Wednesday, March 22, 2023

BJP running away from open debate: Dr Shashi Tharoor

Staff Reporter

Senior Congress leader and Lok Sabha member Dr Shashi Tharoor has questioned why BJP was running away from an open debate that it had originally challenged Congress to.
Addressing media persons at Shunammite Inn here on Thursday, Tharoor said BJP had challenged Congress for a debate on the manifesto and that Congress had accepted it, demanding that BJP explain its stand on three issues – solution to Naga political issue, protection of Article 371 (A) and condemn and take action against Janjati Dharma Sanskriti Suraksha Manch (JDSSM) operating from Guwahati, Assam for seeking delisting of Christian tribals from ST list.
Referring to BJP’s response to local daily that it would not be debating, he asked why was BJP frightened of a debate.
With Clean Election Movement (CEM) under the aegis of Nagaland Baptist Church Council (NBCC) asking candidates for debate, he stated that Congresses’ invitation should have been welcomed by BJP, which was also publicly announced by NPCC president K Therie at Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge’s rally.
He also questioned why BJP’s candidates were running away from common platform events, insisting that they should answer the people.
Taking a jibe at BJP’s manifesto, Tharoor termed the party’s manifesto as a document that meant little, reminding the people that hollow promises made during 2018 Assembly election had not been fulfilled. “BJP’s manifesto does not even refer to the political solution that it had been constantly talking since 2015,” he added.
Dwelling on Congress’ manifesto, he claimed that the manifesto was a vow to fulfil promises, adding that its seven guarantees included Rs 3,000 every month as pension for senior citizens, 33% reservation for women in urban local bodies (ULBs), mini secretariat at Tuensang, payment of 100% MGNREGA, loans for higher education at zero per cent interest, clean drinking water and sanitation in all urban and rural areas and compulsory sports training for youth after HSLC.
He disclosed that he had held interactive sessions with young Nagas in both Kohima and Dimapur, during which he claimed that the youth had expressed their concern over their future, particularly about unemployment and corruption that were undermining their dreams.
Alleging that there was an increase in attacks on Christians and minorities across the country, he assured that he would raise the issue in Parliament, underlining that it was not enough for BJP to distance itself from such incidents.
He also asked when would Prime Minister Narendra Modi openly condemn such acts, while reminding the people that BJP could not be allowed to deceive public by encouraging one kind of behaviour in Hindi belt and speaking a different language in Nagaland.
Tharoor also dwelled on poor infrastructure, erratic power supply and lack of clean drinking water, good government schools and hospitals in the State.
He lamented that Nagaland was the only State in the country that did not have a medical college, alleging that infrastructure projects had become a fountain head of corruption with incomplete structures such as stadiums, high court building, Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER), medical colleges, etc.
He requested all right-thinking Nagas to think of their future before casting their votes.
Asked whether NPCC president chief agent’s resignation would affect the chances of Congress, Tharoor replied that he was not aware of the resignation, but reiterated that his party stood for certain principles and values that were consistent throughout the country.
On the repeated statements by parties like LJP (RV) and RPI (A) that they had good relations with NDA at the Centre, he remarked that the new parties had become proxies, claiming that despite their alliance, there would be stiff competition between NDPP and BJP to see who got more seats.
“I think Naga people should see through this game and understand that these proxy parties are actually serving the interest of some politicians. They should ignore and reject all of them and support Congress,” he asserted.


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