• Special Report
  • Chhattisgrh


  • Infighting flares up in U’khand Congress

    The game of one-upmanship rages between the camps of ex-CM Harish Rawat & state Cong chief Pritam Singh

    A high-voltage fight for supremacy seems to be raging in the Uttarakhand Congress.

    A group of Congress leaders held a press conference at Haldwani on Saturday to declare that the All India Congress Committee (AICC) general secretary and former Uttarakhand chief minister, Harish Rawat, would be the party’s face in the next state Assembly elections in 2022. These state Congress leaders included Rajya Sabha member Pradeep Tamta and other supporters of Rawat.

    Even in the 2017 state Assembly polls, Rawat, the then incumbent CM, was the Congress’s face, with the party then choosing to fight the polls under his leadership. The Congress had then made an appeal to state voters to provide a full five-year term to Rawat again.

    However, that appeal failed to woo the voters and the Congress suffered the worst-ever defeat in Assembly elections in Uttarakhand by getting reduced to 11 seats. Rawat also failed miserably to save himself and lost from both the seats that he had contested.

    The Saturday press conference is being looked at as a “pressure tactic” being applied by Rawat’s supporters. The infighting in the Uttarakhand Congress is growing now, with the rival camps of Rawat and Uttarakhand Congress president Pritam Singh being at loggerheads.

    Rawat also seems to be losing his cool, seeking to share his “anguish” on social media. Hitting out at his rivals within the state Congress for asking him to retire from politics, the veteran leader made a sarcastic remark, stating that “I am thankful to the kids who are making me count the elections I have lost. Some of these warriors learned a few lessons at RSS classes and are applying the theories to me. They took birth when I had lost the first election and was getting ready to fight the next polls. Some bluff masters, who never contest ward elections, are making me count my election defeats.”

    In its reaction to the Saturday press conference held by the Rawat faction, the Pritam Singh camp sought to downplay it while claiming that the Uttarakhand Congress was “united” and that each election is contested by the party under someone’s leadership. By going ahead with such a press conference, the Rawat camp might have taken its rival group by surprise. This is, however, likely to fuel infighting in the Uttarakhand Congress in the coming days.


  • France Covid-19 hospitalisations further decline

    People can go out for exercises for up to three hours a day and within a 20 km radius of their homes instead of 1 km and only for an hour.

    Covid-19 hospitalizations in France have further declined as the country, one of the hardest-hit by the pandemic in Europe, started a three-stage lockdown exit.

    On Saturday, a total of 28,168 infected patients remained in hospitals, down by 480, consolidating a downward trend reported since mid-November, reports Xinhua news agency.

    Meanwhile, 3,777 patients are in intensive care, compared to 3,883 on Friday, according to official data.

    Also on Saturday, another 12,580 people tested positive for the virus which increased the overall caseload to 2,208,699.

    The death toll rose to 52,127 with 213 new fatalities reported in the past 24 hours.

    On Saturday, France started the first phase of its three-stage reopening strategy.

    All non-essential shops resumed their activities under strict health protocol: providing at least 8 square metres of shop floor for each client, one-way circulation and sufficient ventilation.

    Indoor religious services with 30 worshippers are allowed.

    People can go out for exercises for up to three hours a day and within a 20 km radius of their homes instead of 1 km and only for an hour.

    They, however, should continue to sign a document to go out.

    The second stage of the government’s plan to return to normalcy is scheduled for December 15 if the number of daily confirmed cases is brought to under 5,000 per day.

    The confinement will then be lifted, but a 9 p.m. to 7 a.m. curfew will apply to the whole country except on December 24 and 31.

    Theatres and museums will reopen provided they reinforce the health protocol.

    Restaurants, bars, cafes and gyms would have to stay shut until January 20 to avoid the virus resurgence.