Indian media: 'Aggressive Rahul'

Media and politicians were surprised by Rahul Gandhi's "aggressiveness" in parliament Image copyright AFP
Image caption Media and politicians were surprised by Rahul Gandhi's 'aggressiveness' in parliament

Media are commenting that Wednesday's disruption of parliament by Rahul Gandhi, vice president of India's main opposition Congress party, was meant to send a signal that the government would not have an easy time despite its majority.

Some papers, however, see it as a move by the young leader to reassert his influence in the party after it lost badly in the parliamentary elections in May.

"Often accused of being inactive in parliament… Rahul Gandhi for the first time stormed the well of the house with other opposition MPs, demanding a discussion on 'rising incidents of communal violence in the country'," The Indian Express reports.

According to the Deccan Herald, "Rahul's aggressiveness" is "being watched as an attempt to let the government know that the honeymoon period is over".

But the daily adds that his "diatribe" was also being interpreted as "an attempt to send a clear message to sort out discordant voices in the party which were being raised post the electoral debacle". The Deccan Herald explains that "a section of the Congress wants Rahul's sister Priyanka to shed her reluctance and take active part in politics".

The Hindu notes that politicians from the ruling BJP party also described Rahul's "rare aggression" as a "reflection of his 'frustration' with some Congress leaders rooting for his sister Priyanka in a leadership role after the party's humiliating defeat" in the parliamentary polls.

"Can Priyanka cope? Of course," exclaims the Deccan Chronicle in its editorial. "The party needs a new binding force and symbol, and Rahul, it is clear, does not hanker after office," argues the daily.

"Congress might believe that it must become more aggressive to prevent the government from taking credit for constructive legislations. However, this strategy will not pay in the long run," warns The Times of India.

It advises that "instead of leading his MPs in disrupting parliament, Rahul should urge his party to become a constructive opposition".

Ebola threat

Meanwhile, Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan has said that because of the outbreak of Ebola, which is spreading rapidly in West Africa, "it is recommended that non-essential travel" to the region "be deferred till such time that the situation is brought under control", The Hindu reports.

According to the ministry of external affairs there are about 4,700 Indians in the Republic of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone from where the maximum cases of infection are registered.

"Delhi wakes up to Ebola," says The Telegraph in a headline. It quotes the health minister as saying that people travelling to India from these countries will need to report to immigration authorities when they arrive.

"The surveillance system will be geared up to track these travellers for up to four weeks to detect the illness early if they develop symptoms," the minister explained.

The Deccan Chronicle, however, warns that "by setting up airport scanners and getting all airport employees to wear masks at arrival halls and other such precautions, we are only likely to raise the scare scenario further."

Green rules eased

The environment ministry has relaxed rules for new mining, roads, power and irrigation projects in order to attract investment, the Business Standard reports.

With this move, the government has "diluted a host of regulations related to environment, forest and tribal rights," says the paper.

The cabinet has also amended the environment impact assessment notification of 2006, "letting several industries up to a certain size go to state governments for clearance", instead of approaching the federal government, the report adds.

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