Congress after Sonia Gandhi; Terror strikes Somalia; Monsoon spoils Kharif crops

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Opinion Watch

Congress finally will have a new president by September 20. The party’s working president Sonia Gandhi had set the tone at the Chintan Shivir that “extraordinary times require extraordinary response”, and that sets the backdrop in which the process of electing the new chief has begun in the party, noted an editorial of The Times of India.

Congress for decades has beseeched Gandhis for leadership. But Rahul Gandhi after his disastrous tenure as chief of the party rather prefers a remote-control.

The daily has stressed on the power play in the opposition party, for the old guards front Sonia Gandhi to protect their interests, while Rahul Gandhi followers call the shots in the affairs of the states.

ToI has taken note of drift of seniors within party, as Ghulam Nabi Azad and Anand Sharma, both Rajya Sabha veterans, have quit their positions in the party in Jammu and Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh. The two states are closer to high stake polls.

If the Chintan Shivir deliberations are taking seriously, Congress may get a non-Gandhi chief. But that would amount to altering the DNA of Congress. Jairam Ramesh and Shashi Tharoor are seen to be underutilized talents of Congress.

The daily has referred to internal democracy in the UK and the US strengthening political parties. The daily indeed sounds naïve, for there’s no political party in India which has even a bare minimum credible internal democracy.

Terror strikes Somalia  

The world has acted with ‘pick and choose’ approach to deal with terrorism, and in some instances opted to do business with them, as the case is with the Taliban in Afghanistan.

This incentivizes terrorism, and humanity pays dearly in many parts of the world.

The Hindu in its Edit commented on terror strike in Somalia, a strife-torn country in the Horn of Africa, which has over the decades become symbol of extreme poverty and malnutrition.

The daily grimly reminded the grave risk faced by Somalian President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud’s resolve to ideologically, financially, and militarily defeat violent extremists.

The siege of an upscale hotel in its capital Mogadishu had left 20 dead.

The daily underlined that the al-Qaeda affiliated al-Shabab is in control of several parts of the southern and central parts of Somalia, while gaining in strength.

More baffling is the fact stated by the editorial that al-Shabab earns more revenue than the government in Somalia, while the terror outfit was born out of the chaos following the collapse of the regime led by the dictator General Siad Barre in 1991.

The daily rightly calls for the international donors to back the incumbent government in its fight against al-Shabab.

But it’s worthwhile to ponder what exactly the United Nations Security Council does, for it mostly watches as a spectator the deathly trails of terrorism in many parts of the world.

Monsoon spoils Kharif crops

The July monthly review of the Finance Ministry had majorly banked on better Kharif productions to spur rural demand and moderation in inflation.

The Economic Times in its Edit has given a reality check by stating that the area under cultivation of rice, urad and tuvar is down by an average of 52 per cent from last year. They are major Kharif crops.

The daily noted that Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, and Jharkhand accounted for dip in the area. Jharkhand is in a spate of severe drought. Bihar and UP saw uneven and inadequate Monsoon rains.

The ET, however, commented that there’s enough rice stock, while Tamil Nadu, West Bengal and Assam grow rice as Rabi crops, which may offset the Kharif losses.

“…overall foodgrain stocks stood at 67.6 million tonnes on August 1, the lowest in four years. Of this, wheat stocks stood at 26.6 million tonnes, the lowest in 14 years,” added the ET.

The world has blind-folded walked into climate change induced spells of floods and droughts, leaving many countries staring at acute food crisis.

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