India

Indian media: Rahul Gandhi's growing prominence

Rahul Gandhi
Image caption Rahul Gandhi had strongly opposed the ordinance that allowed convicted lawmakers to contest elections

Media in India feel the withdrawal of a controversial order that would have allowed convicted lawmakers to contest elections has embarrassed the government and also shown Rahul Gandhi's growing prominence in the governing Congress party.

The executive order was aimed at overturning a Supreme Court ruling that barred federal and state assembly members from elections if found guilty of offences carrying a jail term of at least two years.

Mr Gandhi, the son of Congress party chief Sonia Gandhi and former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi, had called the ordinance "complete nonsense" after it was sent to President Pranab Mukherjee for approval.

He is seen as the pre-eminent leader within the Congress and many feel that the cabinet withdrew the ordinance after his opposition.

The Indian Express says until "a week ago, the government had braved criticism about the intent, method and timing of the ordinance" but Mr Gandhi has effectively changed the party's stance by opposing it.

"Mr Gandhi's views on matters of governance are unknown, but his capacity to disrupt the government's decisions has been proven... Whether or not this move pays off politically for the Congress in the upcoming election, for its remaining term, its government has effectively lost face," the paper adds.

The Hindustan Times says "Mr Gandhi's intervention - for the right cause certainly - undermined the standing of the cabinet and the prime minister. However, from then on, the government had no option but to retreat".

Hindi daily Amar Ujala says the Congress leader's move will spur the discussion about him taking on Narendra Modi, the main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party's candidate for PM, in the 2014 general elections

Meanwhile, most newspapers, including the Hindustan Times and the Deccan Herald, are expressing concerns over violence perpetrated against domestic workers after a teenager was brutally assaulted by her employer in Delhi.

The employer, a 50-year-old woman, has been sent into custody for 14 days for allegedly assaulting and torturing her domestic worker.

The Hindustan Times suggests the issue is not uncommon as girls are illegally brought from states such as Bihar, West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh and Jharkhand to work in the homes of rich families in big cities.

"Domestic work in our country is characterised by non-recognition, undervaluation, low wages, excessive work hours, lack of benefits or social security, unfair termination of employment, sexual and moral harassment and lack of organisation," author Amitava Ghosh writes in the Deccan Herald.

Tendulkar backs India

Elsewhere, the Hindustan Times reports that the resumption of pilgrimage to flood-hit Kedarnath shrine in the northern state of Uttarakhand is risky as many roads leading to the temple complex are still in poor condition.

Pilgrimage to the shrine was stopped in June after flash floods killed hundreds and caused massive damage to the state's infrastructure.

In sports, former Indian Test cricketer and Rajasthan Royals captain Rahul Dravid has once again highlighted the importance of playing the game in the "right spirit", The Times of India reports.

Dravid's comments follow an ongoing investigation into the allegations of spot-fixing in this year's Indian Premier League tournament.

And finally, cricketing legend Sachin Tendulkar says he is confident that India are capable of defending their World Cup title in Australia in 2015.

"Along with India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka are also good sides. I am partial towards India and want them to do well. That would be really exciting. It will give so much happiness to the entire nation," NDTV website quoted him as saying.

Tendulkar, who has now retired from one-day internationals, was part of the team that won the title in 2011.

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