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Congress gears up to take on Khattar govt in polls

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New Delhi, Sep 21 : The Congress plans to corner the Manohar Lal Khattar-led Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government in Haryana over economic slowdown, unemployment and betrayal of farmers and the law and order situation.

Speaking to IANS over phone, soon after the Election Commission announced Haryana Assembly poll dates, state Congress chief Kumari Selja said, “The BJP government instead of tackling the economic slowdown has given a big issue to the people ahead of the polls.”

“The retrenchment in the auto sector and closing of units have brought people close to the Congress,” she said, referring to Maruti Suzuki announcing ‘no production’ at the Manesar unit following the economic slowdown.

The Election Commission here on Saturday announced voting for the 90-member Assembly on October 21. Results are likely on October 24.

In 2014 Assembly elections, the Congress could win only 15 seats. The BJP won 47 seats compared with 4 in the 2009 Assembly elections. The Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) won 19 seats, the Haryana Janhit Congress (HJC) two, and the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) one each. Five Independents were also elected.

Khattar has already launched the campaign in the form of Jan Aashirvaad Yatra. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah have already addressed rallies in the state.

Former Union Minister Kumari Selja, who replaced Ashok Tanwar as the state party chief a week ago, said more people were joining the Congress now than those who quit five years ago.

Slamming the BJP government, she said, “Farmers and small businessman are in crisis in the state. Farmers are not getting remunerative prices for their produce. The rate of unemployment has risen in the last five years.”

“The BJP promised to double the minimum support price for crops, but didn’t buy most of farm produce this year,” she said.

When the government announced 4,000-5,000 vacancies for the post of clerks, around 15 lakh youth applied, she said. It showed that unemployment had gone up, she added.

According to the Congress leader, people are angry over the Dalit reservation. “The government last year said Dalits in Class I and Class II jobs will not get promotion,” she said.

On the law and order, she said under the Khattar regime five big riots had taken place. “Even drug peddling has increased in the districts bordering Punjab, affecting law and order in the state,” she said. The Congress would take action against drug peddlers if voted to power, she added.

She also alleged rise in illegal mining under the Khattar government.

On the BJP making abrogation of Article 370 a poll plank, she said, “We have seen how the Chief Minister has described Article 370 that we will bring girls from Kashmir to marry our boys.” It was their mindset, she added.

Khattar stirred a controversy last month when a video of his speech went viral on social media in which he was heard saying, “Some people are now saying as Kashmir is open, brides will be brought from there”.

Khattar was expressing concern over the low sex ratio in Haryana at an event in Fatehabad when he made the remark in an apparent reference to scrapping of the special status for J&K.

Election

BJP in MP sandwiched between Maharaj, Dissent, Shivraj: Shatrughan Sinha

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shatrughan-sinha

Bhopal, July 7 : Former Union minister and film actor Shatrughan Sinha has taken a dig at the politics in Madhya Pradesh. He says there are three camps in the BJP in Madhya Pradesh – “Maharaj, Dissent and Shivraj”. Sinha on Tuesday tweeted in his inimitable style on the state of politics in Madhya Pradesh.

The Congress government in the state fell after former Union minister Jyotiraditya Scindia left the Congress and joined the BJP.

The government was formed under the leadership of former chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan. It took more than three months to form the cabinet and now the party has to do a lot of thinking before distributing portfolios to ministers. Shatrughan Sinha’s tweet is being linked to the same.

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Mahagathbandhan will discuss, decide Bihar CM candidate: Congress MP

The former Union minister denied there was any dispute in the Grand Alliance over the candidate for the chief minister’s post.

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Rajya Sabha MP Akhilesh Singh

Patna, July 7 : Ahead of the Bihar Assembly elections, state Congress Election Campaign Committee Chairman and Rajya Sabha MP Akhilesh Singh has said that the Grand Alliance (Mahagathbandhan) comprising his party, RJD, HAM etc will decide its chief ministerial candidate through consultations.

However, he pointed out, the chief ministerial candidate will be from the largest party in the Mahagathbandhan.

On the formation of a coordination committee in the Grand Alliance, Singh said: “The panel must be set up to build a consensus among constituents of the alliance. The Rashtriya Janata Dal and the Congress have been together for many years. There is coordination, only then they have been able to work together.”

Speaking to IANS, he reiterated that no party had left the Mahagathbandhan on the issue of coordination committee. “Everyone involved in the alliance will fight the elections together, because the people of Bihar are looking for an alternative.”

The people of Bihar, Singh added, were unhappy with the JU-D-led government and were looking for an alternative.

The former Union minister denied there was any dispute in the Grand Alliance over the candidate for the chief minister’s post.

“Within the next one month, everything will be clear from seat distribution to the leader of the alliance. None of the ally parties is going anywhere,” Singh asserted.

As for Congress organisational structure in place for the coming elections, he admitted the fact that no new organisational committees had so far been formed even at the district level to strategise for the poll campaign.

Emphasising the need for change in the Congress, he said former party president Rahul Gandhi had recently held a virtual meeting with leaders of Bihar in order to revamp the party ahead of the Assembly polls.

Singh lamented that the Nitish Kumar’s government had talked about making Patna similar to Tokyo and Singapore but even two hours of rain causes waterlogging in the state capital.

The Congress leader alleged that not even a needle factory was set up in Bihar during the last 15 years.

Quoting NITI Aayog reports, he said Bihar lagged behind other states in terms of industrialization, health, and education.

The former Union minister claimed that all sugar mills in Bihar at present were closed or were on the verge of closure while during the Congress rule 27 per cent sugar produced in the country came from Bihar.

On June 24, leaders of the Grand Alliance partners in the state held a virtual meeting to discuss their poll preparation and pledged to fight the battle unitedly. Representatives of the Congress, RJD, Rashtriya Lok Samta Party, Hindustani Awam Morcha (HAM), Vikashsheel Insan Party (VIP), and Loktantrik Janata Dal (LJD) had participated.

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Like in 2018, Kamal Nath launches poll drive from Ujjain

Kamal Nath plans to list the achievements of his party and development works during the 15-month rule to seek return to power.

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Kamal Nath INC

Ujjain, July 7 : Former chief minister and Madhya Pradesh Congress president Kamal Nath arrived here for ”Darshan” of Mahakal before the start of his campaign for the mini-midterm elections involving 24 assembly seats in the state.

The Ujjain visit was due on July 3 but was washed out due to heavy rains.

There are striking similarities between his present campaign and the one he led in 2018 to bring the Congress back into power after 15 years. He had started the campaign with a ”pooja” at Ujjain. The key difference of course is the absence of Jyotiraditya Scindia, who blindsided him and his departure with a big chunk of the party caused the current campaign. Scindia was the campaign convener then.

Kamal Nath has few more pilgrimages lined up in the next few days before he gets to the war-room to be set up in Gwalior, the Scindia bastion.

Shortly after the ”pooja” and meeting with the party colleagues, Kamal Nath left for Badnawar to address the first rally — ”Loktantra Bachao” (save democracy) rally.

Though Scindia and former Chief Minister Digvijaya Singh were the senior leaders in the party, Jyotiraditya was presented as the youth face to draw the electorate. Singh was asked to bring about patch up between various factions. Kamal Nath was thus the key campaigner. He retains that status. Kamal Nath who drew good crowds in 2018 under Shivraj Chouhan”s rule has made a striking start with Ujjain Congress leaders responding in large numbers despite the lockdown curbs. The temple town, once part of the Gwalior state has responded with hundreds of billboards greeting him.

Kamal Nath plans to list the achievements of his party and development works during the 15-month rule to seek return to power.

Kamal Nath held a one-on-one discussion with prospective candidates to set the selection process rolling. The party plans to have 24 call centres, one in each constituency that will witness the by-elections. The party workers will receive voters” feedback and inputs for the prospective candidates and the agenda to be set on local issues. The same strategy will be adopted in all 24 constituencies this time also.

Unlike in 2018 when the main war room was at Bhopal, the party is expected to hire a bungalow in Gwalior where Kamal Nath plans to move to lead the campaign.

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