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Rahul Gandhi Says “Will Consider” Becoming Congress Chief Again At Meet – dot newz

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Rahul Gandhi took over as Congress chief from his mother in 2017 and quit in 2019 (File)

New Delhi:

Rahul Gandhi “will consider” returning as Congress President, sources said Saturday afternoon after it emerged that several senior leaders, including the chief ministers of Punjab, Rajasthan, and Chhattisgarh, as well as former Defence Minister AK Antony, urged the Kerala MP to come back.

Statements urging Mr Gandhi’s return as party boss were made at today’s Congress Working Committee meeting, which sources said had all but finalised a schedule for full-scale organisational polls – which includes choosing a new President – to be held by September next year.

Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Channi reportedly urged Mr Gandhi to take charge of the party now.

“I will consider…” Mr Gandhi replied, according to sources.

Rahul Gandhi quit as Congress chief two years ago after the party’s horrendous showing in the 2019 Lok Sabha election; his resignation threw the party into a leadership crisis from which it has yet to fully recover and prompted the reinstatement of his mother, Sonia Gandhi, as interim chief.

Mr Gandhi had taken over from his mother, who’d led the party for 19 years, in 2017.

This is far from the first time that Mr Gandhi has been urged to come back.

As he quit in 2019 Mr Gandhi had called on someone not from the Nehru-Gandhi to lead the party (unthinkable in the eyes of some loyalists), and remained firm in his decision despite several appeals.

Congress leaders periodically urged him to return; in December last year, Randeep Surjewala declared “99.9 per cent want Rahul Gandhi as Congress President” and, in January, the Delhi unit of the party passed a resolution asking him to take back the reigns.

Today’s calls also come as Mrs Gandhi underlined her position as a “full-time and hands-on Congress President”; she was responding to critics – such as the ‘G-23’ – who have been pushing for an organisational overhaul and the election of “visible and effective leadership”.

Mrs Gandhi, who has previously stressed her reluctance to continue in the top post for longer than absolutely necessary, made number of pointed statements, including telling critics that a revival of the Congress was welcomed but “requires unity and keeping the party’s interests paramount”.

The ‘G-23’ was the name given to a group of senior Congress leaders, including veterans like Kapil Sibal, Anand Sharma, Shashi Tharoor and Ghulam Nabi Azad, who have questioned the Gandhi family’s leadership and called for sweeping organisational changes.

The group wrote to Mrs Gandhi last year – the letter triggered a civil war-like situation within the Congress, with Gandhi loyalists hitting out at the dissenting leaders.

Mrs Gandhi met the dissenting group last year and changes (including the election) were discussed.



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High Altitude Areas In Uttarakhand Receive Season’s First Snowfall – dot newz

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The sky remained overcast in the plains with isolated light showers at several places (File)

Dehradun:

The Himalayan temple of Kedarnath and the high altitude areas of Chamoli district received the season’s first snowfall on Thursday while it drizzled in the lower areas intensifying the chill across the state.

Besides the Kedarnath shrine in Rudraprayag district, the Musk Deer Park, Valley of Flowers and the Nanda Devi National Park in Chamoli district also received snowfall, officials in Dehradun said.

The sky remained overcast in the plains with isolated light showers at several places, including state capital Dehradun.

The temperature recorded in Dehradun on Thursday was 15.4 degrees Celsius, Tehri 10 degrees Celsius, Pantnagar 18.4 degrees Celsius, Mukteshwar 8.4 degrees Celsius and Almora 13.4 degrees Celsius, the MeT Department in Dehradun said.



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37 Years On, Bhopal Gas Tragedy Victims Still Await Adequate Compensation – dot newz

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“In 1984, Congress was in power in Madhya Pradesh and at Centre”: Bhopal Gas Tragedy Minister

Bhopal:

Thirty-seven years after the Bhopal gas tragedy, termed as the world’s worst industrial disaster, the survivors and the family of the dead are still waiting to be compensated fairly with an organisation working for them claiming that each victim has so far received less than one-fifth of the allotted sum.

The leak of methyl isocyanate, a toxic gas, from the pesticide plant of Union Carbide on the intervening night of December 2 and 3, 1984, had killed over 3,000 people and left 1.02 lakh others affected at that time. However, the number of affected later rose to over 5.70 lakh.

Talking to PTI, Madhya Pradesh’s Bhopal Gas Tragedy Relief and Rehabilitation Minister Vishvas Sarang said, “In 1984, the Congress was in power in Madhya Pradesh and at the Centre. The two governments did not put forth the case of the victims in a right manner to enable them to get more compensation.”

Bhopal Gas Peedith Sangharsh Sahayog Samiti (BGPSSS) co-convener ND Jayaprakash said the Supreme Court assisted settlement on February 14-15, 1989 worth Rs 705 crore was based on the assumption that only around 3,000 persons died and 1,02,000 were affected.

“This compensation was a complete sham as each gas victim ended up being given less than one-fifth of the sum allotted even as per the terms of that unjust settlement,” he added.

When asked to explain, he said that the financial aid was USD 470 million in 1989. The dollars turned into more than Rs 3,000 crore in 2004, when the disbursements started.

“But the number of the victims swelled to 5.73 lakh and this amount was distributed among them. So, each victim got one-fifth of the compensation,” he added.

“The failure on the part of the Supreme Court to hear the long-pending curative petition against the unjust settlement of 1989, has had an adverse impact on the interests of the gas victims,” he said in a media statement.

The curative petition (civil), which was filed by the Union of India on December 3, 2010 to challenge the unjust settlement of 1989 and to seek additional sum of at least another Rs 7,724 crore as compensation was last listed before the Constitution Bench of the Court on January 29 last year, he said.

“However, the hearing was postponed to February 11 last year. Sadly, the matter was never listed on that date or ever since then,” he said.

Failure to dispose of the curative petition has also meant the indefinite postponement of the hearing of the Special Leave Petition (SLP) filed on March 17, 2010 by eight members of Bhopal Gas Peedith Mahila Udyog Sangathan (BGPMUS) and BGPSSS, he said.

In the SLP, the two NGOs have sought enhancement of settlement sum by a factor of five in terms of the magnitude of the disaster as assessed by the claim courts and in terms of the gravity of injuries suffered by the gas victims on the basis of their medical records, Jayaprakash said.

Failure to dispose of the pending curative petition and the SLP for over a decade has effectively denied the gas-victims several thousands of crores of additional compensation that they are legitimately entitled to, he added.

In the curative petition, the Centre has sought Rs 7,724 crore as additional funds from successor firms of US-based Union Carbide Corporation, now owned by Dow Chemicals, for giving compensation to victims of the Bhopal gas tragedy.

The Centre, in its plea, is seeking a direction to Union Carbide and other firms for Rs 7,722 crore additional amount over and above the earlier settlement amount of USD 470 million in 1989 for paying compensation to the gas tragedy victims.

On June 7, 2010, a local court had convicted seven executives of Union Carbide India Limited (UCIL) to two years of imprisonment in connection with the incident. The then UCC chairman, Warren Anderson, was the prime accused in the case but did not appear for the trial. On February 1, 1992, the Bhopal CJM court had declared him an absconder. He died in the US in 2014. 



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5 Contacts Of Bengaluru Omicron Patient Test Positive For Covid, Isolated – dot newz

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Bengaluru:

Five contacts of an Omicron patient have turned out to be Covid positive, Karnataka announced today, shortly after the Union health ministry said the first patients of the new Covid variant have been found in the state. The patients have been isolated and their samples have been sent for genome testing, Karnataka said amid concern over the highly infectious strain that has set off global alarm.

One of the two initial patients is a 46-year-old health worker from Bengaluru, who developed symptoms of fever and body ache on November 21.

He tested positive the following day and was admitted to hospital; his sample was sent for genome sequencing on the same day.  But three days later he was discharged.

After extensive contact tracing, the Karnataka government said he had 13 direct contacts and more than 250 secondary contacts.

The other confirmed Omicron patient is a 66-year-old South African national who came to India with a negative Covid report.

The man, who received both vaccine doses, tested positive on arrival and was asymptomatic, following which he was told to self-isolate.

A week later, with a negative Covid report from a private lab, he flew to Dubai. Samples from his 24 primary and 240 secondary contacts have returned negative test results.



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