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TMC Supremo Mamata Banerjee calls high-level meeting at her residence

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Evaluation of the recent defeat of Trinamool Congress in Murshidabad’s Sagardighi by-poll, planning for coming Panchayat polls, future plans after failure in party’s national expansion plans due to poor performance in Meghalaya and Tripura-Trinamool Congress Supremo Mamata Banerjee has called a high-level meeting at her residence in Kalighat with senior party leaders and ministers on Friday.The party has formed a three member committee to evaluate the defeat in the 70 percent minority dominated Sagardighi assembly seat. Along with West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, Trinamool Congress National General Secretary Abhishek Banerjee and all other senior party leaders, MLAs and ministers will also be present at the meeting.

The party has formed a committee, with three minority leaders, who will evaluate Trinamool’s performance in Sagardighi seat, where the Trinamool Congress had suffered a major setback in the minority dominated belt. An evaluation report is likely to be presented during the meeting, people in the know told ET. Sagardighi seat has been won by Left supported Congress candidate Bayron Biswas, maiden seat won after 2021 assembly polls. Sagardighi seat was won by the Trinamool thrice from 2011 and was vacated following the death of state minister Subrata Saha.

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Despite poor performance in the North Eastern states of Meghalaya and party’s failure to open an account in Tripura, Trinamool leadership is likely to decide on future course of action of the party in these states and continue with the organizational work in the two states, people in the know said. Preparedness for 2024 Lok Sabha polls by the party and crucial Panchayat polls ahead of 2024 are likely to be discussed in the meeting.

The party is likely to take decisions on candidate selection in the coming Panchayat polls, depending on performance of the candidates in the previous Panchayat’s work. In addition the party has also made it clear that violence will not be tolerated in the rural polls like last election in 2018, sources said.

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BJP plans campaign against Rahul Gandhi’s ‘insult to backwards’

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New Delhi: The BJP has planned a campaign from April 6-14 to highlight Congress leader Rahul Gandhi‘s disqualification from the Lok Sabha as a decision stemming from his “insult to OBCs (other backward classes)” and the work done by the Modi government for the community.On Tuesday, the BJP’s OBC members from both Houses took out a march from Parliament complex to Vijay Chowk protesting against Gandhi’s comments on the “Modi surname“, which led to his disqualification, and demanded an apology.

Union minister Smriti Irani, who defeated Gandhi in the 2019 general election from Amethi, termed his refusal to apologise to the OBC community for his “indecent” comments yet another “manifestation of the Gandhi family’s political arrogance”.

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As Rahul Gandhi decides to move out, Mallikarjun Kharge offers his residence

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New Delhi: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi formally informed the authorities on Tuesday that he will comply with the directive to vacate his official bungalow on 12, Tughlaq lane following his disqualification as a member of the Lok Sabha after his court conviction. Party president Mallikarjun Kharge suggested Gandhi could stay at his mother Sonia Gandhi‘s 10 Janpath official residence or else move to Kharge’s Rajaji Marg official residence.

Within a day after he received the official directive, Gandhi wrote back to the concerned official of the Lok Sabha secretariat. “As an elected member of the Lok Sabha over the last 4 terms, it is the mandate of the people to which I owe the happy memories of my time spent here. Without prejudice to my rights, I will, of course , abide by the details contained in your letter.” Gandhi has one month to vacate the house and his letter meant he was not seeking an extended stay there.

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Kharge lashed out at the government for asking Gandhi even as he made his own suggestion and offer. “He can go and live with his mother or he can come to me, I will vacate one (his official residence) for him,” he said.



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Savarkar row: Congress to tone down attack after Sharad Pawar’s intervention

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New Delhi: Amid strains in the Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi alliance over Rahul Gandhi’s strident criticism of V D Savarkar, NCP chief Sharad Pawar has stepped in to play the peacemaker by conveying Shiv Sena’s concerns on the issue to the Congress leadership. Opposition leaders said Congress has agreed to tone down its criticism of Savarkar, which has led to an unease in the NCP and the Shiv Sena (UBT), its alliance partners in Maharashtra. Shiv Sena (UBT) leader Sanjay Raut said he had raised the Savarkar issue in his talks with Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge and Rahul Gandhi and MVA partners are on the same page on this matter.

“MVA alliance is intact. If anyone thinks the MVA will break apart, they are wrong,” Raut told reporters here.

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Gandhi is learnt to have assured Raut he would avoid any critical reference to Savarkar. Pawar raised the issue during a meeting of opposition leaders convened by Kharge on Monday and made it clear that targeting Savarkar, a revered figure in Maharashtra, would not help MVA, two leaders who attended the meeting told PTI.

Former Congress presidents Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi were present at the meeting.

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“Almost all opposition leaders were of the view that there was no need to rake up the Savarkar issue. We have to decide whether we have to fight Modi or Savarkar and not create confusion,” Raut said after a meeting of parliamentarians owing allegiance to the Thackeray faction of the Shiv Sena. Pawar also told Rahul Gandhi that Savarkar was never a member of the RSS and underscored that the real fight of the opposition parties was with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP.

Opposition leaders said Rahul told the meeting that the Savarkar issue was an ideological position.

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Leaders of Trinamool Congress, Samajwadi Party, Aam Aadmi Party, Rashtriya Janata Dal, Bharatiya Rashtra Samithi also reached out to the Thackeray faction Shiv Sena.

As the BJP stepped up attack on Rahul Gandhi and sought his apology for “maligning” India on his recent visit to the UK, the former Lok Sabha member from Wayanad said at a press conference on Saturday that he was not Savarkar and would not apologise.

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Former Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray slammed Rahul Gandhi for his attack on Savarkar and said his outfit will not tolerate any insult of the freedom fighter.

The Thackeray faction had skipped the meeting convened by Kharge as a mark of protest against Gandhi’s remarks targeting Savarkar.

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