Shah, Rahul trade barbs ahead of cru­cial polls

Gulf Times - - INDIA -

Cam­paign­ing for first phase of elec­tion ends in Chhattisgarh

Cam­paign­ing for the first phase of assem­bly elec­tions ended in Chhattisgarh yes­ter­day with Bharatiya Janata Party pres­i­dent Amit Shah and Con­gress chief Rahul Gandhi trad­ing 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 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 BJP regime here is that it has tight­ened the noose on the Maoists,” Shah said.

“It has al­most freed the state from the in­sur­gents,” the BJP chief said, adding that when Ra­man Singh re­turns to power, he will fo­cus on mak­ing the state a dig­i­tal hub.

The BJP promised to give Rs 200,000 in­ter­est-free loans to women to start busi­ness, give free books and uni­forms to stu­dents till Class 12, set up a jour­nal­ists’ wel­fare board and 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.”

He said by pro­vid­ing cook­ing gas cylin­ders, elec­tric­ity, ed­u­ca­tion and health ser­vices to the poor and bring­ing hap­pi­ness on the faces of farm­ers his party has brought about a “rev­o­lu­tion”.

Tak­ing on the Con­gress, Shah said the op­po­si­tion party which ruled In­dia since In­de­pen­dence failed to de­liver de­vel­op­ment in states.

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 Goods and Ser­vices Tax and termed Ra­man Singh and Modi “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.”

“The prime min­is­ter says he fights cor­rup­tion. But when it comes to Chhattisgarh, he doesn’t say that the chief min­is­ter is cor­rupt.”

Giv­ing ex­am­ples of cor­rup­tion in the state, the Con­gress leader al­leged that no ac­tion was taken in the Rs50bn chit fund scam case “as the chief min­is­ter did not want any ac­tion in that”.

“Over 60 peo­ple died and 310 FIRs were reg­is­tered in the case but no ac­tion was taken be­cause in the chit fund scam chief min­is­ter name was there.”

“In the PDS (pub­lic dis­tri­bu­tion sys­tem) scam, Rs36,000 crore was si­phoned off. A di­ary was seized in that it was writ­ten that the money was given to CM madam and Dr Sa­heb,” he said, adding, “I want to ask Ra­man Singhji who was the CM madam and Dr Sa­heb.”

BJP pres­i­dent Amit Shah ad­dresses a press con­fer­ence af­ter re­leas­ing the party’s man­i­festo for the up­com­ing Chhattisgarh assem­bly elec­tions, in Raipur yes­ter­day.

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