By-election blues

Premchand Guddu, former Member of Parliament from Ujjain, recently returned to the Congress. Guddu, a trusted Congress hand, was unhappy with then party leader Jyotiraditya Scindia and had switched over to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) right before the Madhya Pradesh Assembly elections in 2018. After the ghar wapsi, he is expected to contest from Sanwer during the coming by-elections, which will take place in 24 Assembly seats. They were necessitated because of the death of two MLAs and 22 Congress legislators resigning. The Congress will field big guns like Ajay Singh Rahul, Meenakshi Natarajan, and Guddu. But the behaviour of Kamal Nath, former chief minister and Pradesh Congress Committee chief, is intriguing. According to sources, he has not visited the party office for over a year now. “Is that the way to win the crucial by-elections,” asked a party leader.

Comedy of errors

The Centre on Monday withdrew an order disallowing the sale of 1,026 products at the of central armed police forces. The order was in accordance with the Prime Minister’s call for Aatmanirbhar Bharat (self-reliant India). It said these products were not manufactured in India and only swadeshi products would be sold. It was, however, found that the circular delisted several products manufactured in India. They included fruit juices from Dabur, Usha sewing machines, Prestige rice cookers, and Bajaj table fans. The government clarified on Monday the list, issued by the Kendriya Police Kalyan Bhandar on May 29, stood withdrawn and action would be initiated for the lapse.

To meet or not to meet

Uncertainty persisted over whether parliamentary standing committees would resume their meetings anytime soon. The meeting of the standing committee on home affairs, with social distancing norms ensured, was scheduled for June 3. It has now been postponed after members expressed their inability to travel to New Delhi because of quarantine rules in some states. Congress leader sought permission for these members to join the meeting online. Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu denied it. Naidu and Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla discussed the issue on Monday and concluded they were not empowered to suspend rules on confidentiality of committee meetings. The Rules Committee of the two Houses will now study the issue.


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