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Chhattisgarh ED raids were aimed at hurting Congress leaders’ morale, writes Urdu press 

ThePrint’s round-up of how the Urdu media covered various news events through the week, and the editorial positions some of them took.

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New Delhi: The assembly elections in Nagaland, Meghalaya, and Tripura may have been the biggest news of the week, but the Congress party’s plenary session in Chhattisgarh and — the Enforcement Directorate’s (ED’s) raids on the party’s leaders before the event — also got prominent coverage from the Urdu press.  

Editorials in three major Urdu newspapers — Roznama Rashtriya Sahara, Inquilab, and Siasat — criticised the raids. 

Apart from the plenary session, the raids, and the assembly elections, other news that made the headlines were the arrest and subsequent resignation of Delhi’s Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, the Supreme Court’s hearing of the Adani-Hindenburg row and the rising price of LPG cylinders.    

ThePrint brings you a weekly snapshot of what’s making headlines in the Urdu press.

Also Read: ‘BJP wanted to win by force but was defeated by popular vote’: Urdu press on Delhi mayoral polls

Congress plenary

The Congress’s plenary session and the ED raids that preceded it got wide coverage. 

On 25 February, Sahara’s main story reported that Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge had been empowered to nominate members of the powerful working committee of the party at the Raipur plenary. The decision, the paper reported, had been taken to ensure the representation of women, youth, minorities, and people from the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes.

In an editorial, the paper referred to the ED’s raids on Congress leaders just before the plenary kicked off, saying that the BJP had been ruthlessly using central agencies to realise its dream of “Congress-mukt Bharat (Congress-free India)”. 

The party’s preferred “weapons” with which to target the opposition, the editorial said, were the ED and the CBI. The editorial claimed that 95 per cent of the ED’s 3,010 raids were directed at opposition leaders, particularly those from the Congress. The raids in Raipur could have happened a few days earlier or a few days later, the editorial said, but the intention was to disrupt the session and to lower the morale of Congress leaders.

On 26 February, Sahara reported former Congress president Sonia Gandhi as saying that minorities and Dalits were being targeted by the Modi government. The paper also quoted Gandhi as saying that she was gratified that her “innings” could conclude with the Bharat Jodo Yatra.

A day later, after the statement sparked the speculation that Gandhi was retiring from politics, Sahara reported Congress leader Alka Lamba’s clarification that such talks were misleading.

In its editorial on 27 February on the Congress’s announcement of an ‘east-to–west’ march, Siasat wrote that such yatras shouldn’t be on Rahul Gandhi’s shoulders alone and that other popular leaders in the party should also play their part. 

The editorial added that his sister Priyanka Gandhi also needs to be a part of it because it’s “not possible to win the confidence of the people by facing them only at the time of elections”. 

Assembly elections 

The assembly elections in Meghalaya, Tripura, and Nagaland remained the highlight of the week. 

On 25 February — two days before voting — a front-page story in Sahara said that there had been reports of election-related violence from some parts of Nagaland.

On 3 March, Sahara reported on its front page that the  BJP and its allies had won the elections in all three northeastern states. 

A separate story in the same paper said that the BJP had been dealt a “massive blow” in the by-election in the Kasba Peth constituency in Maharashtra’s Pune, a seat that the party lost for the first time in 28 years.  

The paper also gave front-page coverage to West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s declaration that the Trinamool Congress would fight the 2024 parliamentary elections on its own.

The same day, Siasat reported on its front page that while the BJP was set to return to power in Tripura and Nagaland, no party had an absolute majority in the Meghalaya assembly. 

Also on 3 March, Siasat, in an editorial titled ‘The issue is of opposition leadership’, wrote that Congress’s clarification that it wouldn’t force its views on leadership on other parties should be sufficient for regional parties and should be the foundation of opposition unity in India.  

With the leadership question no longer important, the paper added, the issue can be settled after elections once the situation is clearer.

The editorial was referring to Congress president Kharge’s statement that the party would neither name its prime ministerial candidate nor say who would lead an opposition alliance — a climb down from its previous stand that the party was best placed to lead a united opposition.

On 3 March, Inquilab reported on its front page that the prospect of opposition unity had received a serious blow after Mamata Banerjee announced that the Trinamool Congress would fight the 2024 elections alone.

Sisodia’s arrest

The arrest and eventual resignation of Delhi Deputy CM Manish Sisodia remained on the front pages for much of the week. 

On 27 February, Siasat reported on its front page that Sisodia had been arrested on charges of corruption in the formulation and implementation of the now-scrapped liquor policy for 2021-22. 

On 28 February, Siasat reported that the CBI remand of Sisodia had been extended till 4 March. 

In its front page lead on 1 March, Sahara wrote that the leader had resigned from the Delhi cabinet after the Supreme Court refused to entertain his bail plea. 

A photo carried alongside showed Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal with Sisodia and Satyendar Jain, another former minister who was arrested last year on charges of money laundering and who tendered his resignation on the same day. Inquilab also reported about Sisodia moving a bail plea in the Supreme Court. 

In a 3 March editorial titled ‘Is there really concrete evidence against Sisodia’, Inquilab wrote that while there has been action against rival political parties in the past, the frequency is higher under the current dispensation, which makes them suspect. 

While the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), the editorial said, would reap the benefits of the arrest, the question that would haunt them is why Sisodia resigned immediately after his arrest but Jain waited several months to do so. 

LPG cylinder, contracting growth

The rising price of LPG cylinders also made headlines in the Urdu press. 

On 2 March, Sahara reported that there had been a Rs 50 rise in the price of a 14.2-kg LPG cylinder, taking its cost to Rs 1,103. The prices were previously revised on 6 July last year. 

The paper also reported that the price of a 19-kg commercial cylinder had been increased by Rs 350.50, to Rs 2,119.50.

A separate report the same day quoted Congress leader Gourav Vallabh as saying that the increasing LPG prices were making life difficult for the common man. In yet another report, former Uttar Pradesh chief minister Akhilesh Yadav was quoted as saying that the BJP was playing with people’s lives.

In an editorial the same day, Sahara said that the price of domestic cooking gas had gone up two-and-a-half times in the last eight years and that the proportionate rise in kitchen expenses was breaking people’s backs. 

Also on 2 March, Siasat reported on the front page that the GDP growth contracted by 4.4 per cent in the third quarter of FY23 due to inflationary pressures and high-interest rates affecting demand. 


More than a month after American short-seller Hindenburg accused the Adani Group of stock manipulation and accounting fraud, the row continued to make front-page news.      

On 25 February, Sahara reported on its front page that the Supreme Court turned down a plea for a ban on the coverage in the Adani-Hindenburg case. 

Inquilab’s editorial on 2 March wondered if the Securities and Exchange Board of India’s (SEBI’S) investigation into the allegations against Adani was transparent and unbiased. There are reports that the Adani Group was being investigated, the editorial said, but there’s little information on when it had begun or what the focus of the probe would be. SEBI’s action in the case should be unprejudiced, especially given that the case was not merely a domestic one, it added. 

(Edited by Uttara Ramaswamy)

Also Read: ‘Undeclared Emergency’: Urdu press says I-T survey of BBC offices assault on press freedom


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