Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra addresses a public meeting. Photo: PTI
Congress talent hunt in UP
Facing a leadership crisis in Uttar Pradesh, the Congress party held a “Talent Hunt” to identify a new team for the state minority cell. The day-long exercise, held at the UP Congress Committee headquarters in Lucknow, saw the participation of nearly 600 aspirants from 40 eastern and central districts of UP. The exercise was started at the behest of the All India Congress Committee general secretary in charge of eastern UP, Priyanka Gandhi.
Congress sources said a similar "Talent Hunt" was being planned for the western districts of UP as well.
The Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi (VBA), which had queered the pitch for some candidates of the Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) in the Lok Sabha polls in Maharashtra, on Monday ruled out an alliance with these parties for the Assembly elections scheduled for next month. VBA leader Prakash Ambedkar (pictured) said his party, the Bharipa Bahujan Mahasangh (BBM), was open to a seat-sharing dialogue with the All India Majlis-e-Ittehad-ul-Muslimeen, the estranged ally with which it had contested the Lok Sabha polls. Talks between the AIMIM and the VBA had hit a roadblock recently over seat sharing. Ambedkar said the VBA would contest all the 288 seats in the state, and that the names of the candidates and the alliance partners would be declared before September 26. The BBM chief said he had offered 144 seats to the Congress for next month’s polls but it did not respond to the offer. “They were calling the VBA the B-team of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). But they (Congress) were dealing with the BJP to get relief from government agencies probing cases,” Ambedkar alleged.
Five of Bihar’s 243 Assembly seats will have by-election on October 21. The grand alliance, comprising the Rashtriya Janata Dal, the Congress, and others, is yet to decide seat allotment for the Assembly seats and the Samastipur Lok Sabha constituency. Hindustani Awam Morcha (HAM) President Jitan Ram Manjhi, a constituent of the grand alliance, on Monday said, come what may, his party would contest the Nathnagar Vidhan Sabha seat in Bhagalpur. Manjhi had recently threatened to pull out of the five-party grand alliance. The Bhagalpur seat had fallen vacant after sitting Janata Dal (United) MLA Ajay Mandal’s election to the Lok Sabha. Manjhi’s latest outburst comes less than two months after he had accused the grand alliance of having underestimated his party and threatened to go it alone in the Assembly polls next year.