- Congress' manifesto an agenda for "balkanisation" of India: Arun Jaitley
- Congress promises will protect Maoists and terrorists, he alleged
- The party which says this does not deserve a single vote, Mr Jaitley said
Union minister Arun Jaitley today shredded the Congress manifesto for the April-May national elections, alleging that it is "dangerous and un-implementable, and an agenda for balkanisation of India". The Congress promises will protect Maoists and jihadists, and allow terrorists and friends to prosecute the forces, said the minister at a press conference this evening.
"In this manifesto, there are such agendas that do the work of breaking up the nation," Mr Jaitley said. "Being involved in terror will no longer be a crime. The party which says this does not deserve a single vote".
Earlier today, the Congress presented a bread-and-butter manifesto that, its chief Rahul Gandhi said, focuses on the issues that the common man faces. Its five big ideas, Mr Gandhi said, were poverty alleviation under the NYAY scheme, generation of jobs, a reformed Goods and Services Tax, double budget for education and free healthcare.
The party also promised to review laws like the controversial AFSPA (Armed Forces Special Powers Act) that's in place in disturbed areas like Jammu and Kashmir and parts of the northeast and scrap the one on sedition, which are liable to misuse.
"Omitting Section 124A of the Indian Penal Code (that defines the offence of ''sedition'') that has been misused and, in any event, has become redundant because of subsequent laws," the manifesto reads.
For Jammu and Kashmir, the Congress has promised to review AFSPA. "The Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act and the Disturbed Areas Act in Jammu and Kashmir will be reviewed.
Suitable changes will be made in the text of the laws to balance the requirements of security and the protection of human rights," the party said in the manifesto.
Since the terror attack on Jammu and Kashmir's Pulwama on February 14 and the subsequent air strikes on a Jaish-e Mohammad camp in Pakistan's Balakot, the BJP has changed the focus of its campaign. From economic growth and development, the narrative has shifted to national security and nationalism.
Accusing the Congress of going soft on terror, Mr Jaitley said "Rajiv Gandhi got TADA (an anti-terror law that was considered draconian), Narasimha Rao took it back. Manmohan Singh took back POTA."
If all the Congress plans are implemented, there will be "rule of insurgents and terrorists, if the Congress tries to establish this, it will not be acceptable," Mr Jaitley said.