SONIA ON GUJARAT POLLS | Apart from slamming the BJP government over its implementation of GST and delaying the winter session, Sonia Gandhi also touched upon the Gujarat elections. She said, "Rahul and many of you colleagues here (referring to Congress leaders present at the CWC meeting) and in Gujarat are working hard for a positive result in that state. Let us do our best to prove that people are not fooled and that they will make the right decision and defeat the present dispensation there."
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ROW OVER DELAY IN WINTER SESSION | The winter session of Parliament traditionally convenes from the third week of November and lasts till the third week of December. The Cabinet Committee on Political Affairs (CCPA) headed by Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh decides the dates of the parliament sessions. According to sources, the government is considering a truncated winter session of around 10 days starting from the second week of December.
JAITLEY RESPONDS TO SONIA | Finance Minister Arun Jaitley reacts to Sonia Gandhi's criticism of the Modi government changing the schedule for the Winter Session of Parliament. He said, "Changing the schedule of Parliament session during elections is nothing new. TheCcongress has also done it before. We will have a full session."
While the very important Gujarat Assembly election is the biggest challenge Rahul Gandhi will face ahead of his elevation as the party chief, yet another challenge for Rahul Gandhi would be factionalism. State units are in disarray and the infighting would force him to constantly do the balancing act. For example, in Madhya Pradesh, veterans like Kamal Nath and Digvijay Singh would not want to be sidelined but Jyotiraditya Scindia too has to be accommodated.
Rahul Gandhi's elevation as the Congress chief around the same time as the Gujarat elections will give a major boost to the Congress party and Gandhi's image as the supreme leader of the Grand Old Party. What has been in discussion for a long time now was also confirmed by Congress leader RPN Singh, who told CNN-News18's Pallavi Ghosh that Rahul will be the PM face for the 2019 General Elections and that the party will fight under his leadership, while Sonia Gandhi will continue to be the party mentor. (Image: Twitter/@INCIndia)
Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala addresses the media. He said that party chief Sonia Gandhi has slammed the Modi government. She said, "In its arrogance, the BJP government has cast a dark shadow on India’s Parliamentary democracy by sabotaging the Winter Session of Parliament on flimsy grounds. The Prime Minister had the audacity to hold a midnight celebration in Parliament to launch an ill-prepared and flawed GST, but today he lacks the courage to face the Parliament."
CEA Chairperson M Ramachandran addresses the media to announce the dates of Congress Working Committee elections. Last date of scrutiny of nominations on December 5. Last date of withdrawal of candidature: December 11. Date of polling has been finalised for December 16 and the results would be declared on December 19.
NAQVI'S ATTACK | Union minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, when asked about Rahul Gandhi's elevation as the party chief said, poked fun at the whole procedure. Naqvi said, "The Congress party is on a ventilator and its scion is riding an accelerator. What will he do sitting on an accelerator at this stage when his party is on a ventilator."
If no one else is contesting the party chief's post, which is very unlikely, Rahul Gandhi will become the Congress chief.
In case there is no candidate apart from Rahul Gandhi, Congress will announce his candidature on the last date of scrutiny.— ANI (@ANI) November 20, 2017
Images from inside 10 Janpath, Sonia Gandhi's residence, where the Congress Working Committee (CWC) met on Monday morning to decide on Rahul Gandhi's elevation to the party chief's post.
Delhi: Congress Working Committee (CWC) meeting underway at 10, Janpath pic.twitter.com/pBjydJoqij— ANI (@ANI) November 20, 2017
CNN-News18's Sneha Mordani writes: There would be several challenges before the Congress Vice-President in his role as the party boss. Rahul Gandhi would be saddled with the task of resurrecting the party that has only been going downhill post 2014. It couldn't make a mark in any state barring Punjab. Himachal Pradesh has voted. Gujarat, the home turf of both Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah, is anything but a cake walk.
The party list of 77 candidates had 22 Patidar community leaders, including three from PAAS, and none from the NCP. The Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti had sought 10 tickets for the Gujarat Assembly elections. Congress workers exchanged blows with PAAS members who were protesting outside the party’s Surat office.
While the process of Rahul Gandhi's elevation within the Congress ranks is underway, trouble is brewing in Gujarat, where Congress and Hardik Patel's PAAS workers clashed on Sunday night, right after the Congress came out with its first list of candidates. While the Patidar leaders had asked for 10 tickets, the first Congress list had only 3 PAAS names, which led to the Patidars picking up a fight with the Congress leaders in Surat.
BJP'S JIBE | On reports that Gandhi would soon be made the president of his party, Union minister Jitendra Singh said he found it strange that "each electoral defeat (for Congress) is directly proportional to the elevation of Gandhi". "He lost the 2014 Lok Sabha election and was elevated from general secretary to the post of vice president. Now, they are waiting him to lose Gujarat, and he will be elevated to the post of president," Jitendra Singh said.
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