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Back to the future for the Congress

National Herald (NH), started in Lucknow in 1938 by Jawaharlal Nehru, was “relaunched” in digital format in Bengaluru on 12 June. Bangalore may be as far from Lucknow as Kashmir is from Kanyakumari, but it made sense for the party to perform the relaunch in the capital of Karnataka where the Congress is in desperate need of political oxygen. Elections to the state assembly are due in the summer of 2018, hardly enough time to cement the internal differences in the state unit and reunite the factions to face the BJP.      

The country’s Vice President Hamid Ansari released a commemorative edition of NH to mark the 70 years of Independence in the presence of the party’s Vice President Rahul Gandhi. “The power of truth has been replaced by the reality of power (by the BJP),” Gandhi said at the function, showing off his expertise in playing with words that would have pleased his great grandfather. But would the country’s first prime minister have been happy that in the democracy he so passionately nurtured, his party is still in the grip of his dynasty’s fourth generation? 

One also wonders at what stage are the legal proceedings launched by the maverick MP, Subramanian Swamy against alleged land grab by Sonia Gandhi the properties of NH.  Dr. Swamy had alleged in a complaint filed before the Delhi trial court that the Congress leaders were involved in cheating in the acquisition of Associated Journals Ltd (AJL), publisher of NH, by Young Indian Pvt Ltd (YIL), as assets worth crores of rupees had been transferred to YIL. Swamy alleged that YIL, which has Congress president Sonia and Rahul  on its board of directors, had taken over the assets of the defunct print media outlet maliciously to gain profit and property worth over Rs 2000 crore. Apart from the Gandhis, Congress treasurer Motilal Vora, general secretary Oscar Fernandes, journalist Suman Dubey and technocrat Sam Pitroda were also named in the case.

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