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UPA out to gag free opinion on Sonia, Rahul on internet: RSS

News4u-News Desk-NEW DELHI: The RSS has alleged that theUPA government is out to gag people’s free opinion on the net, especially those regardingSonia Gandhi and son Rahul, through requests to sites like Google to remove content and by seeking users’ data and account details.

“The government of India is seeking to gag the voice of the public, expressed most freely on the net. It has sent 96 requests to the Google site alone from June to December 2011 of removal of content,” RSS mouthpiece Organiser said in the editorial of its latest edition.

It maintained that according to Google, there has been a 49% rise in the number of requests for removing the contents in India, the highest in the world.

“It may be recalled that HRD minister Kapil Sibal had growled in exaggerated fury over a cartoon regarding the Prime Minister. The UPA government is being lampooned, criticized and chided by angry citizens,” the editorial said, adding that this is the role of the media but since it has failed to do so the people have chipped in.

Organiser alleged that as per newspaper reports the government investigative agencies are also engaged in finding the physical location and identity of several IP addresses from the US, which have posted material not “palatable to the Gandhi family”, particularly Sonia Gandhi and son Rahul.

Citing Google, the editorial said most requests for removal are regarding political comments.

“Google received 2,207 requests for user data and 3,427 requests regarding users and accounts between July and December 2011. It complied with 66% of the requests,” the editorial said, adding that Pakistan has made only two such requests.PTI

Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi

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Cong no to sparing PM for Prez post, rebuffs SP-TMC

News4u - News Desk :  In a rebuff to SP and TMC, Congress on Thursday ruled out sparing Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for the Presidential race as it rejected the three names proposed by the two allies, sending signals that it was not in a mood to bow before them.

“We cannot afford to spare Dr Manmohan Singh as Prime Minister. The other two names (A P J Abdul Kalam and Somnath Chatterjee) are not acceptable,” Congress General Secretary Janardan Dwivedi told reporters.

“During UPA-II (election of leader), we have already said he (Singh) will remain the Prime Minister till 2014. Congress does not take such a step (of changing its leader) in between,” he said.

His forthright assertion came after Congress President Sonia Gandhi held parleys with senior party leaders Pranab Mukherjee, A K Antony and P Chidambaram at her residence in the wake of TMC and SP stunning the party by proposing the names of Manmohan Singh, Kalam and Chatterjee as a counter to candidature of Mukherjee and Vice President Hamid Ansari.

Virtually disapproving of Trinamool chief Mamata Banerjee’s action of disclosing the names of Mukherjee and Ansari as first and second choices of Congress, Dwivedi said the process of consultation was still on and Gandhi had not finalised any name.

Gandhi is in the process of consulting even single-member parties and in the course of it two names have come up.

“If Congress had decided on the name, two names would not have come up,” he said.

“There is a dignity to the process. When such talks are held, names are not discussed outside,” the Congress leader said, apparently referring to Banerjee disclosing the names to the media immediately after meeting Gandhi at her residence on Wednesday.

The Congress Core Group, headed by Gandhi and including the Prime Minister and senior Cabinet ministers, will meet Thursday evening to devise further strategy on the President’s election.

Earlier in the day, Mukherjee drove to the 10, Janpath residence of Gandhi and was with her for about 30 minutes.

Senior Congress leaders A K Antony and P Chidambaram also met Sonia Gandhi.

Gandhi also held discussions with other UPA allies like DMK and NCP.

DMK Parliamentary leader T R Baalu met her and said Gandhi will be announcing the name of the UPA Presidential candidate anytime later this week.

“Keeping in view the political stature and seniority in public life, my leader Karunanidhi was consulted by Madam last month through Antony. My leader had suggested a name. The name has been communicated by Antony to Madam. Madam at any point of time, will be announcing the decision,” Baalu told reporters.

He said the name of the person cannot be divulged as of now and parried questions on whether the candidate is among the five persons whose names have been made public.

“Madam will announce it shortly. Not today… At any point within this week,” he said.

When asked if DMK was fine with Mukherjee’s candidature, he said, “it is between the two higher ups. My leader has communicated the matter long back. We stand by it.”

Manmohan Singh-Sonia Gandhi

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Sonia authorised to choose Presidential, VP nominees

News4u-News Desk-The Congress Working Committee (CWC) on Monday authorised party President Sonia Gandhi to decide on the candidates for the coming Presidential and Vice Presidential elections.

The resolution, authorising her, was interestingly moved by Finance Minister and senior leader Pranab Mukherjee, who is himself considered the front runner in the race for the President’s post.

The resolution was adopted at the day-long meeting of the CWC, chaired by Gandhi, unanimously, party sources said.

Major political formations like the Congress-led UPA and NDA are yet to announce their strategy for the next month’s Presidential election, while AIADMK and BJD have declared former Speaker P A Sangma as their candidate.

The CWC resolution read, “This meeting of the CWC authorises the Congress President to select the party candidates for the forthcoming elections of President and Vice President of the country.”

The resolution was passed unanimously, AICC General Secretary Janardhan Dwivedi told reporters at the end of the CWC.

Congress president Sonia Gandhi

Congress president Sonia Gandhi

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Indiscipline won’t be tolerated in party: Sonia Gandhi

News4u-News Desk-NEW DELHI, Asking partymen to draw lessons from the previous polls, Congress presidentSonia Gandhi today said that leaders must shed factional behaviour and fight as one disciplined team as the party braces to face a series of state elections in the coming months.

“We must all shed all manner of factional behaviour, and fight as one disciplined team at all levels. That will be the single-most important factor to decide whether we win or lose.

“People look to us- but we need to show them our commitment and our unity if we are to convert this sentiment into electoral victories,” Gandhi said addressing a meeting of the Congress Parliamentary Party here, which was also attended by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

Commenting on the elections results in the five states including Uttar Pradesh, where the party could not perform as expected, Gandhi said, “While we can take satisfaction in the fact that we returned to power in Manipur for the third time and formed the government in Uttarakhand, the results in Punjab and Goa are very disappointing.

“In Uttar Pradesh, even though we did not perform as well as we had hoped to, we increased our vote share quite considerably and were seen as a serious player for the first time in 22 years. Of course there is much work to be done there as in other states.”

The CPP meeting has come a few days after a high-power committee of the party led A K Antony that reviewed the party’s performance in the five states, submitted its report to Gandhi.

She said with a series of state elections approaching in the coming months, the partymen “must draw upon lessons of the previous polls.”

Gandhi also asked partymen to project the works of the party led government at the Centre and “expose the hollow claims of opposition-rule state governments”, adding that “mis-governance and corruption have been widespread in some of these states as revealed by CAG and Lokayukta reports”.

Gandhi said that it is particularly for the party at the state level to highlight the failures of the opposition- ruled governments.

In the backdrop of the stand off between the states and the Centre over NCTC with UPA ally Mamata Banerjee leading the charge against the government, Gandhi said, “Trust and cooperation must be the anchor Centre-state relations”.

She noted that there has been a lot of discussion in recent months on Centre-state relations.

“I would like to reiterate here we are fully committed to strengthening federalism, which is a key tenet of our party’s and UPA’s agenda. What better evidence of this can there be than the unprecedented transfers of financial assistance from the Centre to the states these past eight years,” Gandhi said.

She said that there are Centre-state issues of major national importance-such as fighting terrorism or dealing with left-wing extremism-where the “Centre cannot shirk its responsibilty”.

“In such cases, it has been our government’s endeavour to work closely with the state governments so that our national interest is protected,” Gandhi said.

Referring to the bills on food security and land acquisition, which are yet to see the light of the day, Gandhi said, “On our part, we must do all we can to ensure that the legislative process is not unduly delayed.”

While food security is the pet project of Sonia Gandhi led-National Advisory Council, Rahul Gandhi has been leading from the front for a new land bill.

The Congress president noted, “We are awaiting the standing committee reports on a number of important legislations including those on food security and land acquisition, resettlement and rehabilitation.”PTI

UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi

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Sonia visits drought hit area

News4u - News Desk :  Congress President Sonia Gandhi on Saturday visited Nagasamudra in the district which has been hit by severe drought.

Sonia, who arrived fromBangalore by helicopter, was moved by the plight of people who have been facing drinking water shortage and unemployment.

During her 25-minute-long visit, villagers pleaded for loan waiver and complained about non-implementation of National Rural Employment Guarantee Programme (NREGP) in the village.

Sonia assured them that she will look into the problem.

Congress president Sonia Gandhi

Congress president Sonia Gandhi

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Gandhi family criticised by Moody’s Analytics

News4u-News Desk-New Delhi, : The Congress’ first family has come under criticism by Moody’s Analytics for failing to restart the legislative process for reforms, accusing it of blowing their chance in the recent state elections including UP.

“The real power behind the government, the Gandhi family, blew their chance to restart the legislative process at the recent state Elections in which family scion Rahul Gandhi invested countless hours and money touring the rural backwaters of Uttar Pradesh,” Moody’s Analytics Senior Economist Glenn Levine said.

He noted that the Congress party was drubbed by Mulayam Yadav’s Samajwadi Party and “Gandhi has barely been heard from since then”.

The remarks preceded its contentions that the UPA government, weighed down by corruption and funding scandals, has passed no notable bills.

“The government has lost all momentum and progress is unlikely on existing bills covering pressing issues such as land reform, fuel subsidies, labour rights, and the much-discussed supermarket reforms between now and the next national election in 2014″, the report said.

It pointed out that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh led the Congress party to victory in 2009, giving it a strong mandate to accelerate the economic reforms begun in his first term.

The report termed Prime Minister Manmohan Singh as an “ageing technocrat who now appears tired of the rough and tumble of Indian politics”, and added that the UPA didn’t have the numbers or the leaders to push through tough-minded reforms needed to drive the next wave of growth.

Moody’s Analytics is a division of Moody’s Corporation that provides expertise in economic and consumer credit analysis, credit research and risk measurement, enterprise risk management and structured analytics and valuation. PTI

Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi

Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi

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Sonia rules out change of leadership in centre

News4u-News Desk-Ruling out change of guard at the centre, Congress President Sonia Gandhi on Wednesday ascribed wrong selection of candidates, too many leaders and organisational weaknesses as among key factors that contributed to the party’s dismal performance.

Gandhi, who met a large number of Congress office bearers individually at the AICC headquarters in New Delhi, dismissed the possibility of the poll defeat “damaging” the UPA government at the Centre.

Emerging from the nearly three-hour interactive session, the Congress President conceded that the election results have a lesson for the party which she would discuss with party leaders and told partymen to “pull up the socks” for the coming electoral battles.

A number of states are going to the polls which include Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh this year and Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh next year.

Lok Sabha polls are due in middle of 2014.

“Congress party has got support below its expectations. We accept it with all humility,” Gandhi told reporters.

When asked whether the poor election results will affect the UPA Government’s stability, Gandhi put up a brave front, saying she does not feel that the results will “damage the UPA Government.”

When asked whether the party failed to fare well in U P because there was lack of leadership, Gandhi said “rather than lack of leaders, too many leaders that is our problem”.

In UP, people were angry with BSP and they saw SP as the alternative, she reasoned.

To persistent questions on who would be the party’s prime ministerial face for the next Lok Sabha polls, Gandhi, looking relaxed, said, “2014 is a long way off”.

The Congress chief was asked whether she anticipated more pinpricks from allies like Trinamool Congress in the wake of its poor showing in the assembly elections.
“We will continue to keep in touch with coalition partners as well as the opposition on issues which are beneficial to the people….(I hope) they will understand and they will support….”

Asked whether wrong choice of candidates was the reason for the defeat of Congress in UP, Gandhi conceded that it is one of the reasons as it resulted in rebel candidates setting themselves up.

“We will have to examine. I will have to talk to my colleagues,” she said.

To a specific question whether Congress has failed in U P and at what level the failure lay, she said, “Rahul has already told you about UP. Our organisation is weak in U P, that is the main problem.”

Asked whether people’s anger on the issue of price rise has led to the result, she said “maybe. Price rise may also had an impact on the elections.”

“Every election is a lesson for us, whether we win or lose,” she said adding that the reasons for the party’s poor show will be examined.

On the results in Punjab, which saw the Akali-BJP combine coming to power again, she said that Manpreet Badal’s Peoples’ Party of Punjab damaged the Congress in 23 seats.

“More than damaging the Akalis, they damaged us,” she said.

Manmohan Singh and Sonia Gandhi

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I own responsibility: Rahul

News4u-News Desk - Rahul Gandhi, who was the face of Congress campaign in Assembly polls in Uttar Pradesh, has owned responsibility for the party’s dismal performance which he termed as a very good lesson for him.

Appearing before the media as the election results were coming in on Tuesday, Gandhi said he took in his stride the poll outcome and expected victories as well as defeats in his efforts to improve the political system of the country.

“I own the responsibility for this…This is one of my defeats and I take it in my stride,” said the young Congress General Secretary who extensively toured Uttar Pradesh and addressed over 200 rallies during the month-long campaigning.

Gandhi said he was trying to improve the political system of the country and his work would continue irrespective of today’s electoral result.

“I expect to have victories along the way and I expect to have defeats…I take it in my stride. I think, it is a very good lesson for me,” he said, adding “I think it will make me think in detailed ways which I like to do.”

“I led the campaign, I led from the front and so it is my responsibility. We fought collectively, we fought well, but results have not been good,” Gandhi said.

He said the party had improved performance overall since 2007 but there was need to go further.

Noting that Congress had not done well in the whole of Uttar Pradesh, he said he was attempting to ressurrect the party in the state so that we win there one day.

On the reasons for Congress’ poor performance, the Congress leader said the fundamentals of Congress in Uttar Pradesh were weak and needed to be corrected.

“Organisationally we are not where we should be in UP. So that is where our lot of work is going to be,” he said.

Secondly, he said the mood generally was in favour of Samajwadi Party which is apparent.

He noted that he had told people that he would be seen on the roads and in villages.

“I will continue that…I view my work as working for the people. I will do my work.”


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Sonia returns from abroad after routine checkup

News4u - News Desk : Congress President Sonia Gandhi, who had gone abroad for a routine checkup on 27th February following a surgery six months back, returned at New Delhi on Monday.

Sonia Gandhi returned a day before the counting of votes in the elections to five states including crucial Uttar Pradesh.

She had extensively campaigned in UP, Punjab and Uttarakhand.

“Congress President Sonia Gandhi has come back after her routine checkup and she is absolutely fine,” said party general secretary and media department chief Janardan Dwivedi.

Nearly six months after her treatment abroad, Gandhi had travelled out of the country on the night of 27th February for the checkup.

A day after Gandhi left, Dwivedi had said that the Congress President had gone abroad for checkup and would return in four to five days.

Gandhi, 65, had gone out of the country for treatment of an undisclosed ailment in August 2011.

During her over month-long stay, she had undergone surgery, whose nature was not disclosed with the party maintaining that a citizen’s right to privacy should be respected.

In her absence then, Gandhi’s son, Rahul and three senior leaders were made in-charge of party affairs.

Besides Rahul, the committee had comprised Defense Minister A K Antony, Janardan Dwivedi and Sonia Gandhi’s political secretary Ahmed Patel.

This time, however, no such arrangement was made as the period of her stay out of the country was short.


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Mayawati attacks Congress for wrong economic policies

News4u-news desk- Uttar Pradesh CM Mayawati has attacked the Congress for its wrong economic policies, saying they had led to problems of poverty and unemployment and forced people to move out to other states in search of livelihood.

Addressing election meetings on Friday, Mayawati said people in search of jobs in UP are forced to shift to Congress-ruled states, where they have to face discrimination from the respective state government.

Accusing the Congress-led government at the Centre of meting out step motherly treatment to BSP-ruled UP, Mayawati reiterated that she has toiled hard for all round development of the state and launched welfare projects which were not even thought about by her predecessors but said she could have done better with help from the UPA.

“Had the Central government extended support, we could have given much better results”, she said adding that this discrimination had also been because of casteist and political animosity.

Recalling how her request for a special economic package of Rs 80,000 cr was turned down by the Centre, she said the state government on its own provided a package for the development of Purvanchal region.

Demanding a special package for Purvanchal area on the lines of Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand, she alleged that the Centre had not paid attention to finding a permanent solution to the problems of flood and water logging.

The Chief Minister, who got a resolution passed by the Vidhan Sabha for division of UP into four states, alleged that the Centre failed to fulfill its constitutional responsibility in this regard and blamed the opposition parties of playing politics over the issue.

She said in 2007 state polls some wrong people entered BSP and got elected on party ticket.

“But as they started damaging party’s image because of petty personal interests, they were shown the door,” she said adding that the party has fielded candidates with clean image in 2012 UP elections.

Mayawati warned if Samajwadi Party returned to power, it would be goonda raj in UP, if BJP manages to form government it would strengthen communal and feudal powers and in case Congress returned, it would force poor, dalits and unemployed to seek livelihood in other states and sought votes for the welfare of sarv samaj.

Attacking FDI in retail which has been put on hold for now, she said it would destroy small traders.



UPA, SP playing politics in name of reservation: Gadkari


Terming the Centre’s proposed quota to Muslims as unconstitutional, BJP National President Nitin Gadkari has blamed the UPA and SP of playing politics in the name of the reservation.

“Both these parties are playing politics in the name of granting reservation to Muslims, which is unconstitutional and intended only for votes,” Gadkari said at an election rally in Sitapur on Friday.

Gadkari told the voters that BJP alone can provide a clean government unlike Congress.



Mulayam promises free education, medicines for poor

 Wooing voters ahead of Assembly polls in Uttar Pradesh, Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav has promised free education, medicines for the poor and waiver of farmer’s loan by Rs 50,000 if voted to power.

 Addressing an election rally in Barabanki on Friday, Yadav said the party would also send poor people to foreign countries for treatment on government expenditure.

 Yadav also promised a ministerial berth to the local MLA in the SP government if the party comes to power.


Priyanka hits the campaign trail in Uttar Pradesh

Hitting the campaign trail in Uttar Pradesh, Congress’ star campaigner Priyanka Gandhi on Friday asked the electorate to realise the strength of their vote and exercise their franchise for a change in the state.

“Election is the time when leaders come for electioneering of all kinds…I also come in your midst but who has the wisdom to recognise the reality of their candidates and the political parties…you…and take this into account when you go out to vote”, Priyanka said at a public meeting in Balbhadrapur area of her brother Rahul Gandhi’s parliamentary constituency in Amethi.

“Times have come when the people are not getting their rights in their areas .. politics has become bad and become opportunistic and moves ahead only because of division of your vote”, she said adding people and not leaders should be standing on the dias.

Stressing that it is wrong that people beg before their leaders, she said that in the past 22 years it has been caste and religion-based politics in UP which has been dominating at the cost of development.

Taking a stand similar to her brother, Priyanka said that people from Amethi go out of the state to Maharashtra and Kerala to work as they are developed and now it is time to bring a change Amethi.

She said the time has come to bring this change and it was not the prestige of her family nor of the Congress candidates but of the future of their families and their children.

“If Congress is strengthened and its government is formed in UP, it would would develop”, she said.

She said that situation has come to such a pass when parties have to introduce their candidates and specifically mention that they have not committed crimes like murder, not snatched the land of people.

Priyanka would stay in the area for five days.

At an interaction in Jamu area, Priyanka termed corruption, anarchy and lack of development as the biggest enemies of the people of Uttar Pradesh.

“Anarchy, corruption and opportunism are the biggest enemies of the people of Uttar Pradesh, not of Rahul Gandhi and they should rise up to change them (in these elections), Priyanka said when asked as to who is the main enemy of her party, Mayawati or Mulayam Singh Yadav.

She said people are now fed up and the reality is now dawning that this kind of politics is not working.

Exuding confidence that the “hard work of Rahul Gandhi would pay off” in these elections, she said that the frustration of chief minister Mayawati has started to show.


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