Congress gears up to take on Khattar govt in polls

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.

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