Gearing up for the coming Gujarat Assembly elections, the Congress on Thursday announced the constitution of a screening committee for selecting candidates.The panel will be headed by Balasaheb Thorat, former Maharashtra Minister, and it will also have three members. “Congress president Sonia Gandhi has constituted the screening committee for the Gujarat Assembly elections, with Mr. Thorat as its chairman. Former MP Meenakshi Natarajan, Congress Legislature Party leader in U.P. Ajay Lallu and AICC Secretary Girish Chodankar will be its members,” AICC general secretary Janardan Dwivedi said in a statement. The party has already set up various committees, including the State election committee headed by PCC chief Bharatsinh Solanki, for the polls.The Congress, which has been out of power in Gujarat for the past two decades, is very keen to wrest power from the BJP.Though the party is buoyed by the recent Rajya Sabha election results, it has suffered a blow recently when Shankarsinh Vaghela quit the Congress along with some MLAs.The Congress would soon launch campaign and vice-president Rahul Gandhi will attend a workers’ conference in Ahmedabad on September 4.
A resolution seeking creation of a Legislative Council in Odisha was passed in the State Assembly on Thursday.The resolution moved by State Parliamentary Affairs Minister Bikram Keshari Arukha was passed with as many as 104 of the total 147 legislators casting their votes in its favour. The ruling Biju Janata Dal has 117 members in the House.The legislators of opposition Congress and BJP staged a walkout before the resolution was put to vote. While Congress had opposed the idea of creation of the Council, the BJP had alleged that the government was moving ahead with the proposal to accommodate the sitting BJD legislators who will not be given tickets to contest the 2019 elections.The resolution will be sent to the Centre for approval of Parliament to facilitate creation of the Legislative Council.Wider consultationsAfter the passing of the resolution, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik said the creation of the Council will be of great help as wider consultations are required to accelerate the growth momentum that the State has picked up.A proposal for creation of the Legislative Council in Odisha was passed by the State Cabinet on August 24.The proposed Council will have 49 members, which is one-third of the total members of the State Assembly.The Odisha government had set up a committee in 2015 to study the Legislative Councils in other States and recommend for establishment of one in the State.