Power Games: Missing Maulana sends party in a quandary

The Congress issued a full-page advertisement on the front pages of newspapers across the country on the last day of its plenary at Raipur.

Published: 27th February 2023 07:38 AM  |   Last Updated: 27th February 2023 07:57 AM   |  A+A-

An Image of the advertisement used for representative purposes only.

Express News Service

Congress Goof-up
Missing Maulana sends party in a quandary

The Congress issued a full-page advertisement on the front pages of newspapers across the country on the last day of its plenary at Raipur. The advertisement displayed pictures of the party’s leading lights since its inception 137 years back. Gandhi, Nehru, Patel, Ambedkar, Bose, Sarojini Naidu, Shastri, Indira, Rajiv, Narasimha Rao, Manmohan, Sonia, Kharge, and Rahul appeared in the advertisement. But Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, who has been part of the Congress pantheon and history, was missing. This caused a huge backlash with leading centrist figures, including writers, politicians and journalists asking the Congress if the party’s decision to drop the Maulana from the list of prominent leaders was a deliberate act.

Noting the absence of the Maulana, former general secretary of the Editors Guild of India Sanjay Kapoor asked Congress president on Twitter to “put Maulana again in this gallery of leaders who built India and the Congress” and said, “or do you think that he is not needed when taking on the BJP in 2024”. Educationist and former Abul Kalam Azad chair at the National Institute of Educational Planning and Administration Syed Irfan Habib posted the Congress advertisement on Twitter and said “sadly, I don’t see Maulana Azad here. I think he was an important Congressman who deserved a place among these luminaries.” Bahujan Samaj MP Kunwar Danish Ali tweeted, “Rahul Gandhi will have to confront and clean RSS elements in his party who are responsible for such a self-goal.”

The quick and widespread outrage forced the Congress party’s communications department head Jairam Ramesh to apologise. He tweeted: “Today an ad released by INC did not carry a photograph of Maulana Azad. It was an inexcusable slip-up. Responsibility for it is being fixed and action will be taken. Meanwhile, this is a most sincere apology from us. He will always remain an iconic and inspiring figure for us and India.” It has, however, been pointed out that the responsibility of clearing these advertisements lies with Jairam Ramesh who heads the communications department. So who will he act against?

Make In India
Indian companies protest waiver for outsiders

Indian companies are up in arms over Army Headquarters’ decision to allow the India subsidiary of German company Rohde & Schwarz GmbH & Co KG to participate in a tender for the supply of portable monitoring receiver (PMR) without having an industrial licence. The PMR is a highly-secured tactical electronic warfare system used by the Army and other forces for spectrum surveillance and intelligence gathering. Indian Army issued a restricted fast-track tender in October 2022 to several domestic companies for supplying 36 PMR systems costing Rs 300 crore in one year. The Indian subsidiary of the German defence company was declared the lowest bidder last month.

Indian companies that participated in the tender were surprised to find the German company’s subsidiary among the participants. They have written to the chairman of the empowered committee (EC) for this procurement stating that the India subsidiary of Rohde & Schwarz GmbH & Co KG does not have an industrial license for this product. “The India defence equipment procurement is governed by the Defence Acquisition Procedure-2020 which provides clear guidelines for shortlisting/pre-qualification for vendors. The guidelines include a requirement of industrial licence for certain items.

Press Note 1 issued by the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion of the Union ministry of commerce and industry provides a list of defence items requiring an industrial licence. The procurement under this RFP falls under this list mandating the availability of industrial licence with the prospective bidders,” the EC chairman was informed by one of the Indian companies. It said that in spite of the fact that it was mandatory to have an industrial licence for participating in this tender, the same was not called for in the RFP. The EC chairman has been asked not to ignore this “serious lapse” by the Army Headquarters and withdraw the tender.


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