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“Some Leaders Misused G-23”: M Veerappa Moily Speaks On Congress Reform – dot newz



M Veerappa Moily said reform has been initiated in the Congress and G-23 has “no role” now. File

New Delhi:

Senior Congress leader M Veerappa Moily today said some leaders “misused” the G-23 and asserted that if anyone persists with its institutionalisation it would be for “vested interest” as reform of the party was already underway under Sonia Gandhi.

The former Union minister also voiced strong support for poll strategist Prashant Kishor’s induction into the Congress and said those opposing his entry into the party were “anti-reform”.

In an interview with PTI, Mr Moily, who was among the 23 leaders who wrote to Sonia Gandhi last year, seeking organisational overhaul, opposed the institutionalisation of the G-23 and said “some of us put our signatures only for reform of the party from within and to rebuild the party, not to destroy it”.

“Some of our leaders misused the G-23. No sooner did Sonia ji think of reforming the party from within and from the grassroots level, we did not subscribe to the idea of G-23,” the senior Congress leader said, without taking any names.

He said with the initiation of reform under party chief Sonia Gandhi’s leadership, the G-23 has “no role and has become irrelevant”.

“If they (some leaders) persist (with G-23) that means there is a vested interest for a few of them to work against the Congress party which we don’t subscribe to and rather oppose it,” Mr Moily said.

Anybody who again uses the instrument of G-23 is doing a great disservice to the Indian National Congress and its legacy, he said, adding such actions would help the Congress’s rivals.

His remarks assume significance as many leaders of the G-23 have either distanced themselves from it or have been silent following the letter they wrote last year. Out of that group of 23 leaders who wrote to Sonia Gandhi, Jitin Prasada has switched over to the BJP.

A few members of the G-23 got together at social gatherings a couple of times at Kapil Sibal’s residence recently and reportedly discussed party issues. At one of the gatherings, Mr Sibal had invited a host of opposition leaders as well to his residence.

Mr Moily said the “major surgery” of the party that he has been talking about to revitalise the organisation was already being contemplated by Sonia Gandhi.

“She (Sonia Gandhi) is active and taking decisions, such decisions are needed,” he said, adding he was happy with the steps taken by the party chief.

Asked about speculation that Mr Kishor could join the Congress, Mr Moily said it was advisable that he joins the Congress and injects reforms from within.

Mr Moily urged those within the party opposing Mr Kishor’s entry into the Congress not to do so, saying it was important for the country and the Congress that the party be reformed, which, he said, was the intention of Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi.

According to sources, Congress president Sonia Gandhi will take a final call on the induction of Mr Kishor and has held discussions with several senior leaders on the issue.

Asked if he thinks Mr Kishor’s induction will be beneficial for the party, Mr Moily said the poll strategist has proved that he is successful in working out strategies.

“Instead of working from outside, if he joins the party, it will be quite beneficial,” he added.

“Let there be strong willpower to join hands with Sonia ji to ensure that the party’s organisation is strengthened within a couple of months. This is what I proposed that Prashant Kishor can inject that kind of resurgence of the Congress party (that is needed) by plan and design,” Mr Moily said.

He also said the Congress is the main plank of the politics of this country.

“We may lose sometimes but it cannot be said that we will lose forever. For example, in 1977 we lost and in 1980 with all the allegations against her (Indira Gandhi), ultimately the people found that they wanted the Congress and Indira ji came back, this is the history of the Congress,” he said when asked about NCP chief Sharad Pawar’s remarks suggesting that Congress’s situation was now like impoverished landlords.

Mr Moily also pointed out that Mr Pawar himself has acknowledged that Congress was the only party in power in multiple states that could take on the BJP.

“Congress is the fulcrum of the strength of the politics of this country,” Mr Moily asserted.

Asked if Congress would be the fulcrum of an Opposition alliance to take on the BJP in 2024 elections, he answered in the affirmative.

“Ultimately the government cannot function to serve the interest of a group of people, few castes or few religions, it cannot be done. Just because the people are silent it does not mean that they cannot stage a political revolution, they can do it but only under the leadership of the Congress,” Mr Moily said.

It should be remembered that the integrity of the Constitution of India is under threat under the NDA regime, he alleged.

Hitting out at those alleging that the Congress was all about the benefit of one family, Mr Moily said Sonia Gandhi had sacrificed for the country and never hankered for posts.

“We should not forget that Sonia ji represents martyrs like Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi, and also the Congress’s virtues brought Independence and sustained democracy in the nation,” he said.

The Congress is the backbone of forces to take on the BJP, Mr Moily said.

Asked about calls from within the Congress that Rahul Gandhi should be made the chief of the party again, he said the Wayanad MP was best suited to lead the party but added that presently it was important to turn attention to reorganise and revamp the party.

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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2 Space Technology Startups Get Access To ISRO Facilities. What They Plan To Test – dot newz




Department of Space entered into an agreement with 2 aerospace tech startups (Representational)


The Department of Space (DoS) has entered into a framework agreement with aerospace technology startup Agnikul Cosmos for access to ISRO facilities and expertise towards the development and testing of subsystems/systems of space launch vehicles.

The agreement will enable the company to undertake multiple tests and access facilities at various ISRO (Indian Space Research Organisation) centres for testing and qualification of its single piece 3D printed Semi Cryo engine and other systems.

It will also enable Agnikul, based in National Centre for Combustion R&D of IIT-Madras, Chennai, to avail technical expertise of ISRO for testing and qualifying its space launch vehicle systems and subsystems.

Agnikul said the agreement would formally enable it to go forward with its testing plans at ISRO.

“With this level of Govt. support, low earth orbit does look close”, tweeted the company, which raised USD 11 Million Series A round from institutional and angel investors earlier this year.

Top Agnikul officials met Department of Space secretary and ISRO Chairman, K Sivan, who assured all support from Department of Space for qualifying Agnikul launch vehicle systems.

ISRO’s Scientific Secretary and Chairman, Interim IN-SPACe (Indian National Space Promotion and Authorisation Centre) Committee, R Umamaheswaran signed the agreement on Friday on behalf of DoS and Agnikul CEO Srinath Ravichandran inked it from the company side.

Department of Space also entered into a similar agreement with Hyderabad-based Skyroot Aerospace last week for access to ISRO facilities and expertise towards the development and testing of subsystems/systems of space launch vehicles.

The Framework MoU will enable the company for undertaking multiple tests and access facilities at various ISRO centres and also to avail technical expertise of ISRO for testing and qualifying its space launch vehicle systems and subsystems.

Meanwhile, earlier this week, the ISRO Chairman inaugurated the spacecraft research laboratory at Bellatrix Aerospace located at the Indian Institute of Science campus in Bengaluru.

This privately funded propulsion lab has in-house facilities for development and testing of electric and green chemical propulsion technologies, according ISRO.

Dr Sivan appreciated the young team for establishing the state-of-the art facility which houses equipment such as integrated thermal high vacuum test facilities, catalytic reactors, propellant preparation facilities, and specialised high temperature coating facilities.

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Kashmiri Hindus Face Identity Barrier In PM Scheme For Kashmiri Pandits – dot newz




Government jobs were announced for migrant Kashmiri Pandits in 2009 in J&K


For Navjot Kumar, it’s a fight over identity to get a government job in Jammu and Kashmir. A court ruling that he’s not a Kashmiri Pandit has shattered his dreams. Like Mr Kumar, over two dozen Hindus living near the Line of Control in Uri sector had qualified for a job under the Prime Ministers special employment package for Kashmiri Pandits.

The Jammu and Kashmir High Court, however, dismissed a petition on Tuesday that sought to include Kashmiri Hindus and Sikhs into the jobs scheme for Kashmiri Pandits.

The court said every Hindu resident of Kashmir valley is not a Kashmiri Pandit as Pandits have their separate identity and other Hindu castes cannot be treated as Kashmiri Pandits.

“Jammu and Kashmir administration denied us the right (to jobs scheme) on the grounds that Kashmiri Hindus, Rajputs and Kshatriyas do not fall under the Kashmiri Pandit category. The court was our only hope, but the decision was not in our favour,” said Mr Kumar, a Kashmiri Hindu.

“The court said Kashmiri Pandits and Rajputs are different. Our community has been discriminated against. We want justice,” Mr Kumar said.

Under the Prime Minister’s special employment scheme, some 6,000 government jobs were announced for migrant Kashmiri Pandits in 2009. While 4,000 posts have been filled, 2,000 jobs were recently advertised by the Jammu and Kashmir Service Selection Board.

The controversy started after the centre included non-migrant Pandits in the recruitment package last year. The Hindu groups and Sikhs also demanded their inclusion as they equally suffered during the turmoil and never migrated from Kashmir valley.

The Kashmiri Sikhs say they will go to the Supreme Court as the government’s policy to reserve jobs for only one specific community is a clear discrimination.

“Everyone has suffered here, not just one community. Majority and minority have suffered. Minority include Hindus, Pandits and Sikhs. But when you single out Kashmiri Pandit community and say only they have suffered, it is sheer injustice. I’m taking up this case with the Supreme Court,” said Jagmohan Singh Raina, chairman of the All Sikh Coordination Committee.

In the judgment, Justice Sanjeev Kumar said, “Kashmiri Pandits is a separately identifiable community distinct from other Hindus residing in the valley like Rajputs, Brahmins, Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and many others.”

“It is thus difficult to accept the contention of the petitioners who are mostly Kshatriyas, Rajputs, Scheduled Castes and non-Kashmiri Brahmins that they should be treated as Kashmiri Pandits and admitted to the benefits of the Prime Minister’s revised package for return and rehabilitation of Kashmiri migrants,” the high court said.

Kashmiri Pandits welcomed the judgment. They say it is line with Kashmiri Pandit identity, which is distinct from the larger Hindu identity.

“We have a separate identity, culture. Our rituals are different from the rest of the people. If you look at it, the Hindus, even if they live in Kashmir, don’t follow Nilmat Puran Kashmiri Pandit rituals, which are altogether different than the rest of the people following larger Hinduism,” said Satish Mahaldar, Kashmiri Pandit leader.

The petitioners still maintain that if the Prime Minister’s package is meant for those who lived through periods of extreme violence and terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir, then people from all sections of society have suffered and should be included.

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Amarinder Singh On Backfoot? Congress Calls Key Meeting Of Punjab MLAs – dot newz




The 117-member Punjab assembly will vote early next year (File)

New Delhi:

There is fresh sparking in the Punjab unit of the Congress. Citing “representation from a large number of MLAs”, the Congress, in a late night tweet, has called for a key meeting of its Punjab legislators today.

“The AICC has received a representation from a large number of MLAs from the Congress party, requesting to immediately convene a meeting of the Congress Legislature Party (CLP) of Punjab. Accordingly, a meeting of the CLP has been convened at 5 PM on September 18 at Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee office.

“AICC directs the PPCC to facilitate this meeting. All congress MLAs of Punjab are requested to kindly attend this meeting,” Harish Rawat, Congress’s Punjab in-charge, tweeted Friday night.

Mr Rawat also tagged Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, Chief Minister Amarinder Singh and Punjab Congress chief Navjot Singh Sidhu in his tweet.

Navjot Sidhu, who continues to take potshots at his Chief Minister, retweeted Harish Rawat, then tweeted, and repeated, that a meeting has been called.

“As per the AICC directive, Congress Legislature Party meeting has been convened at @INCPunjab PPCC Office, Chandigarh on 18 September 2021 (Saturday) 5 PM,” said Mr Sidhu.

Harish Chaudhary and Ajay Maken will be the central observers for the Punjab meeting.

There has been no reaction from Captain Amarinder Singh so far.

Last month, four ministers and around two dozen party legislators had raised a squadron of complaints against the Punjab Chief Minister and said that they had no faith in his ability to honour poll promises.

The Congress has been papering over the differences between the two top leaders in the state unit, telegraphing a message of unity and cooperation.

As recently as September 8, Mr Rawat, speaking to news agency ANI, said that the people assume party leaders in Punjab are fighting because the ”brave” leaders put forward their opinion strongly.

“Punjab is the land of braves. People there put their opinion very strongly there and it looks like they will fight. But, there is nothing like that, and they find solutions to their problems. Punjab Congress is solving their issues themselves. We are not doing anything,” the Congress leader said.

When asked about the relation between Amarinder Singh and Mr Sidhu, Mr Rawat said, “If there would be a dispute, it would be good for Congress.”

The BJP, in a sharp contrast, has replaced four chief ministers in six months. Most recently Vijay Rupani quit as Gujarat Chief Minister a year ahead of polls.. His resignation follows that of BS Yediyurappa in Karnataka in July and a double blow in Uttarakhand, where Tirath Singh Rawat quit barely four months after replacing Trivendra Rawat.

Both Gujarat and Uttarakhand will vote for new governments next year.

Cricketer-turned-politician Navjot Singh Sidhu was declared the Punjab Congress chief in July after weeks of infighting and in face of strong opposition by Captain Amarinder Singh. He has been a vehement critic of the state government.

Even after a month of assuming the new role, Mr Sidhu keeps pulling up the government for not fulfilling the pre-poll promises.

The Congress, which has only a skinny group of states in its kitty, has been battling leadership issues in Punjab, which is quickly turning into a political sinkhole for the grand old party.

The 117-member Punjab assembly will vote early next year.

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