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Worry at work in idle Cong

Tuesday May 05, 2009, Rasheed Kidwai




Mehmood Madni Addressing the press after visiting Malegaon that was rocked by a bomb blast on September 29, 2008 two days before Eid Al Fitr


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Malegaon, a town in India with more than 70% Muslim population has always been considered as a communally sensitive place. However, there is a place in Malegaon where a Mosque and a Mandir exist side by side with Muslims and Hindus, both living there in peace since last many years. Same is the case with the whole town. Except for the selected few who always try to create trouble, the whole town comprises the peace loving people . Still, the tag of being a communally sensitive place is attributed with the town...Full Story


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New Delhi: Elections to 372 Lok Sabha seats over, many Congress candidates have carried back to the capital a baggage of worries reflecting the impatience and uncertainty that will keep them company till at least the day of counting on May 16.


The concerns range from whether the party should have done more to put a face to the trophy rural jobs scheme and whether it is betraying a lack of will in forming the next government.


Some of the candidates, whose impressions are based on interactions with voters in their seats rather than the outcome of any comprehensive survey, feel that the renunciation mantra chanted by Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi in different circumstances has stood in the way of an inseparable bond forming between the flagship scheme and a single leader.


Garibi Hatao is forever identified with Indira Gandhi, although leaders before and after her have vowed to fight poverty. A similar association with a leader has not yet crystallised in the minds of voters when we talk of the job scheme,” a candidate said.


He feels that Rahul’s assertion ruling himself out of contention for the Prime Minister’s post in the near future has added to a perception that the party lacks a face other than that of Sonia who had already turned her back on the top job. Priyanka’s reluctance to enter politics soon has not helped remove the feeling, the candidate added.


Political scientists do not share the view. Sudha Pai, a political science professor at Jawaharlal Nehru University, said the absence of obsession with personality cult should be seen as a sign of maturity.


The absence of an all-encompassing mascot is not the lone factor bothering some Congress candidates and ministers. Some feel that the party is not seen to be too keen to form the next government.


AICC general secretary Digvijay Singh today said the Congress was ready to play the role of Opposition if it failed to muster the majority required to stake claim to form the next government. “If we don’t form the government, heavens won’t fall,” Digvijay said, though he added that it was important for the Congress to form the government.


The apolitical may feel Digvijay has merely stated the obvious but not those steeped in power politics. “The zeal, the drive and the sense of purpose that was seen during the passage of the nuclear deal in July 2008 is missing,” a minister said, citing the Congress’s reluctance to appease restive UPA partners and work on prospective converts.


Behind-the-scenes manoeuvres are largely meaningless until it is clear how the numbers stack up after counting, but such is the atmosphere in Delhi that even the assertion by Digvijay, Rahul and others that Manmohan’s candidature was non-negotiable is making some candidates uneasy.


“If we rule out all options, where is the room for manoeuvre?” an AICC office-bearer asked. (The Telegraph)





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