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Congress to target economy, unemployment in Maharashtra, Haryana

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New Delhi, Oct 5 : The Congress, which is aiming to wrest power from the BJP in Maharashtra and Haryana, will focus on issues like the economic situation and unemployment in its campaign for the October 21 Assembly polls, while skipping the Rafale fighter deal issue which was its main plank during the Lok Sabha polls.

Highlighting the poor state of the economy will be the Congress’ counter to the BJP’s pitch for nationalism against the backdrop of abolition of special status of Jammu and Kashmir granted under Article 370 and Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s much-hyped visit to the US.

While flagging the economic crisis, the Congress is also planning to field former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in the campaign trail to target the Modi government.

The Rafale fighter deal issue, which was the main plank of the Congress during the Lok Sabha elections a few months back, is unlikely to find any place in the party’s campaign since it has backfired already.

“The prime focus (of Congress campaign) would be the common people and hardships that they are facing. The farmers’ distress and the crisis in the economy will be prime focus,” said a party leader.

Rahul Gandhi will be the star campaigner of the Congress even though he has relinquished the post of party President. The party feels he will be able to attract maximum voters.

He will start his campaign on October 10 and will be holding rallies and road shows in such a way that enables him to cover most parts of the two states, the leader said, adding his programme is being worked out.

Rahul’s sister Priyanka Gandhi Vadra is also in the list of star campaigners and she too will be covering both the states through rallies and road shows.

However, Congress Interim President Sonia Gandhi might address only a few rallies because of her health condition, said the leader. She may hold one public meeting a day.

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PM Modi doesn’t understand economy: Rahul in Haryana

Citing the lack of jobs and the rising farmers distress, he said: “The fate of country is known to you… unemployment is highest in the country in last 45 years.

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Rahul Gandhi

Mahendergarh (Haryana), Oct 18 : Hitting out the BJP-led Central government over the slowdown, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Friday said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi “does not know anything about economics”.

Addressing his second rally in Haryana, in the Ahirwal region – seen as a BJP citadel, ahead of the October 21 Assembly elections, the former Congress President warned that the economic situation will become worse and “big corporates will run away like Mehul Choksi and Nirav Modi”.

Citing the lack of jobs and the rising farmers distress, he said: “The fate of country is known to you… unemployment is highest in the country in last 45 years.

If you ask business men, either small or medium, everybody will say that demonetisation and GST has ruined them.”

“If Nyay (the Congress proposal for a universal basic income in the 2019 polls) had been implemented, then the things would have been better, but Haryana has a chance to vote for the Congress,” Gandhi added.

He said that Modi had assured that farmers’ loans would be written off but it has not happened, but the government has “written off loans of corporates to tune of Rs 5.5 lakh crore”.

“More than Rs 1 lakh crore have been given as tax rebate to corporates. But he (Modi) will not give money to the poor,” he added.

Gandhi said that under the Congress-led UPA, India was competing with the US and China, but “now India’s image has been dented due to the BJP’s policies”.

“Their sole aim is to divide people and fight each other,” he said, stressing that a “divided India can’t march ahead”.

Gandhi also criticised the media, saying that they “do not give the real picture to the people”.

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Election

Despite Article 370, Local Unemployment and Business remains topmost issues in ensuing Haryana, Maha polls

Significantly, the BJP’s main poll plank of abolition of special status of Jammu and Kashmir granted under Article 370 did not figure among the biggest issues for the voters.

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BJP Election Flag

New Delhi, Oct 18 : Notwithstanding the BJP’s high-decibel pitch for Article 370, local employment and business is the topmost issue for the electorate of Maharashtra and Haryana in the October 21 Assembly elections, according to a IANS-CVoter poll survey.

At the same time, there is a big chunk of voters in the “Others/Can’t say” category, as reflected in the survey conducted between September 16 and October 16.

Both Haryana and Maharashtra are currently ruled by the BJP.

In Haryana, 28 per cent of those asked about the “Biggest issue for you at the moment” opted for the “Status of local employment/business”.

In Maharashtra, 23.1 per cent identified this as the biggest issue for them.

The status of water supply was second biggest issue for the voters in both the states. While in Haryana, 12.4 per cent of those surveyed said so, 18.4 per cent stated this in Maharashtra.

Condition of local roads stood third in the sample survey in these states, with 8.6 per cent identifying it as one of the biggest issues in Haryana and 14.1 per cent doing so in Maharashtra.

The issue of “condition of social/caste/religious harmony” figured very poorly in the survey, with only 0.9 per cent identifying it as one of the biggest issues in Haryana and a similar number doing so in Maharashtra.

In Haryana, only 0.4 per cent saw women security as one of the biggest issues while in Maharashtra, the issue had only 0.3 per cent votaries.

Status of law and order was found to be a big issue only by 0.9 per cent in Haryana and 0.3 per cent in Maharashtra.

Control on corruption in government was one of the biggest issues only for 3.1 per cent in Haryana and merely 1.4 per cent in Maharashtra.

The status of economy, which is the main poll plank of Opposition Congress in both the states, was a big issue only for 0.3 per cent in Haryana and 0.2 per cent in Maharashtra.

Control on price rise was a major issue for 4.3 per cent in Haryana and 4.1 in Maharashtra.

Significantly, the BJP’s main poll plank of abolition of special status of Jammu and Kashmir granted under Article 370 did not figure among the biggest issues for the voters.

The BJP, led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has been making a big pitch about the issue, saying that such a “bold” step could be taken only by a strong and decisive government.

The Congress, which is on a defensive on this issue, has been raking up the status of economy, which has been slowing down lately, to counter the BJP. The Congress has been particularly highlighting the job losses witnessed over the last several months.

In the survey, 30.3 per cent in Haryana and 19.1 per cent in Maharashtra opted for “Others/Can’t Say”.

Among other issues, status of electricity supply was big for 5.7 per cent in Haryana and 2.7 per cent Maharashtra.

The sample size of the survey in Haryana was 10,061 and 19,489 in Maharashtra.

Haryana has 90-member Assembly while the strength of the Maharashtra Assembly is 288.

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Election Commission notice to Mumbai BJP chief on communal speech

He apparently referred to the Dongri and Nagpada areas, inhabited mostly by minorities, while referring to “lanes”.

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Mangal Prabhat Lodha

Mumbai, Oct 18 : The Election Commission on Thursday issued a show-cause notice to Mumbai chief of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party Mangal Prabhat Lodha for his alleged communal remarks during the ongoing poll campaign.

Lodha had recenly at an election rally in Mumbadevi constituency, which has a sizeable Muslim population, hinted that the explosives used for blasts in the early nineties in Mumbai were “manufactured in the lanes within 5 km.”

He apparently referred to the Dongri and Nagpada areas, inhabited mostly by minorities, while referring to “lanes”.

The EC has taken cognizance of his speech and asked him to explain. According to a report, an EC team present at the meeting had recorded his speech.

Mumbai goes to the polls on October 21.

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