Congress President Rahul Gandhi released manifesto today.
Congress chief Rahul Gandhi, launched his party's poll promises, flanked by his mother Sonia Gandhi and former prime minister Manmohan Singh and P Chidambaram.
Shredding the Congress manifesto, Union minister Arun Jaitley said 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, he said at a press conference.
The Congress five big promises were poverty alleviation under the NYAY scheme, generation of jobs, a reformed Goods and Services Tax, double budget for education and free healthcare.
The Congress document is the result of extensive nationwide consultations and it will be a very "powerful" document aimed at redressing key challenges facing the nation, Mr Gandhi said.
Here are the Highlights of today's Lok Sabha election-related developments:
"Bundle Of Lies": Yogi Adityanath On Congress Manifesto
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath dismissed the Congress manifesto as a "bundle of lies". He said, "It is a bundle of lies and the party has expressed its failure over 55 years in its 55-page manifesto."
On farm loan recovery, Arun Jaitley says:
- They want to bring in civil recovery. They claim waiving farm loans in 5 states. Don't know which orbit they live in, data available, no trace of even tokenism.
- Promises made out of sheer ignorance. Healthcare and education, they should have proposed collective expenditure. GST, if somebody is not to ready to understand repeated clarifications... In Singapore, no one is below poverty, there is a standard rate. But in India, a large number is BPL. How can you have a single rate? Manifesto an attempt to further their tradition of betrayal.
- Rahul Gandhi must at least read what he is saying, I seem to have their manifesto more than the Congress president.
On Congress NYAY scheme, Arun Jaitley says:
- Finances would be drawn as India grows economically.
- They claim fiscal prudence would be maintained, it would be implemented in phases, would expand with a growing economy. With the same mindset, Indira and Rajiv committed a fiscal irresponsibility, they had to look out for MMS to save the nation, it was in debt trap, we were on the verge on insolvency.
- We have reduced taxes, for the first time in History, all taxes have come down, if you intend to increase them, then admit it.
- Resources for NYAY would be drawn from both Centre and states. You didn't claim this earlier, the truth leaks itself out'. When'P Chidambaram writes something, the devil is always in the detail. He said that of the existing subsidies, merit-based subsidies would remain. You will use it as a tool, that is why they claim that there would be no fiscal burden. A bluff scheme.
"Congress Manifesto Unimplementable", Says Finance Minister Arun Jaitley. He says:
- The Congress manifesto contains a statement of Congress President that whenever he makes a promise, he never breaks it. When out of ignorance, he makes unimplementable and dangerous promises, I am sure the nation would not be in a mood to oblige him, for implementing the kind of promises which are contained in this manifesto.
- Some ideas are positively dangerous, agenda for Balkanisation of agenda. Even thought there was a drafting panel, it appears some of the points have been drafted by Congress President's Tuke-tukde friends when it deals with Jammu and Kashmir and national security. Nehru-Gandhi family committed a historic mistake regarding J&K and the nation can't forgive them for that.
- From 2004 to 2014, I never believed Congress's budget declarations, I knew the devil was always in the detail. You couldn't have understood their intention till you went through annexures. No nation over the last 72 years has dealt with terrorism like India, out fight against terror didn't start after 9/11. Punjab, North East, we have seen many struggles. We lost a part of J&K. A provision that Nehru, Indira or MMS didn't dare touch, they say sedition would be done away with, that treason won't be a crime anymore, such a party doesn't deserve a single vote.
- Manifesto states that The Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC ) would be amended, that bail become a norm. It is the judiciary prerogative. Manifesto a lip sympathy. Those who kill members of the forces, this provision has been entered to protect Maoists and enemies. Manifesto states they will amend and review Armed Forces (Special Powers) Acts (AFSPA). What is AFSPA? Disturbed Areas Act deals with internal subversion. Armed Forces of the Union and Central Forces, excluding Navy... a sanction is needed to file a case against a member of the forces.
- Relatives of terrorists always make claims, you are inviting sanctions against officers. A guilty officer should be punished. Complaints are worked upon, there is an existing system in place. They want martyr status for jawans, they now want cases against them. Those who laid lives for the nation, you want them to be prosecuted at the behest of relatives of terrorists, or their friends. Ingratitude is the biggest sin a party can commit.
- 70 years of mistake have dragged Jammu and Kashmir to where it is today, we are establishing rule of law, Congress wants to establish rules of terrorists and insurgents. No mention of Kashmiri Pandits. The biggest failure in independent India, the secular cleansing of Kashmiri's. It is Congress tradition, they withdrew The Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA) and Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act (TADA) too.
P Chidambaram on Hindu terror
"Terror does not have a religion... they can be from any religion, but that is not the basis of it. Yes, we used that term (Hindu Terror) once, but we spoke with the Congress high command and we all agreed not to use that term again.... But that does not mean that the incidents didn't happen at all. And we want to see those who are responsible for it, punished."
"India was quite safe under the UPA govt between 2004-14": P Chidambaram
- The prime minister refuses to answer the real questions - jobs, economy, etc. He is desperately trying to wrest the narrative from us by only talking about issues of national security.
- India was quite safe under the UPA govt between 2004-14, except the 2008 terror attack in Mumbai. But after that we were safe and no terror attack post under our term was traced back to Pakistan.
- We are not for wars. We only focus on security. The only war in the last 30 years has been that which was fought under the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government.
- My economic analysis says that the Nyay scheme is very much possible. We will create space for it by a smart tax structure.... By that I must assure all your viewers that the middle-class taxpayer will not be burdened any further.
The BJP's Gopal Shetty filed his nomination for the Mumbai North constituency today. He is the first candidate from Mumbai. The BJP leader is contesting against Congress's Urmila Matondkar. The Congress in banking on a Govinda-like performance from her as the actor had defeated heavy weight Ram Naik in 2004.
"The BJP has been counter-productive to India's growth story... All they have done is divide communities and weakened our security... you all have seen what has happened in Kashmir in the last 5 years... We will give a top priority to national security."
On Nyay Scheme
PM said he would give Rs 15 lakh in every bank account and we all know that was a lie. We took that and I said what can we do to put as much money in the poorest people's bank accounts. And we arrived at the figure of Rs 72,000 per year.... Rs 3,60,000 in 5 years. This will go directly to their accounts. And this will help remonetize what Mr Modi had demonetized.
The youth are not getting jobs in India. Modi ji promised 2 crore jobs and that was a lie. We have come up with an actionable plan to create jobs. There are 10 lakh possible jobs at the gram panchayat level and we will deliver on it. Unlike Make in India, which is a bureaucratic process and involves bribes, we will, for entrepreneurs too, Mr Gandhi has spoken about his party's plan to ensure that "anyone would be able to start their business without any permits or clearances, and also get a tax holiday for the first three years. We will also increase jobs under MGNREGA.
On farmers' distress
We see that the rich and industrialists get away with bank loan defaults, but the farmers go to jail. We have decided that farm loan default, in case they cannot pay back, will no longer be a criminal offence.
"Manifesto should reflect the wishes of the people of India": Rahul Gandhi. We are releasing this manifesto and it is a massive step for the Congress party.
"When we started a year ago, I spoke to Mr Chidambaram and others and told them that this manifesto must reflect the wishes of the people of India. Whatever is in the manifesto must be truthful. I made it clear that nothing in this can be a lie, because we live in a time where we hear a large number of lies every day," Mr Gandhi said.
Congress President Rahul Gandhi addressing party workers at the event. "We are releasing this manifesto and it is a massive step for the Congress party," he says.
In the 10 years of the UPA, 114 million people were brought out of poverty: Manmohan Singh
- In the 10 years of the UPA, 114 million people were brought out of poverty and we will make sure that we will better that. A program of this scale is bound to do so.
- We are releasing the manifesto today and it will now rest on the Congress workers to take it to the remotest corners of the country and all communities, to help them understand what we are planning to do...
- India will get rid of poverty with this kind of vision of inclusive growth.
"Today is a unique day in the history of the Congress. We are about to unveil a scheme which will revolutionaries the farm sector and make the lives of the poorest of the poor," he says.
Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh now addressing party workers.
"Unemployment, farmer distress and women safety are the top three issues. Our manifesto is about marrying wealth and welfare. Our manifesto will focus on this and lay out the path to ensure this happens," says P Chidambaram.
- You will have a copy of the manifesto in your hands in a few minutes...
- There is enough in manifesto to address everyone's concerns.
- It addresses the concerns of our farmers, youth, dalits, those concerned over education, health, foreign policy and national security... we have tried to accommodate all of it in the manifesto.
- There was so much to be said, but we tried our best to accommodate as much as we could. Our party president has already set the narrative.
P Chidambaram, who chaired the manifesto committee, is speaking now.
Congress President Rahul Gandhi is on stage with his mother and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi and former prime minister Manmohan Singh.
Congress releases party manifesto
- I have made great efforts to help the people despite not getting any co-operation from the state government.
- I have made great efforts to help the people despite not getting any co-operation from the state government.
- 24 lakh houses in Odisha have got free electricity connection. After 70 years of independence, 3000 villages of Odisha got electricity for the first time.
- All of these things weren't done by Modi. Modi is only a sewak. India's voters are the ones who made it happen.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi id addressing a public rally in Odisha.
Lok Sabha Elections 2019: After Over 3 Decades, 'Gorkhaland' Not To Be A Poll Issue In Darjeeling
For the first time in about three decades, the demand for separate Gorkhaland state is not a poll issue in the Darjeeling Hills as parties, including the indigenous GJM and GNLF, are stressing on development and restoration of democracy in the region."
The statehood demand and implementation of the sixth schedule of the Constitution had been major poll planks in the Darjeeling Hills at various times since the beginning of the protracted Gorkhaland movement in 1986.
This time, the statehood issue has not found favour with the main opponents, the Trinamool and the BJP, and also the local outfits - GJM and GNLF - who are not in the fray but are nevertheless deciding factors in the Darjeeling Lok Sabha seat.
The Supreme Court has refused urgent hearing of Congress leader Hardik Patel's request to hold his conviction so he can contest this month's polls.
A lower court at Mehsana, Gujarat had sentenced him to 2 yrs' imprisonment in July last year, for rioting and arson in 2015, during the Patidar quota protests. He had then approached Gujarat High Court seeking suspension of his conviction so he can contest elections, but his plea was rejected.
Rajasthan Governor Kalyan Singh has violated the rules of his constitutional post by calling for Prime Minister Narendra Modi's re-election "for the sake of the country", the Election Commission has found, according to sources. The powerful election body is expected to write to President Ram Nath Kovind for action against Kalyan Singh, a BJP veteran who has been Governor since 2014.
"Looking forward to being in Bihar today. Will address rallies in Jamui and Gaya later in the day. Watch them live on the NaMo App or NaMo TV," PM Modi tweeted earlier today.
Meanwhile, the Congress will release its manifesto for the Lok Sabha polls around 11 am. The manifesto document will be released by Congress president Rahul Gandhi and all top party leaders, including former prime minister Manmohan Singh, will be present at the party's Akbar Road headquarters.
This will be Prime Minister Narendra Modi's second visit to Odisha in less than a week. On March 29, PM Modi had kicked off BJP's election campaign in the state from Jeypore town in Koraput district. After today's rally, the prime minister will visit the state again to address an election meeting in Sundargarh on April 6.
With just ten days left for polling, BJP president Amit Shah and party's other top leaders, including Union Ministers Rajnath Singh, Sushma Swaraj and Nitin Gadkari, are also expected to campaign for the party nominees in coming days.
For all election-related news of yesterday, click here