Rahul Gandhi makes Telegram debut to post his views on various subjects

Last-minute candidate

The Congress on Wednesday announced that former Lok Sabha member Tariq Anwar would be its candidate for the biennial elections to the Legislative Council of Bihar. However, on Thursday it discovered that Anwar was not a voter in the state. Anwar, a former Union minister, was a Lok Sabha MP from Katihar, representing the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), from 2014 to 2019. However, he quit the NCP in the run-up to the Lok Sabha polls in 2019 and contested on the Congress ticket, losing to the Janata Dal (United) candidate. Anwar was to be the Congress’ sole candidate for the polls. The party, however, was taken by surprise when it discovered he was no longer a voter in Bihar, which is a prerequisite for contesting the Legislative Council poll in a state. It hastily changed its candidate at the last moment to field Samir Singh. 

Many footprints of Rahul

Until 2016, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi was averse to social media and required much convincing to debut on Twitter. Gandhi now is active on Twitter and Instagram, and has a massive following. Last week, Gandhi debuted on Telegram, with people coming to know of it on Wednesday, when he put up a display picture of himself. He will now have a channel on Telegram, which is likely to post his views on a variety of subjects and his conversations with experts. In recent months, Gandhi has had talks with industrialists, health experts, and economists. Those close to Gandhi believe the media has been unfair to not just their leader but also the Congress as it does not give space to its views. The Telegram channel will compensate for that. Members of Gandhi’s team have also suggested he start online conversation with common people. “Talk to Rahul” and “Connect with Rahul” are some of the ideas proposed. All of this comes in the wake of a growing demand that he return as Congress president.

The return of the accused

The Congress in Madhya Pradesh has alleged that government funds are being diverted to the Jan Abhiyan Parishad (JAP) to consolidate the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP’s) position in the state. The JAP was established in 1997 by Congress leader and then chief minister Digvijaya Singh but was largely forgotten till Anil Madhav Dave, the deceased BJP leader and RSS member, woke up to its possible uses in the party’s campaigning. As the by-election date approaches, the two parties have started trading barbs over the Parishad. After Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan instructed the organisation to get involved in providing relief amid the Covid-19 outbreak, Congress leader Ajay Singh alleged that there were accusations of financial wrongdoing against JAP Vice-Chairman Pradeep Pandey during his previous tenure — a reason he was removed by the previous government.

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