The Congress on Monday released a commemorative edition of the newspaper National Herald in Bengaluru as part of its relaunch. Vice President Hamid Ansari and Congress leader Rahul Gandhi were present at the event where “India at Crossroads: 70 years of Independence” was released.
Speaking at the event, the Congress vice president took on the Bharatiya Janata Party government saying that the “power of truth” has been replaced by the “truth of power”. “Anybody who tries to stand for truth is pushed aside,” he said. “Government is forcing everyone into silence.”
Gandhi said he had asked the editors to criticise the Congress party when required. “The National Herald should speak the truth,” he said.
The formal launch of the weekly newspaper will be held on June 20 in New Delhi and President Pranab Mukherjee is expected to attend the event, reported NDTV.
Gandhi is also slated to address the party workers ahead of the 2018 Assembly elections in Karnataka. “He is expected to address the challenged before the Congress, both at the national and state level, with a focus on the need to strength the party organisation and spell out the party’s road map for campaign,” Karnataka Pradesh Congress Chief G Parameshwara told The Times of India.
The National Herald was launched in Lucknow by former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru in 1938. However, it had to shut down in 2009 due to financial problems. The newspaper’s online edition has been functional since November last year and is headed by Neelabh Mishra.
In an interview to nationalheraldindia.com, published on the website on Monday, Rahul Gandhi says joblessness is one of the biggest challenges the country currently faces. “All the prime minister has given India is the highest level of unemployment we have faced in the last five years,” he said. The Congress vice president further took on the BJP saying the party “refuses” to listen to the people. “They don’t realise that gradually people will run out of patience for their hollow words and unfulfilled promises,” he said.
The National Herald has been embroiled in controversy after Bharatiya Janata Party leader Subramanian Swamy had accused Sonia and Rahul Gandhi of conspiracy and cheating in 2012 with the aim to acquire properties and assets owned by the newspaper. According to the BJP leader, the Gandhis provided an interest-free loan of Rs 90.25 crore to Associated Journals Limited, publisher of three newspapers, including the National Herald, and transferred the debt to a company called Young India Limited for Rs 50 lakh. Sonia and Rahul Gandhi are the major shareholders in Young India.