Rahul, C’garh CM bat­tle it out over graft charges, de­vpt

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - - MYINDIAMYVOTE - HT Cor­re­spon­dent


Raipur:congress chief Rahul Gandhi and Ch­hat­tis­garh chief min­is­ter Ra­man Singh were locked in a war of words over cor­rup­tion charges on the last day of cam­paign­ing for the first phase of polls in the state, where Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is look­ing to se­cure a fourth straight term.

Speak­ing in Kanker, Gandhi tar­geted the CM on cor­rup­tion and said ~5,000 crore had van­ished in an al­leged chit fund scam. “Sixty peo­ple died, 310 FIRS were reg­is­tered, but no­body went to jail be­cause the chief min­ster did not want ac­tion to be taken,” he al­leged.

The Congress chief fur­ther charged that ~36,000 crore were stolen in the al­leged pub­lic dis­tri­bu­tion sys­tem scam and claimed there were doc­u­ments to prove Singh’s in­volve­ment in it. He also re­it­er­ated his al­le­ga­tion that Singh’s son and Lok Sabha mem­ber Ab­hishek Singh’s name had ap­peared in the Panama pa­pers.

Hit­ting back in an in­ter­view to PTI, Singh said Gandhi did not know any­thing about Ch­hat­tis­garh and that his ral­lies would not help the Congress draw any sig­nif­i­cant votes. He also said Gandhi’s pres­ence would not dent the BJP’S poll prospects but might prove detri­men­tal to his own party.

Singh, who claimed that Ch­hat­tis­garh has be­come a de­vel­oped state in 15-year BJP’S rule, termed Ajit Jogi and BSP al­liance as “self­ish coali­tion” that will im­pact the Congress more than the BJP. “Rahul does not know any­thing about Ch­hat­tis­garh. The peo­ple of Ch­hat­tis­garh do not take him se­ri­ously. He is an en­ter­tain­ment for them,” he said.

Gandhi claimed that in the 15 years since Singh had been in power, four mil­lion young peo­ple had re­mained un­em­ployed, there was no ir­ri­ga­tion on 65% land and 56,000 acres land was snatched from tribal peo­ple. “Once the Congress comes to power, every fam­ily that does not own land will be given land,” Gandhi added.

Singh re­buffed this claim and said Ch­hat­tis­garh has de­vel­oped on all fronts. “Ch­hat­tis­garh used to be a back­ward stage. In 15-year BJP rule, it has be­come one of the de­vel­oped states. We are grow­ing at a great pace and will soon be among top five de­vel­oped states of In­dia,” he said.

The 90-mem­ber assem­bly will go to the polls in two phases — on November 12 and November 20 — and the results will be an­nounced on December 11. The BJP had won 49 seats, Congress 39 and the Bahu­jan Sa­maj Party and in­de­pen­dent one each in the last assem­bly polls in 2013. LUC­KNOW:THE split in the Sa­ma­jwadi Party (SP) seems fi­nal. De­spite Mu­layam Singh Ya­dav’s po­lit­i­cal am­biva­lence, a ma­jor­ity now be­lieve that a patch-up is im­pos­si­ble be­tween the war­ring fac­tions in the SP.

A se­nior party leader said, “The tus­sle started over the is­sue of party lead­er­ship that Mu­layam had set­tled in his son’s favour in 2012 though his brother (Shiv­pal Ya­dav), too, was a claimant. Much wa­ter has flowed down the Gomti since then. How can there be any patch-up now?”

Ap­par­ently, Mu­layam tried to avert a split, but even­tu­ally failed. It was soon af­ter the SP lost power in Ut­tar Pradesh in 2017 that Shiv­pal re­vealed his plans to form a mor­cha from which Mu­layam had dis­tanced

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