PM PV Narasimha Rao contested from Berhampur in 1996

PM PV Narasimha Rao contested from Berhampur, Odisha in 1996 

By Swaraj Mishra

Thank you, PM PV Narasimha Rao for choosing a constituency from Odisha for your reelection to Lok Sabha. It is an honour for Odisha that you chose this one, in addition to the one which returned you to become the Prime Minister in the previous term. People were waiting for your decision in bated breath and you chose our Berhampur Lok Sabha constituency.PV Narasimha Rao

All through the electoral history of our country, those constituencies which had the honour of electing a Prime Minister, have been treated as VVIP constituencies. Be it Phulpur, Rae Bareli, Amethi or Lucknow. But when a PM chooses a constituency away from his home  like Medak in Telangana, Chikmagalur in Karnataka, Berhampur in Odisha or Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh, it makes news.

Odisha’s Berhampur Lok Sabha constituency had the honour to elect P.V. Narasimha Rao in 1996. After having completed his first term in office as Prime Minister from 1991 to 1996, he was seeking reelection to Lok Sabha from two different constituencies in 1996 General Elections. One, Nandyal which returned him in 1991 bye election with a record margin of 5.8 lakh votes, and the other, Berhampur from Odisha.

It is well known that PMs or CMs often play it safe to contest from 2 different constituencies. One their traditional bastion from which they have won earlier and the other in a relatively far off place, to give a boost to the morale of the party workers in that region and to build a wave like situation in that state. Narasimha Rao did just that. In Odisha, Congress had come back to power in 1995 and the Chief Minister J B Patnaik was very keen to consolidate his position by getting the PM to contest from Odisha.

Lucky for him, the voters of Berhampur obliged and voted overwhelmingly in favour of Rao. Traditionally known to be a Congress bastion, it had returned a Congress candidate even during the countrywide anti-congress wave in 1977. In 1991 Congress candidate Gopinath Gajapati Narayan Dev had won this seat by defeating Janata Dal candidate Surya Narayan Patro by a margin of 73,824 votes. In 1996, although there were 11 independent candidates in the fray, it was actually a direct fight between Congress and Janata Dal. The queen of the erstwhile princely state of Khallikot, V. Sugnana Kumari Deo from Janata Dal was pitted against Rao. But it was  P.V. Narasimha Rao who won the election with a comfortable margin of more than 1.68 lakh votes.

Rao contested from two constituencies in 1996, Nandyal, his home constituency which returned him in 1991 bye election and Berhampur. Although he won both the seats, he chose to resign from Nandyal and retain Berhampur. It is another matter that his party couldn’t form the Government at Centre in 1996. But Berhampur retained its honour as a VVIP constituency returning a Prime Minister who completed his full 5 year term in office, for his next term in Lok Sabha, an honour which Puri seem to have missed in 2019.

Source- Odisha Sun Times 

Rahul Gandhi : Life Sketch till date

Rahul Gandhi : Life Sketch till date 

Rahul Gandhi born 19 June, 1970 is an Indian politician. He hails from a long line of politicians, known as the Nehru-Gandhi family, which has occupied a prominent place in the politics of India ever since the country gained independence in 1947. The son of Sonia and Rajiv Gandhi, he is the President of the Indian National Congress and serves such additional offices as the Chairperson of the Indian Youth Congress and the National Students Union of India. A member of the Indian Parliament, Gandhi represents the constituency of AmethiUttar Pradesh in the 16th Lok Sabha.

Gandhi stayed away from the public sphere for much of his childhood and early youth; he attained primary education in New Delhi and Dehradun but was later homeschooled because of security concerns. He later attended Rollins College under a pseudonym, his identity being known only to a select few individuals, which included certain university officials and security agencies. After obtaining degrees in International Relations and Development Studies at the universities of Rollins and Cambridge, Gandhi worked at the Monitor Group, a management consulting firm in London. He established the Mumbai-based technology outsourcing firm, Backops Services Private Ltd.

Gandhi entered politics in 2004 and successfully contested the general elections held that year from Amethi, a seat that was earlier held by his father; he won again from the constituency in 2009 and 2014. Amidst calls from Congress party veterans for his greater involvement in party politics and national government, Gandhi was elected Congress Vice-President in 2013, having served as the General Secretary previously. Gandhi led the INC’s campaign in the 2014 Indian general elections; the party suffered its worst electoral result in its history, winning only 44 seats compared to 206 seats won previously in the 2009 general election. As of May 2018, Gandhi trails behind incumbent Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi as the popular choice for Prime Minister in the 2019 general elections.

Gandhi took over as the president of the Congress in December 2017. He is also a trustee of Rajiv Gandhi Foundation and Rajiv Gandhi Charitable Trust.

Early life

Gandhi was born in Delhi on 19 June 1970, as the first of the two children of Rajiv Gandhi, who later became the Prime Minister of India, and Italian-born Sonia Gandhi, who later became President of Indian National Congress, and as the grandson of the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. His paternal grandfather Feroze Gandhi was a Parsi from Gujarat. He is also the great-grandson of India’s first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal NehruPriyanka Vadra is his younger sister and Robert Vadra is his brother-in-law. He identifies himself as a Hindu Brahmin.Rahul Gandhi

Gandhi attended St. Columba’s School, Delhi before entering The Doon School in DehradunUttarakhand from 1981 to 1983. Meanwhile, his father had joined politics and became the Prime Minister on 31 October 1984 when Indira Gandhi was assassinated. Due to the security threats faced by Indira Gandhi’s family from Sikh extremists, Rahul Gandhi and his sister, Priyanka were home-schooled thereafter.

Gandhi joined St. Stephen’s College, Delhi in 1989 for his undergraduate education but moved to Harvard University after he completed the first year examinations. In 1991, after Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated by the Tamil Tigers (LTTE) during an election rally, he shifted to Rollins College in Florida, USA, due to security concerns and obtained his B.A. in 1994. During his time at Rollins, he assumed the pseudonym Raul Vinci and his identity was known only to the university officials and security agencies. He further went on to obtain an M.Phil. from Trinity College, Cambridge in 1995.

After graduation, Rahul Gandhi worked at the Monitor Group, a management consulting firm, in London. In 2002, he was one of the directors of Mumbai-based technology outsourcing firm Backops Services Private Ltd. While in 2004, Gandhi had told the press that he had a Spanish girlfriend, an architect, living in Venezuela, whom he had met while studying in England. In 2013, he suggested that he may not get married.

Political career

Formative years

In March 2004, Gandhi announced his entry into politics by announcing that he would contest the May 2004 elections, standing for his father’s former constituency of Amethi in Uttar Pradesh in the Lok Sabha, India’s lower house of Parliament. His mother had held the seat until she transferred to the neighbouring seat of Rae Bareilly. The Congress had been doing poorly in Uttar Pradesh, holding only 10 of the 80 Lok Sabha seats in the state at the time. At the time, this move generated surprise among political commentators, who had regarded his sister Priyanka as being the more charismatic and likely to succeed. It generated speculation that the presence of a young member of India’s most famous political family would reinvigorate the Congress party’s political fortunes among India’s youthful population In his first interview with foreign media, Gandhi portrayed himself as an uniter of the country and condemned “divisive” politics in India, saying that he would try to reduce caste and religious tensions. Gandhi won, retaining the family stronghold with a victory margin of over 100,000. Until 2006 he held no other office.

Gandhi and his sister, Priyanka managed their mother’s campaign for re-election to Rae Bareilly in 2006, which was won with a victory margin of over 400,000 votes. He was a prominent figure in the Congress campaign for the 2007 Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections; Congress, however, won only 22 seats of the 403 seats with 8.53% of votes.

Gandhi was appointed General Secretary of the All India Congress Committee on 24 September 2007 in a reshuffle of the party secretariat. In the same reshuffle, he was also given charge of the Indian Youth Congress and the National Students Union of India. In 2008, senior Congress leader Veerappa Moily mentioned “Rahul-as-PM” idea when the PM of India Manmohan Singh was still abroad. He was elevated to the position of the vice-president of the party in January 2013.

Youth politics

In September 2007 when he was appointed general secretary in charge of the Indian Youth Congress (IYC) and the National Students Union of India (NSUI), Gandhi promised to reform youth politics. In his attempt to prove himself thus, in November 2008 Gandhi held interviews at his 12 Tughlak Lane residence in New Delhi to handpick at least 40 people who will make up the think-tank of the Indian Youth Congress (IYC), an organisation that he has been keen to transform since he was appointed general secretary in September 2007.

Under Gandhi, the IYC and NSUI have seen a dramatic increase in members from 200,000 to 2.5 million. The Indian Express wrote in 2011, “Three years later, as another organisational reshuffle is in the offing, Gandhi’s dream remains unrealised with party veterans manipulating internal elections in the Youth Congress and a host of people with questionable background gaining entry into it.”

2009 elections

In the 2009 Lok Sabha elections, Gandhi retained his Amethi seat by defeating his nearest rival by a margin of over 370,000 votes. Gandhi was credited with the Congress revival in Uttar Pradesh where they won 21 out of the total 80 Lok Sabha seats. He spoke at 125 rallies across the country in six weeks. The nationwide elections defied the predictions made by pre-poll predictions and exit polls and gave a clear mandate to the incumbent Congress-led UPA government.

In May 2011, Gandhi was arrested by the Uttar Pradesh Police at Bhatta Parsaul village after he turned out in support of agitating farmers demanding more compensation for their land being acquired for a highway project. Gandhi was taken away from the protest site and later given bail and dropped off at the Delhi-UP border.

2012 Assembly elections

Gandhi campaigned during the 2012 Assembly elections in the politically crucial Uttar Pradesh election for almost two months, holding 200 rallies. However Congress ranked as the fourth party in the state, winning 28 seats, an increase of six seats from the previous 2007 elections. Out of the 15 seats in the Amethi parliamentary constituency, Congress won two.

Congress activists defended the result in Uttar Pradesh, saying “there’s a big difference between state elections and national polls and in the end there is only the first family, a hope and a prayer”, and pointing out the turn around attributed to Gandhi in the 2009 Lok Sabha national elections in the state. However, Rahul Gandhi publicly accepted responsibility for the result in an interview after the result was declared.

In the Gujarat assembly elections held later in the year, Gandhi was not made the head of the election campaign. This was seen and regarded by opponents as an admission of defeat and was termed as a tactic to avoid blame of defeat. Congress won 57 seats in the assembly of 182, which was 2 less than the previous elections in 2007. Later in bypolls, Congress lost 4 more seats to BJP.

Indian general election, 2014

Gandhi contested the Indian general election, 2014 from his constituency, Amethi. and led the election campaign of the Indian National Congress. Gandhi held the Amethi seat by defeating his nearest rival, BJP’s Smriti Irani, by a reduced margin of 107,000 votes. Under his leadership, the Indian National Congress suffered its worst ever performance in elections and won only 44 seats compared to 206 seats won previously in the 2009 general election. The Congress-led electoral alliance, the UPA also had its worst ever performance in elections and won only 59 seats compared to 262 seats won previously in the 2009 general election. After the defeat, Gandhi offered to resign his posts, only to be rejected by the party’s working committee.

Post-general election

Farmers’ and Land Agitation

In February 2015, Gandhi went on a leave of absence to an “undisclosed location to reflect both on recent events related to the party and its future course”. After returning from his leave of absence, Gandhi addressed the farmer and worker’s rally, named as Kisan Khet Mazdoor Rally in Ramlila Maidan on 19 April 2015. Here he made “references to his agitations in Niyamgiri in Orissa and Bhatta-Parsaul in Greater Noida in Uttar Pradesh“. The rally was attended by 1 lakh people. In the speech he gave, he criticised the Indian prime minister Narendra Modi about his comment in Toronto where he said that he was “cleaning the mess created by previous governments”. He also said “Do you know how Modi won the election?.. He borrowed thousands of crores from industrialists for his several campaigns and advertisements. How will he pay them back? He will pay them back with your land. He will give your land to his industrialist friends.”

He mocked the government as “suit-boot government”, a reference to Modi’s monogrammed suit which he wore in the Republic Day meeting with Barack Obama. Moreover, he used the “acche din government” jibe (which was Modi’s election campaign slogan meaning “good days government”) and mentioned that it had “failed the country”.

A land bill was introduced by the BJP government in the parliament in May which was criticised by the opposition parties. Accusing the government of “murdering” UPA‘s land bill, Gandhi promised to prevent the bill from being passed, if not in the parliament then would “stop you [BJP government] on streets”. He further accused the government of diluting the bill and called it as “anti-farmer”. Gandhi also drew parallel between “daylight robbery” and the bill. On 26 May, the day of the Modi government’s first anniversary, Gandhi commented at a rally in Kozhikode “Unfortunately, birthday celebrations is only for a few powerful friends of the government. Kisan, farmers and mazdoor have nothing to celebrate.

Indian general election, 2019

Gandhi coined the slogan “Chowkidar Chor Hai” as a jibe against Narendra Modi, BJP’s Prime Ministerial candidate for the 2019 Indian general election. The slogan was aimed at Modi in relation to the alleged irregularities and favouritism in the Rafale fighter jet deal. The government has denied any wrongdoing in the Rafale deal and the case is being heard by the Supreme Court of India.

Political and social views

National security

with Rahul Gandhi at the Roosevelt House in New Delhi.

Rahul Gandhi with Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou 
in Chanakyapuri, New Delhi.

In December 2010 during the United States diplomatic cables leakWikiLeaks leaked a cable dated 3 August 2009, where the Prime Minister of India, Manmohan Singh had hosted a lunch on 20 July 2009 for Rahul Gandhi, then the General Secretary of the AICC. One of the guests who was invited for the lunch was the United States Ambassador to IndiaTimothy J. Roemer. In a “candid conversation” with Roemer, he said that he believes Hindu extremists pose a greater threat to his country than Muslim militants. Rahul Gandhi referred specifically to more-polarising figures in the Bharatiya Janata Party. Also responding to the ambassador’s query about the activities in the region by the Islamist militant organisation Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), Rahul Gandhi said there was evidence of some support for the group among certain elements in India’s indigenous Muslim population. In a response to this, the BJP heavily criticised Rahul Gandhi for his statements. BJP spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad slammed Rahul Gandhi, saying that his language was a bigger threat to India, dividing the people of the country on communal grounds. Speaking to reporters, Prasad said, “In one stroke Mr. Rahul Gandhi has sought to give a big leverage to the propaganda to all the extremist and terrorist groups in Pakistan, and also some segments of Pakistani establishment. It would also seriously compromise India’s fight against terror as also our strategic security.”Adding that terrorism has no religion, he said that Rahul Gandhi had shown his lack of understanding India. Gandhi has also been critical of groups like the RSSand has compared them to terrorist organisations like SIMI.

After the 2013 Muzaffarnagar riots, at a Madhya Pradesh election rally in Indore, Rahul Gandhi claimed that a police officer has told him that Pakistan’s ISI was trying to recruit disgruntled riot-affected youngsters. However, the district administration, the UP state government, the Union Home Ministry, the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) and the Intelligence Bureau (IB) denied any such development. This remark drew heavy criticism from various political outfits such as BJP, SP, CPI and JD(U). Congress’s Jairam Ramesh said Gandhi needed to apologise to the Muslim community for this remark. In reply to the ECI’s show-cause notice to explain why action should not be initiated against him for violating the Model Code of Conduct, Gandhi said that he didn’t intend to exploit communal sentiments but was referring to divisive politics. The BJP also asked the government to explain why Gandhi, who holds no post in the government, is being briefed by intelligence officers on important security issues. On 13 November 2013, Election Commission of India finding Gandhi’s explanation to be insufficient conveyed its displeasure and advised him to be more circumspect in his public utterances during election campaigns.

Lokpal

Rahul Gandhi opines that the Lokpal should be made a constitutional body and it should be made accountable to the Parliament, just like the Election Commission of India. He also feels that Lokpal alone cannot root out corruption. This statement came out on 25 August 2011, on the 10th day of Anna Hazare‘s fast. This statement was considered as a delaying tactic by the opposition and Team Anna‘s members. It was consequently slammed by prominent opposition leaders Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley. The Parliamentary Standing Committee led by Abhishek Manu Singhvi tabled the Jan Lokpal Bill report in the Rajya Sabha on 9 December 2011. The report recommended the Lokpal to be made into a constitutional body. In response, Hazare attacked Rahul Gandhi, claiming he had made the bill “weak and ineffective”.

Poverty

Rahul Gandhi speaking at The Doon School’s
Model United Nations in 2017

During a rally in Allahabad, Gandhi said “Poverty is just a state of mind. It does not mean the scarcity of food, money or material things. If one possesses self-confidence, then one can overcome poverty.” The phrase “state of mind” drew sharp criticism with BJP Uttar Pradesh spokesperson Vijay Bahadur Pathak alleging him to be mocking the poor. Oneindia News wrote that he made “economics irrelevant”.

Ordinance on Convicted Lawmakers

Rahul Gandhi, on “the convicted lawmakers ordinance” insisted that the ordinance is “complete nonsense” and “What our government has done is wrong”. This was expressed on 28 September 2013 in a press meet, when Rahul made a surprise visit to a press meet organised by Ajay Maken on the topic. The ordinance, earlier, was cleared by the government to negate a Supreme Court’s judgment that would have led to the ejection of convicted lawmakers.

Women’s rights

Gandhi has pushed for the empowerment of women. He backed the Women’s Reservation Bill which would allow 33% reservation of all Lok Sabha and state legislative assembly seats for women. This bill passed the Rajya Sabha on 9 March 2010 but has not yet been voted on by the Lok Sabha as of February 2014.

LGBT rights

Gandhi had backed the repeal of Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code and the decriminalization of homosexuality.

Source- Microstat & Wikipedia

Indo-Russian Rifles dedicated to the Nation at Amethi

PM dedicates the Joint Venture Indo-Russian Rifles Pvt. Ltd. to the Nation at Amethi

The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, visited Kauhar, Amethi in Uttar Pradesh today. He dedicated to the nation, the Joint Venture of Indo-Russian Rifles Pvt Ltd, for Kalashnikov Assault Rifle Production. He also laid the Foundation Stone and dedicated various development projects in Amethi.

In his special message on the occasion, which was read out by Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that “the new joint venture will manufacture world famous Kalashnikov assault rifles of the newest 200 series and eventually will reach full localization of production. Thus, the Indian defence-industrial sector will have the opportunity to fulfill the needs of national security agencies in this category of small arms, resting upon advanced Russian technologies.”

Image result for Indo-Russian Rifles inaugurated

Addressing the gathering, the Prime Minister thanked President Putin for this partnership. He said lakhs of rifles will be made from this facility in Amethi, and will strengthen our security forces.

He also said that this development has been long delayed. He said that this delay in the production of modern rifles for our soldiers, actually amounts to an injustice to the jawans. He recalled that despite projecting a requirement for bullet-proof jackets in 2009, no such jackets were procured till 2014. This requirement has now been fulfilled by the Union Government, he added. He said that earlier, such delays had also been happening in procurement of other important armaments. In this context, he also mentioned the Rafale fighter planes, and said these will start joining the Air Force within a few months, as a result of the efforts of the Union Government.

He also mentioned other development projects in Amethi, which were facing various bottlenecks in operationalization. He said those bottlenecks were being removed, so that the projects could be operationalized, and provide employment to people. He said the implementation of schemes such as PM Awas Yojana, Ujjwala Yojana, Saubhagya Yojana and construction of toilets, in Amethi, is now bringing ease of living to the people.

The Prime Minister said that the Union Government is empowering the poor, and helping them come out of poverty. He said similarly, the farmers are being empowered. In this context, he mentioned the PM Kisan Samman Nidhi. He said this scheme will ensure that 7.5 lakh crore rupees reach farmers over the next ten years.

– 03 MARCH 2019/ PIB/ New Delhi

SP-BSP alliance will contest elections together in UP

SP-BSP alliance will contest elections together in Uttar Pradesh

Will contest 38 seats each in Lok Sabha polls 

Finally the SP-BSP alliance declared today in Lucknow for upcoming Lok Sabha Polls in UP. Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati and Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav announced their alliance in Uttar Pradesh for the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, sharing 38 seats each out of the state’s 80 parliamentary constituencies.

SP-BSP alliance

The parties kept the Congress out of the alliance, but said they will not field candidates in Amethi and Rae Bareli, represented by Congress president Rahul Gandhi and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi. The alliance left two more seats for smaller allies.

SP-BSP alliance
SP-BSP alliance

Making the announcement at a joint press conference with SP president Akhilesh Yadav here, BSP chief Mayawati said that the alliance will rob Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah of their sleep.

“The BJP taught us how to do ginti (arithmetic),” said Mr. Yadav on Friday, claiming that despite having a superior record on development, his party had lost out on the arithmetic.

The parties kept the Congress out of the alliance, but said they will not field candidates in Amethi and Rae Bareli, represented by Congress president Rahul Gandhi and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi. The alliance left two more seats for smaller allies

A result of this strategy was seen in Gorakhpur, Phulpur and Kairana where the BJP lost its in by-polls as the grand-alliance tested waters successfully.

Mr. Yadav said the number of alliances stitched up by the BJP to win elections had gone unnoticed. The proximity between the two old rivals, the SP and BSP, started soon after the drubbing in the 2017 Assembly election in which the BJP and its allies secured 325 seats out 403.

The BJP played down the potential of the SP-BSP alliance, with CM Yogi Adityanath calling it a “desperate attempt to save their existence.” “Public knows the truth and they will give the reply when time comes,” he said.

-MICROSTAT, JANUARY 12, 2019