Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Saturday promised that within one year 22 lakh vacant government posts will be filled if his party comes to power. He also reiterated his attack on PM Modi, saying that the prime minister sidelined his guru LK Advani and forced him out of political stage.
At an election rally in Chhattisgarh’s Balod, Prime Minister Narendra Modi kept up his attack on the Congress and accused the party and its allies of fighting for their own victory in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. “We are fighting for the nation’s victory, while the Congress is fighting for its own victory,” he said.
The BJP on Saturday released another list of candidates from Madhya Pradesh, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Odisha. Jhansi MP Uma Bharti was the most notable absentee, with the party nominating Anurag Sharma after the firebrand BJP leader had made it known earlier that she would not contest the elections.
Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra today asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi why he could not visit the poor in India’s villages when he had time to visit China, Pakistan and other countries. Gandhi, who was addressing an election rally in Jahanabad, said: “When it comes to farm loan waiver, this government says they don’t have money, on other hand, this government waives off loans given to industrialists. They promised Rs 15 lakh in your bank account but tell me, has anyone got the money?” The party’s eastern UP incharge also said the BJP could not be selective about respecting martyrs and it should also respect Rajeev Gandhi and Indira Gandhi.
The Congress today also got some star power after BJP rebel Shatrughan Sinha officially joined the party, ending days of speculation. Sinha launched a scathing attack on the BJP after his exit, saying there was no concept of collective decision in the saffron party and he was disowned by the party because of his association with BJP veteran LK Advani, who was recently ruled out of the poll fray.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said polls in Odisha were important for the country and he was confident that the state would give its mandate to the BJP. Addressing a rally in Sundergarh, Modi launched a scathing attack on the BJD and Congress, saying a strong government was the need of the hour to ensure a stable country.
BSP supremo Mayawati hit out at the Narendra Modi government, saying BJP veteran LK Advani’s blog was a fervent appeal to the people to not let the present government return. Taking to Twitter, Mayawati said, “BJP patriarch LK Advani’s reality check admonition on the functioning of the BJP/Modi govt on the party’s foundation day is a serious no-confidence against them besides a fervent appeal to the people that this despotic/anti-people Modi Govt is unworthy of returning back to power.”
Advani, who was recently dropped from the poll fray, had written a blog on Thursday, emphasising that the saffron party advocates for freedom of choice and does not believe in branding people “anti-national” for their different political stand. “Right from its inception, the BJP has never regarded those who disagree with us politically as our ‘enemies’, but only as our adversaries. Similarly, in our conception of Indian nationalism, we have never regarded those who disagree with us politically as ‘anti-national’. The party has been committed to freedom of choice of every citizen at personal as well as political level,” he wrote in the blog ahead of the BJP’s foundation day on April 6. His views assume significance at a time when the BJP under Prime Minister Narendra Modi and party president Amit Shah have made the issue of national security a key plank for the general elections and have often accused its political rivals of speaking the language of India’s enemies like Pakistan.
Amid dilly-dallying over an alliance with the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in Delhi, Delhi Congress leaders Sheila Dikshit, PC Chacko and others met party chief Rahul Gandhi. Sources had said on Friday that the two parties have reportedly reached a consensus on tying up for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. The Congress and AAP are likely to join hands in Delhi as well as Haryana, with the grand old party deciding to include the demand for full statehood to Delhi in its manifesto. The two, however, deferred a decision on Punjab amid reports that chief minister Amarinder Singh was not in favour of an alliance in the state.
Rahul Gandhi will visit Srinagar to begin the grand old party’s campaign in the Valley. Gandhi will then address a public meeting in Uttarkhand’s Almora and later reach Haridwar to carry the Congress’ rally forward. Bahujan Samaj Party supremo Mayawati will also address rallies in Uttarakhand. The former UP chief minister will be campaigning for the BSP in Haridwar and Nainital.
BJP national president Amit Shah has launched his election campaign in Gujarat with a rally in the capital city of Gandhinagar, which is also the constituency he will be contesting from in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.
In West Bengal, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee will continue to lead the Trinamool’s election rally in the northern part of the state. Banerjee will extensively campaign in Alipurduar covering Barobisha and Kalchini seats.
Besides, the BJP also celebrates its foundation day today. The saffron party will celebrate April 6 as the 38th Foundation Day, which will also be seen as a formal launch of its campaign for the 2019 polls.