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Bharat Jodo Yatra 2022: Congress’s BJY aims to provide alternative to BJP, its success will impact 2024

With the help of this Kanyakumari to Kashmir Yatra, the Congress will try to find answers to many serious questions within the party and outside the party.

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Bharat Jodo Yatra

By Mohammad Javed Rasheedi

Left in the margins, the Congress will try its hand at rejuvenation from September 7 with its Bharat Jodo Yatra (BJY). The 150-day 3,500-km-long journey will start from Kanyakumari in Tamil Nadu and culminate in Kashmir, passing through various states.

With the help of this Kanyakumari to Kashmir Yatra, the Congress will try to find answers to many serious questions within the party and outside the party.

The Yatra comes at a time when leaders like Nitish Kumar and Arvind Kejriwal have staked their claim to be the prime ministerial candidates against PM Narendra Modi leaving former Congress president Rahul Gandhi behind in the popular imagination. As such, the party itself is seeing dissidence flower with senior leaders like Anand Sharma and Ghulam Nabi Azad going against its line.

Political experts see the Yatra as a statement from the Congress that it would not be cowed by pressure nor allow the CBI or the ED to undermine it.

The new Congress’ Yatra is taking place at a time when the party is churning about its new president. The election process for the party president will begin on August 21 and will end by September 20. In September, it will be decided who will be the Congress president. Some senior Congress leaders have been demanding a president outside the Gandhi family. Though Rahul Gandhi has said no to resuming the party mantle, a few leaders are trying to vest the leadership back upon him.

The former Congress president will lead the Bharat Jodo Yatra which indicates that even without being party chief, he will continue to play an important role to strengthen the party.

Some analysts do not consider it as a right move by the Congress, predicting that it would not give an opportunity to the new elected president to work freely. There will be two separate power centres in the party, which will make it difficult for the party to move in one direction. It has also been predicted that no miracle will be witnessed within the party even after changing the Congress president.

While others believe that this can be a better step to strengthen the Congress. The party president would be allowed to work as per his wish within the party while Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi will take over responsibilities of addressing meetings and rallies across the country.

The BJP has been working on the same pattern. BJP president JP Nadda took over the charge of holding meetings and rallies across the country, while PM Modi and Amit Shah are working to strengthen the party in their own way.

Sonia Gandhi had adopted the same formula by keeping Manmohan Singh ahead during the UPA regime. If the party uses the same formula today, it could give good results.

With regard to the 2024 Lok Sabha elections, a question is being raised about how mutual cooperation will come about among opposition parties. If such an alliance is formed, who will lead it? Bharat Jodo Yatra seeks to answer all these questions.

The party has decided to keep Bharat Jodo Yatra open to all, despite being political. Other parties can also join this but the Congress has not clarified as to how many parties will support this yatra.

The Bharat Jodo Yatra is being organized at a time when many opposition leaders like Nitish Kumar, Arvind Kejriwal, Mamata Banerjee and KCR are trying to project themselves as contenders for the post of PM. But none of these have the capacity to even dream of carrying out this fight without the Congress. The Congress is well aware of its political importance, so it has started trying to strengthen its position at all India level.

The Congress knows it will be in a bargaining position only if it has a respectable number of seats in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections. The Bharat Jodo Yatra can prove to be an attempt to give wings to these hopes.

It is difficult to imagine that the Narendra Modi-led BJP will stumble in 2024, but for some reason if such a situation arises, the Congress role will become very important. The party does not want to weaken its claim to that potential situation in any way.

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Former Maharashtra CM Manohar Joshi passes away, PM Modi expresses grief

The Prime Minister further remembered that Manohar Joshi strove to make Parliamentary processes more vibrant and participative.

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Former Maharashtra Chief Minister and veteran Shiv Sena leader Manohar Joshi passed away in the early hours of Friday morning at the age of 86. He was admitted to the ICU of Hinduja Hospital following a cardiac arrest on Wednesday.

Issuing a statement on Thursday, Hinduja Hospital stated that former Lok Sabha Speaker Manohar Joshi was admitted to the hospital on Wednesday with severe illness. The statement added that the Shiv Sena leader had suffered a cardiac arrest. Earlier in May, he was admitted to the same hospital after suffering a brain haemorrhage.

Joshi served as chief minister from 1995 to 1999. He was the first leader from the undivided Shiv Sena to occupy the top post in the state. The Shiv Sena leader was elected as a Member of Parliament and was the Lok Sabha Speaker from 2002 to 2004 when the Vajpayee government was in power.

Taking to X, formerly Twitter, Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed grief and recalled that the veteran leader spent years in public service and held various responsibilities at municipal, state and national level. He added that as the Maharashtra Chief Minister, Manohar Joshi worked tirelessly for the state’s progress. He mentioned that the Shiv Sena leader also made noteworthy contributions as Union Minister. 

The Prime Minister further remembered that Manohar Joshi strove to make Parliamentary processes more vibrant and participative. Expressing condolences to family and supporters, Narendra Modi said that Manohar Joshi will be remembered for his diligence as a legislator, having had the honour of serving in all four legislatures. 

Deputy leader of Shiv Sena, Priyanka Chaturvedi expressed sorrow over the demise of the senior leader and extended heartfelt condolences to his family. Union Minister Nitin Gadkari said that the state had lost a cultured face of Maharashtra politics. The Union Minister recalled that he got an opportunity to work under the leadership of Manohar Joshi during the coalition government. 

Manohar Joshi began his career as a teacher and entered politics with his involvement in Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and later became a member of the Shiv Sena. In 1980s, he became one of the key leaders within Shiv Sena and was known for his organisational skills.

Manohar Joshi was married to Anagha Joshi, who died in 2020. He is survived by a son and two daughters.

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APCC President YS Sharmila spends night at Andhra Ratna Bhavan to escape house arrest

A video circulating on social media shows the Congress leader sleeping on a mattress on the floor of the party’s Vijaywada office. In another video, shared by party leader Manickam Tagore, other Congress leaders and workers are seen sleeping at the Congress office.

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Andhra Pradesh Congress Committee president YS Sharmila had to spend the Wednesday night at the Congress Head office Andhra Ratna Bhavan as she feared that she might be put under house arrest. The APCC President led a Chalo Secretariat protest march on Thursday morning in support of the unemployed youth of the state in Vijaywada. Sharmila announced the protest march on Wednesday morning but the police did not give permission and started putting Congress leaders under house arrest.

A video circulating on social media shows the Congress leader sleeping on a mattress on the floor of the party’s Vijaywada office. In another video, shared by party leader Manickam Tagore, other Congress leaders and workers are seen sleeping at the Congress office. Sharmila avoided going to Congress MP KVP Ramachandra Rao’s house on Wednesday night where the police allegedly wanted to detain her.

Instead she chose to stay back in the Congress office. The police surrounded the Congress office on Thursday morning and many Congress leaders and YS Sharmila sat on a dharna and shouted slogans. The APCC president demanded that YS Jagan Mohan Reddy government give orders to fill 23000 posts which he had promised to fill during his election campaign.

Addressing the protest meeting Sharmila said Elections are are just two months away and the chief minister has announced filling up 6000 posts. She said instead of holding a mega district selection committee for recruitment, he is doing a fraud. Sharmilla said the YSRCP rule is like dictatorship and anyone who protests is put under house arrest.

She said they have been surrounded by thousands of policemen. She added iron barricades have been put around them and they are being held hostage. She said those people who are raising their voices for the unemployed are being arrested. She said YS Jagan Mohan Reddy is a dictator who wants to stop them.

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Congress, Aam Aadmi Party finalise seat sharing alliance for 7 Lok Sabha seats in Delhi

During the seat sharing discussion the Congress is likely to contest from North Delhi, East Delhi and Chandni Chowk, while Aam Aadmi Party will contest from South, North West, New Delhi and West Delhi. The Congress is planning to field at least 1 dalit face in New Delhi. A general category face and a woman candidate will also be fielded by the party. According to reports the Congress is likely to give AAP 1 seat in Haryana and 2 seats in Gujarat.

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The Aam Aadmi Party and Congress finalised their seat-sharing alliance for the 7 Lok Sabha seats in Delhi on Thursday. Both the parties confirmed that they had settled for a four-three seat sharing formula, with AAP contesting four constituencies and Congress on three.

The seat sharing alliance was formed after many rounds of discussions this week. During the seat sharing discussion the Congress is likely to contest from North Delhi, East Delhi and Chandni Chowk, while Aam Aadmi Party will contest from South, North West, New Delhi and West Delhi.

The Congress is planning to field at least 1 dalit face in New Delhi. A general category face and a woman candidate will also be fielded by the party. According to reports the Congress is likely to give AAP 1 seat in Haryana and 2 seats in Gujarat.

The two seats for Aam Adami Party in Gujarat – Bhavnagar and Bharuch have been agreed upon to stave off Kejriwal’s demands in Haryana, Assam and Goa. The Aam Aadmi Party will give up its south Goa constituency for the Congress. The Arvind Kejriwal-led party has a sitting MP in Goa.The signs of an arrangement became clear when Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal turned up at lunch hosted by Congress leader Abhishek Singhvi on Sunday.

Earlier the Congress finalised its pact with the Samajwadi Party in Uttar Pradesh and has agreed to contest 17 of the 80 Lok Sabha seats in the upcoming Lok Sabha Elections. The Samajwadi Party will contest on 63 seats in Uttar Pradesh. The seat sharing pact was announced by the opposition alliance, which has been formed to defeat the BJP-led central government in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.

The Samajwadi Party has announced three lists for the Lok Sabha elections and has named a total of 32 candidates including Akhilesh Yadav’s uncle Shivpal Yadav and don turned politician Mukhtar Ansari’s brother Afzal Ansari.

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