The Congress Working Committee (CWC) is set to meet on February 26 in Ahmedabad and possible alliances across the States will be top on the agenda for the meeting. The meeting comes less than 100 days before the general elections, where the Congress is fighting an all-out battle. The Congress is working towards an alliance in Bihar, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, West Bengal and Jharkhand. “It is easier to declare alliances in Delhi and difficult to work it out at the ground level. For example, in West Bengal Raiganj is CPI (M) leader Mohd. Salim’s constituency and he will be contesting from there. It is also the constituency of our prime candidate Deepa Das Munshi,” a senior party leader said. The alliance with Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and other parties in Maharashtra has been almost sealed barring a few details that need to be ironed out. The Congress president Rahul Gandhi had a meeting with NCP chief Sharad Pawar on Wednesday once again to clear the issues. In Bihar, where Congress is part of the ‘Mahagatbandhan’, the six constituents – RJD, Sharad Yadav’s Jan Loktantrik Party, Upendra Kushwaha’s Rashtriya Lok Samata Party, Jitan Ram Manjhi’s Hindustan Awam Party and the Left parties have not been able to reach an amicable seat arrangement. The Congress has been demanding that they should have equal share of seats with the RJD. The RJD however have overtly and covertly sending out messages that the Congress should be generous towards its regional parties. It will be the first CWC meeting after Priyanka Gandhi was formally inducted in the Congress’s highest decision-making body after she was appointed general secretary in-charge of Eastern Uttar Pradesh.According to sources, Gujarat has been chosen as the venue for the meeting to kickstart Congress’s campaign for Lok Sabha polls. This will be the second meeting of the CWC outside New Delhi. The last meeting was in Wardha, Maharashtra, at Sevagram Ashram to mark the 150 birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.
Thomas Deng and Awer Mabil are two friends, who have been through thick and thin together. From their early years in Kenya, to a shared childhood in suburban Adelaide after their families fled Sudan followed by playing in the A-League, the pair has been going strong from the very onset.And on Monday, they started another chapter of their lives together and perhaps the most cherished one so far.The pair of South Sudanese refugees made their Socceroos debut against Kuwait in their thumping 4-0 win over the West Asian country. New Australia coach Graham Arnold handed the ‘next-generation’ of Australian players their debut and they didn’t disappoint. In fact, Mabil put the icing on the cake by scoring the match’s last goal from a move that was started by Deng and fittingly enough, his friend was the first one to run towards him and embrace him.It was a hot and humid night but their joy knew no bounds as they celebrated the incredible moment together amidst smile and warm embraces.”It’s a dream come true,” Deng said.Nine years ago, this was a distant dream but on Monday they were living it and they still couldn’t believe the ‘surreal’ feeling.”We went to the same school. We played at the same club that I played at, called Playford. We go way back. To come through and get our debut on the same day, it’s surreal. It’s amazing,” Deng said.An emotional @mmills05 presented @awermabil17 and @thomasdeng24 with a @Socceroos jersey to mark their debut. #ANewDawnRises #GoSocceroos pic.twitter.com/aPuAFqPbLmadvertisementCaltex Socceroos (@Socceroos) October 15, 2018Mabil, who graduated from Adelaide United to Denmark’s FC Midtjylland three years ago, was all praise for his friend and said that Deng’s presence calmed him, who went on to add that the dream debut will be a story to be told to their grandkids.”When I saw him there, there’s no nerves because he’s behind me. It made it easier with Thomas there. It was a big dream for us to make our debut and especially on the same day. It’s something I will never forget. We will tell our grandkids one day,” said an elated Mabil.Their rise to the top is a story for ages and nothing short of inspirational. Mabil hails from a refugee camp in Kakuma in Kenya while Deng spent his earliest years in Nairobi and coming from disadvantaged backgrounds, both Deng, 21 amd Mabil, 23, found themselves in South Australia after their families sought refuge in Adelaide from a conflict-hit Sudan.However, they will have to part ways now as Deng has to return to Melbourne immediately to play in Saturday night’s Melbourne derby but not before making some calls back home and sharing his moment of joy with his mother.”I’ll probably call my mum first and foremost and thank her for all the years that she’s been taking me to training,” Deng said. “It’s finally paid off I guess. I’m very happy,” said Deng before signing off.