Archive for ‘Uttar Pradesh’

11/02/2019

“It’s like Indira’s come back”: India’s Nehru-Gandhi dynasty rolls on

LUCKNOW, India (Reuters) – Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, the latest entrant into politics from India’s Nehru-Gandhi dynasty, made her debut on Monday with a roadshow drawing thousands to see her in the most populous state, months before a general election due to be held by May.

Congress President Rahul Gandhi pulled a surprise last month by appointing his younger sister a party general secretary. She will also be its face in Uttar Pradesh, the state that sends the highest number of lawmakers to the lower house of parliament and is currently dominated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

But a string of BJP defeats in state elections late last year and rising discontent over a weak farm economy and lacklustre jobs growth have weakened Modi’s position, which an increasingly aggressive Congress is looking to capitalize on.

Congress hopes that the eyeballs she’s able to generate will turn into votes.

“It’s like Indira Gandhi has come back,” said Fuzail Ahmed Khan, 45, a Congress supporter. “The state’s farmers want Rahul Gandhi to be prime minister, Priyanka to be chief minister.”

Indira Gandhi, India’s only woman prime minister and known as the “Iron Lady”, was criticised for suspending civil liberties for nearly two years starting in 1975. The Hindu nationalist BJP calls Priyanka’s appointment an extension of Congress’s “dynastic politics”.

Posters of Priyanka lined the streets of the state capital, Lucknow, and hundreds of Congress supporters, accompanied by drummers, chanted her name as she emerged from the airport with her brother.

The siblings continuously waved at supporters from atop a bus and then later from an SUV during the drive from the airport to their state office.

At a stopover, Rahul Gandhi grabbed a microphone and said the appointments of Priyanka and lawmaker Jyotiraditya Scindia as state party leaders were aimed at beyond the general election and bringing Congress into power in Uttar Pradesh.

“If there is a heart of the country, it is Uttar Pradesh,” he said to loud cheers, Priyanka standing by his side. “They’re definitely focused on the parliamentary election but the aim also is to form a government in the state. We’ll bring a government of youth, poor and peasants.”

But it won’t be easy for the brother-sister combination in Uttar Pradesh, a poor state of 220 million people where two regional caste-based parties now compete for power with the BJP and Congress is only a marginal player.

The BJP won 73 of the 80 seats in the state in the last general election. BJP President Amit Shah said last week the party would win 74 seats there this year.

Although Priyanka has helped manage elections for her brother and her mother, former Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, she has never held an official party post until now.

“I hope that we can together start a new kind of politics,” she said in an audio message shared by Congress, but she did not make a speech in Lucknow amid fears, political analysts say, she could overshadow her brother.

Since the announcement of Priyanka’s entry into politics, India’s financial crime-fighting agency Enforcement Directorate has questioned her husband, Robert Vadra, in a case relating to alleged ownership of 1.9 million pounds of undisclosed assets abroad. His lawyer and Congress have dismissed the charges as politically motivated.

Priyanka, who drew more 78,000 followers soon after joining Twitter on Monday and even before sending a single tweet, will spend three days in Lucknow meeting workers from more than 40 constituencies.

From 21 seats in the 2009 general election in Uttar Pradesh, Congress’ tally fell to just two in 2014.

Source: Reuters

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11/02/2019

Priyanka Gandhi on stage, Rahul says time to win Uttar Pradesh back

Rahul Gandhi,Congress president,Priyanka Gandhi Vadra
Congress president Rahul Gandhi, party general secretary (incharge of east UP) Priyanka Gandhi Vadra during a roadshow from the Chaudhary Charan Singh airport to the UPCC headquarters in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh.(Subhankar Chakraborty/HT PHOTO)

Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Monday underlined his party’s ambitions in Uttar Pradesh saying the party cannot afford to be weak in the state.

‘Congress started in UP and it cannot stay weak here. Priyanka Gandhi and Jyotiarditya Scindia will make Congress strong in UP again,’ Rahul said at headquarters in UP unit of the Congress in Lucknow at the end of a mammoth road show that his sister Priyanka launchedin her first visit to .the state sicne her appointment as c general secretary in charge of eastern U.P.

While the roadshow marked Priyanka’s formal entry into active politics, Rahul set his sight beyond the upcoming general elections to regain power in U.P.

‘Congress party has to form government in Uttar Pradesh.’

‘I respect Mayawati and Akhilesh Yadav, but Congress will fight with all its might in Uttar Pradesh,’ Rahul said.

The Congress won two Lok Sabha seats in U.P. in 2014.

“In every defence deal there is a clause against corruption.Narendra Modi scrapped the corruption clause to benefit Anil Ambani,” he said.

He also accused the Prime Minister of ignoring farmers and favouring industrialists.

The Congress has consistently attacked the Modi government for not addressing farm distress in the country and the issue was one of the main election planks for the grand old party in the recent assembly elections in five states.

Source: Hindustan Times

11/02/2019

Congress will fight to transform Uttar Pradesh, nation: Rahul Gandhi

Urging Congress workers to “transform UP”, Rahul Gandhi said that PM Modi’s “hollow promises of have come to light”.

SNS Web | New Delhi | 

With an appeal to the people of Uttar Pradesh to bring the Congress to power at the Centre in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections, party president Rahul Gandhi presented his party as the one that can bring a progressive government for farmers, Dalits, youth and the poor.

Addressing Congress supporters in Lucknow on Monday at the conclusion of a massive roadshow with Priyanka Gandhi and Jyotiraditya Scindia, the 48-year-old Gandhi said that there is need to empower grassroot leaders to help bring the party to power and fulfil the aspirations of the people.

Slamming the BJP-RSS, Gandhi said, “This is an ideological battle. On one hand there is the Congress ideology of love, harmony and brotherhood. On the other, there is BJP-RSS ideology of dividing and weakening the nation.”

Urging Congress workers to “transform UP”, Gandhi said that PM Modi’s “hollow promises of have come to light”.

“Congress workers must fight this battle with issues that concern the youth, farmers. There is no dearth of issues. Congress party will fight to transform UP and the nation,” he added, while assuring the supporters that the party will “play on the front foot”.

Criticising Narendra Modi over the promises he made, Gandhi said that the youth of the country believe that the Prime Minister has failed to fulfil them.

“Uttar Pradesh has witnessed what Narendra Modi did for the last 5 years in the country. Youth are saying that Modi failed his promise to provide employment and benefited only people like Anil Ambani,” he said.

Attacking the NDA government and PM Modi over the Rafale deal, in which the Congress smells a scam, Gandhi cited a series of media reports stating that the Defence Ministry expressed its strong reservations to the “parallel negotiations” conducted by the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) with France on the multi-billion dollar fighter jet deal and that the government removed the anti-corruption clause from the Rafale fighter jet defence deal.

“Modi had said that he has a 56-inch chest. He wants to be a ‘Chowkidar’. The truth has now surfaced that he conducted parallel negotiations in the Rafale deal. The clause that enabled investigation in case of corruption, was waived off by Mr. Modi,” he said.

Also Read | Defence Ministry objected to PMO role in Rafale deal, says report; Rahul Gandhi slams PM Modi 

Earlier today, Gandhi had accused PM Modi of “facilitating loot” in the Rafale fighter jet deal with France.

“Every defence deal has an anti-corruption clause. The Hindu has reported that the PM removed the anti-corruption clause. It is clear that the PM facilitated loot,” Gandhi told reporters outside the Andhra Bhawan in New Delhi where he came to support Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu’s protest against the Centre.

Read More: PM Modi facilitated loot in Rafale deal: Rahul Gandhi

“NoMo anti corruption clause. The Chowkidar himself opened the door to allow Anil Ambani to steal 30,000 crore from the IAF,” Gandhi tweeted from his official handle using his “chowkidaar chor hai” jibe at the PM while attaching a report.

The report, published by The Hindu, stated that just days before it signed the Inter-governmental Agreement (IGA) for 36 Rafale fighter jets, the Centre had waived off critical provisions for anti-corruption penalties as well as overruled financial advisers’ recommendations for making payments through an escrow account.

Mega roadshow

Monday’s roadshow, which was witnessed by thousands in the city, marked the official entry of Priyanka Gandhi Vadra into active politics.

Appointed Congress general secretary of Uttar Pradesh East last month by her brother, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra is being seen by Congress loyalists as a fortune changer for the grand old party in electorally powerful Uttar Pradesh.

From onboard an open top bus, Priyanka Gandhi, her brother Rahul, Scindia and Uttar Pradesh Congress Committee chief Raj Babbar were seen waving to a sea of supporters who had gathered to catch a glimpse of the leaders.

Read More: Priyanka Gandhi Vadra kicks off mega Lucknow roadshow with Rahul

The approximately 20-km long roadshow started from Amausi airport to the Nehru Bhawan office of the Uttar Pradesh Congress Committee located a Mall Avenue near Hazratganj.

Ahead of her visit to the state, a group of party workers geared up to work as her “army”, complete with a pink uniform that has her photo and a message. They call themselves the ‘Priyanka Sena’.

Earlier on Sunday, in a message to party supporters and voters, Priyanka Gandhi said she hopes to start a “new kind of politics” in which “everyone will be a stakeholder”.

“… I have hope in my heart that together we will start a new kind of politics, a politics in which all of you will be stakeholders — my young friends, my sisters and even the weakest person, all their voices will be heard,” said Gandhi through the Congress’s Shakti App.

While Priyanka will concentrate on 42 seats of eastern UP, Scindia will focus on 38 seats of western UP.

Priyanka’s first meeting is scheduled with the workers of the Mohanlalganj (reserved) constituency while the last interaction slated for Thursday will be with the workers of the Misrikh (reserved) Lok Sabha seat.

UP East also has Varanasi, the parliamentary constituency of Prime Minister Modi, and Gorakhpur, a stronghold of UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath.

Source: The Statesman
04/02/2019

Kumbh Mela: Millions of Indians bathe on most auspicious day

 

An aerial shot of pilgrims at Kumbh waiting to take a dipImage copyrightUTTAR PRADESH GOVERNMENT

The main day of bathing has been held at India’s Kumbh Mela, with tens of millions of pilgrims taking a dip at the confluence of the Ganges and Yamuna rivers.

This is the most auspicious of six bathing days at the event, billed as the world’s biggest human gathering.

Hindus believe bathing at the rivers will cleanse them of their sins and help them attain “moksha”, setting them free from the cycle of birth and death.

The mela (meaning “fair” in Hindi) has been held in Allahabad city (recently renamed Prayagraj) in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh for centuries now. But it has grown into a mega event in the past two decades.

A Hindu pilgrim taking a dip at the Kumbh MelaImage copyrightANKIT SRINIVAS

The BBC’s Vikas Pandey, who is at the festival, said people had arrived from all parts of the country and had walked miles to take a dip. “Every street in the city leading to the mela grounds is flooded with people,” he said.

The bathing began at midnight with people chanting “hail mother Ganges”.

At dawn, visitors jostled to get a glimpse of the Akharas – different congregations of Hindu saints – who had started their procession.

A procession by a Hindu akhara congregationImage copyrightANKIT SRINIVAS

These processions are highly coveted as people line up to see holy men and women perched on top of heavily decorated floats.

“It is so crowded but everyone seemed excited, despite having walked long distances in the cold,” our reporter said.

Officials say more than 10 million people have already taken a dip and the number is likely to rise during the day.

Presentational grey line

Read more about the Kumbh Mela:

Presentational grey line

Avnish Tripathi, who had arrived from Madhya Pradesh state, walked for five hours from the outskirts of Allahabad city to reach the festival. “Once I got there, I had to wait for two hours to take a dip because of the crowds. But it was a magical experience and I didn’t feel tired at all,” he told the BBC.

Many other devoted pilgrims had walked more than 50km (31 miles) in the hope of taking a dip.

An aerial shot of pilgrims at Kumbh waiting to take a dipImage copyrightUTTAR PRADESH GOVERNMENT

“It has been nearly 12 hours since bathing began but the crowds haven’t thinned,” our reporter added.

The Naga sadhus are the biggest draw of the festival. Thousands of the Sadhus, naked and wearing garlands around their necks, charged into the river with swords and tridents in their hands.

They were escorted by the police as people watched from behind barricades.

Pilgrims walking to take a dipImage copyrightANKIT SRINIVAS

This year’s festival is an “ardh Kumbh” – a “half-size” version that falls mid-way between two Kumbhs – but there’s nothing diminutive about it. In fact, it’s much bigger than the last.

Source: The BBC

08/12/2018

Bulandshahr violence: Top police officer removed over UP cop killing after 6 days

Six days after an inspector and a civilian were killed in mob violence after cattle carcasses were found in Uttar Pradesh’s Bulandshahr, top police officer Krishna Bahadur Singh has been transferred to DGP Headquarters, Lucknow.

Sitapur Superintendent of Police, Prabhakar Chaudhary has replaced Singh and has been appointed as the Senior Superintendent of Police of Bulandshahr.

Two other police officials were also transferred in connection with the mob violence earlier this week.

Acting on a report submitted by the Additional Director General of Police SB Shiradkar, Circle Officer (CO) Satya Prakash Sharma and Suresh Kumar, the in-charge of Chingravathi police chowki, have been transferred “for their failure in responding in time to the situation arising on Monday in that area”.

A senior home department official said they have been taken to task for not being fast enough in reacting to the situation that arose after some Hindu right-wing activists found some animal carcasses in the field and took them on tractor trolleys to block a road.

Police inspector Subodh Kumar Singh and the civilian from Chingravathi village, Sumit Singh, were killed in the mob violence thereafter.

The action was taken after a high-level meeting was presided over by the Director General of Police (DGP) OP Singh, who had handed over the report to Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on his arrival from New Delhi.

Meanwhile, Yogi Adityanath has termed the Bulandshahr incident an “accident”. He had earlier said the incident was result of a “big conspiracy” but at a media event in Delhi on Friday, he said that the incident was actually an accident.

The police have so far arrested nine accused but the main conspirator Yogesh Raj, the district convener of the Bajrang Dal, remains at large.

Meanwhile, a soldier allegedly involved in the Bulandshahr firing was detained by his unit in Jammu and Kashmir on Saturday, Army sources said.

Jitendra Malik alias Jeetu Fauji was detained by the 22 Rashtriya Rifles in Sopore town.

A special investigation team (SIT) of the Uttar Pradesh Police is expected to reach Srinagar later to take him into custody. Earlier, a UP police team was sent to Jammu to arrest him.

Sedition is one of the 17 charges in the FIR in which 27 people have been named besides 50-60 unidentified people. They were allegedly involved in the violence that led to the killing of Inspector Subodh Singh and Sumit Kumar.

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