Kamal Nath, Cong ace troubleshooter, deputed by Sonia for MVA firefighting

The Indian Express | 2 weeks ago | 21-06-2022 | 10:50 pm

Kamal Nath, Cong ace troubleshooter, deputed by Sonia for MVA firefighting

Amid the crisis gripping the Shiv Sena-led Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government in Maharashtra after senior Sena leader and minister Eknath Shinde along with his about 20 party MLAs shifted to a hotel in Gujarat’s Surat, Congress president Sonia Gandhi Tuesday deputed senior party leader and ex-Madhya Pradesh chief minister Kamal Nath as the All India Congress Committee (AICC) observer in the state. The Congress is part of the MVA alliance along with the Sharad Pawar-led NCP.Shinde’s rebellion has dealt a severe blow to the Sena, posing a grave threat to the MVA government’s survival and continuance.“The Congress president has deputed Kamal Nath as AICC observer in Maharashtra in the wake of recent political developments in the state, with immediate effect,” said a statement issued by K C Venugopal, the AICC general secretary in charge of organisation.A veteran parliamentarian and ex-Union minister, the 75-year-old Madhya Pradesh Congress Committee (MPCC) president, Kamal Nath, has been a key party trouble-shooter, emerging as the grand old party’s go-to man for handling various crises especially after the demise of its principal troubleshooter Ahmed Patel in November 2020.Apart from Pawar and Patel, Nath had played a crucial role in forging the MVA coalition in November 2019 in collaboration with Sena president Uddhav Thackeray, who became the Chief Minister.According to Congress insiders, with the NCP and the Congress then going back and forth over joining hands with the Sena, it was Nath who had cemented their bonds by convincing them with his argument that unlike the BJP the Sena did not have umbilical links with the RSS.Many Congress leaders believe that Nath is the only senior leader in the party who could fill the huge void created by Patel’s departure to some degree.In the context of the raging MVA crisis, Nath is being seen as perhaps the only one among the Congress’s old guard leaders, who has the heft and skills to deal with it in coordination with Pawar and Uddhav.After being appointed as the MPCC chief just seven months before the November 2018 Assembly elections, Nath steered the party to victory after an electoral drought of 15 years in the state. He took over as the CM and remained in office till March 2020, when he was forced to resign following the defection of a group of Congress MLAs affiliated to his then party rival Jyotiraditya Scindia to the BJP.An astute politician who has worked with the three generations of Gandhis – Indira, Rajiv, Sonia and Rahul – Nath, who was born in Kanpur to an established business family, is at the other end of the spectrum from the MP CM and senior BJP leader, Shivraj Singh Chouhan, whose roots are in an OBC agrarian family in Vidisha near Bhopal.After being appointed as the MPCC president, Nath had to initially deal with the tag of being an outsider to the state politics. Brought up in Kolkata, Nath had never dabbled in state politics prior to this assignment.Born to a Brahmin family, he has represented the tribal-dominated Chhindwara in the Lok Sabha as well as the state Assembly for over four decades. He is seen as a money-bag politician, who has a close association with several big industrial houses.As the environment minister in the PV Narasimha Rao government, he had earned accolades during the Earth Summit in 1992 at Rio de Janeiro for safeguarding the rights of farmers.Nath’s relationship with Madhya Pradesh could be traced to 1980, when then Congress chief Indira Gandhi had described him as her “third son” in Chhindwara.Besides being among Sanjay Gandhi’s close friends, Nath was also one of Rajiv Gandhi’s trusted lieutenants, tasked with managing allies and the Opposition as he had wide acceptability. He served as a minister with various portfolios in the Cabinets of former PM late Narasimha Rao and ex-PM Manmohan Singh.(With ENS inputs)

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Times of India | 7 hours ago | 06-07-2022 | 08:18 am
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Gujarat, UP & MP demand full quota of NFSA wheat
Gujarat: Over 600 Congress, AAP workers from tribal districts join BJP
The Indian Express | 9 hours ago | 06-07-2022 | 05:50 am
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The Indian Express | 9 hours ago | 06-07-2022 | 05:50 am
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9 hours ago | 06-07-2022 | 05:50 am

Pointing out that the two Vande Bharat trains launched in 2019 have travelled 14 lakh kilometres and “proven” themselves, Union Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw Tuesday said the Indian Railways will launch an upgraded second version of the semi-high-speed trains in August 2022.Interacting with media persons at the Entrepreneurship Development Institute of India (EDII) at Gandhinagar, the minister said, “The plan for Vande Bharat trains were given by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2017 and the first two trains started operating in 2019. So far, both the trains have travelled 14 lakh kilometres… Last year, 75 more trains have been approved that are under production.”The Indian Railways operates Vande Bharat Express from New Delhi to Varanasi and from New Delhi to Shri Mata Vaishnodevi Katra.Adding that the second and third versions of Vande Bharat trains will use better technology, Vaishnaw said the Vande Bharat trains currently run at 160 kilometres per hour and the second version will touch 180 kilometres per hour and the third version of the train will travel at 220 kilometres per hour.“We will start the roll out of Vande Bharat-2 train or the second version of the trains in August 2022,” he said adding that five-six trains will be rolled out every month after the launch. “The second version of Vande Bharat will have air springs (between the coach and the wheels) and will improve the ride quality manifold,” Vaishnaw added.The minister said once the first batch of 75 Vande Bharat trains are launched, the Indian Railways will launch more. “Of the proposed 400 trains, about 250 will be the second version of Vande Bharat trains and then the third version will introduced,” he added.The Railway minister who was at EDII for an interaction on start-ups said Vande Bharat trains will be operated on new routes and in some places, it will replace existing trains. “Bullet train takes 55 seconds to reach from 0-100 kilometers per hour. A similar technology has been ised in these trains and it has been designed in India. It takes only 54 seconds to reach from.0-100 kms per hour. It has a good acceleration. Its shock absorbers are also very good,” he added.Bullet train projectTalking about the bullet train project, Vaishnaw said the project will pick up speed with a new government in Maharashtra. “The earlier government in Maharashtra was not in favour of this project. But now that people have changed the government, the progress will happen,” he added.“Good progress is being made in the bullet train project. So far, pillars on 70 kilometres of the route on Vapi-Ahmedabad section, have been built. The work on this section began first, as we got the land. Foundations for pillars have been laid on 160 kilometres in this section,” he said work on the 8-9 bridges and stations were also under way.“The first bullet train section from Surat to Billimora is targeted to become operation by 2026. The first bullet train section made by China was 113 kilometres between Beijing and Tianjing. Our section between Ahmedabad and Vapi is 352 kilometres,” he said.Station redevelopmentThe minister said a masterplan for developing 370 stations have been made and tenders for 45 stations have been issued. He said the learnings from the pilot projects for station redevelopment at Gandhinagar, Bhopal and Bengaluru have been incorporated into new redevelopment. Surat, Ahmedabad, Vadodara, Navsari, Rajkot, Vapi, Bharuch, Bilimora, Anand, Nadiad, Ankleshwar, Udhana, Gandhidham, Palanpur, Jamnagar and New Bhuj will be the 16 stations that will be redeveloped in Gujarat. Apart from this, a new station building has been constructed at Vadnagar station and Chhayapuri is being developed as a new satellite station near Vadodara.The railway minister also said that tenders for installing ingenious anti-collision device “Kavach” have been issued for 3,000 kilometres of railway tracks.

Launch of second version of Vande Bharat trains by August: Ashwini Vaishnaw