on five-pillars consisting, ‘Economy, Infrastructure, Tech-driven System, Vibrant Demography and Demand’.

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‘Prime Minister has destroyed our position, betrayed our army’: Rahul Gandhi

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Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday launched another attack on the Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the China issue.

He said that China cannot be permitted to get away with this “unacceptable usurpation” of India’s land.

While speaking at the Congress Working Committee (CWC), he said, “China has brazenly occupied our territory. The Prime Minister has destroyed our position and betrayed our army by accepting their position that they occupied no Indian land. The Chinese cannot be permitted to get away with this unacceptable usurpation of our land.”

On Saturday, the PMO said that PM Modi was clear that India would respond firmly to any transgression attempts at the LAC.

The PMO said that “attempts are being made in some quarters to give a mischievous interpretation” to his remarks at the All-Party Meeting (APM) held on Friday on the Galwan stand-off and the killing of 20 Indian soldiers by the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) troops on June 14-15 night.

The Prime Minister’s Office said the PM had specifically emphasized that Indian forces now decisively counter any violations on the LAC (unhe rokte hain, unhe tokte hain) in contrast to the past neglect of such challenges.

Congress president Sonia Gandhi has also lashed out at the Centre over the economic crisis due to the Coronavirus pandemic and the tension along the border with China, attributing them to the “mismanagement” of the BJP-led NDA government and the “wrong policies” pursued by it.

In her opening remarks at the Congress Working Committee meeting today, she added that the “cumulative effect is widespread misery, fear and danger to the security and territorial integrity of the country”.

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Rahul Gandhi launches fresh attack on PM, says satellite images shows China has intruded

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Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Sunday launched a fresh attack on the Narendra Modi government over the recent India-China face-off by saying that satellite images show that China has intruded into Indian territory.

In a tweet in Hindi, Gandhi said, Prime Minister said nobody intruded and nobody has occupied our territory, but the satellite images show clearly that China near Pangong lake has occupied the holy land of Bharat Mata.”

Rahul Gandhi used an image with the tweet shown by one of the TV channels.

Earlier in the day, Gandhi had mocked PM by calling him “Sur(r)ender Modi” instead of Narendra Modi and accused him of conceding Indian territory to the Chinese.

Former Congress president took to Twitter and said “Narendra Modi is actually Surender Modi,” sharing an article by The Japan Times with his post.

Earlier, Gandhi on Saturday had made allegations that PM Modi had “surrendered” Indian territory to China in Ladakh’s Galwan Valley, tweeted two questions for the government, “PM has surrendered Indian territory to Chinese aggression. If the land was Chinese: 1. Why were our soldiers killed? 2. Where were they killed?”

At least 20 Indian soldiers, including an officer, were killed in an unprecedented violent face-off with Chinese troops in Galwan Valley in eastern Ladakh on June 15. Gandhi has been attacking the PM Modi-led government since the incident took place.

However, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s office had clarified on Saturday and countered opposition’s attack, saying “attempts are being made in some quarters to give a mischievous interpretation” to Modi’s remarks at the All-Party Meeting held on Friday on the Galwan stand-off.

The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) said, the PM specifically emphasized Indian forces now decisively counter any violations on LAC (unhe rokte hain, unhe tokte hain) in contrast to the past neglect of such challenges.

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