Campaigning for first phase of Chhattisgarh Assembly poll ends
Rahul says despite 15 years of BJP rule in state, over 40 lakh youth are unemployed
RAIPUR: With the campaigning for the first phase of the Assembly elections ending in Chhattisgarh on Saturday, BJP President Amit Shah and Congress chief Rahul Gandhi traded barbs at each other over what they had done for the benefit of the state.
Shah released the party’s manifesto and held a road show in Rajnandgaon, the home turf of Chief Minister Raman Singh, while Gandhi addressed three public meetings in Kondagaon, Jagdalpur and Kanker besides meeting several stakeholder groups including NGOS, civil society members and representatives of the Satnami Samaj, an influential community in the state politics.
While releasing the manifesto, Shah hit out at the Congress accusing it of being a “Maoist sympathiser” and said that the BJP government under Raman Singh has made the state nearly Maoist-free and developed it into a power hub of prospering cement, steel and aluminium industries, besides making rapid progress in education and health.
“Raman Singh has made a successful effort to change Chhattisgarh in the last 15 years. The biggest achievement of the Bharatiya Janata Party regime here is that it has tightened the noose on the Maoists.
“It has almost freed the state from the insurgents,” the party chief said, adding that now, when Raman Singh returns to power, he will focus on making the state a digital hub.
The BJP promised to give Rs 2 lakh interest-free loans to women to start their business; to distribute free books and uniforms to students till Class 12; formation of journalist welfare board and to build a film city in the state among others if voted to power.
Attacking the Congress, Shah said: “The party which sees Maoism as a medium for revolution can never do welfare for the state.”
Gandhi, at a public meeting in the Kondagaon area, hit back at the BJP by mocking Prime Minister Narendra Modi over his silence on the issues of corruption, demonetisation and GST and termed Raman Singh and Modi as “corrupt”.
“Chhattisgarh is a prosperous state, but the BJP government steals from the people and helps 15-20 of its rich industrialist friends. Your natural resources are distributed among the rich. Chhattisgarh is the poorest state in India,” he said.
Attacking Raman Singh, Gandhi said the “Chief Minister here is corrupt.”
“Prime Minister says he fights corruption. But when it comes to Chhattisgarh, he doesn’t say that the Chief Minister (Raman Singh) is corrupt.”
Giving examples of corruption in the state, the Congress leader alleged that no action was taken in the Rs 5,000 crore chit fund scam case “as the Chief Minister did not want any action in that”.
Raking up the issues of unemployment in the state, Gandhi said despite 15 years of BJP rule in the state, over 40 lakh youth are unemployed.