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Cong appoints dynasts as spokespersons, insiders unhappy with decision

Some leaders, however, defended the party by pointing out that most other national spokespersons in the party were non-dynasts

Business Standard 

Sonia Gandhi
Sonia Gandhi

A couple of appointments the announced on Monday set tongues wagging within the party about how it was oblivious of the public mood about the party being the symbol of dynastic politics. communications department chief Randeep Singh Surjewala issued a statement saying President has approved the appointments of Sharmistha Mukherjee and Anshul Meira Kumar as national spokespersons of the party. Mukherjee is the daughter of former president Pranab Mukherjee. Kumar is the son of Congress leader and former Lok Sabha speaker Meira Kumar. Some leaders, however, defended the party by pointing out that most other national spokespersons in the party were non-dynasts, but agreed that the optics of Monday's announcement could have been better.

Resisting demotion

The Communist Party of India (CPI), Trinamool Congress, and Nationalist Congress Party on Monday urged the Election Commission not to take away their "national party" status, saying they should be given a fresh opportunity to improve their electoral performance. They told the Commission they were old parties and had played a key role in national politics. Hence, their status should not be based on recent electoral performance only. The Election Commission had earlier issued them notices, asking why their “national party” status should not be revoked following their performance in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. The CPI is learnt to have said that after the Congress, it is the oldest party in the country and had been the principal opposition party in the Lok Sabha. The Trinamool is believed to have said that it was given national party status in 2014 and it should be allowed to continue with it till at least 2024. The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) escaped the fate of the three after it won 10 Lok Sabha seats and some assembly seats in not just Uttar Pradesh but also Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, and some other states.

Isro’s other problem

As the Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) continued its efforts to establish link with Chandrayaan-2’s Vikram lander, now lying on the lunar surface after a hard-landing, it faced another task — to fight fake social media pages in the name of Isro and its chairman, K Sivan. The pages sprang up and started spreading rumours. One such Twitter account boasting 4,000 followers was deleted on Monday, but new ones popped up, claiming to be the "official", "real" Twitter handles of Isro and its chairman. As these accounts started getting traction, Isro issued a clarification that the chairman did not have a personal account on any social media platform and all information on all such accounts were fake.

First Published: Mon, September 09 2019. 22:22 IST