Sunday, April 2, 2023

Congress ready for a debate with BJP on poll manifestoes: Jairam

Staff Reporter

All India Congress Committee (AICC) general secretary in-charge of communications and MP(RS) Jairam Ramesh said Congress accepts BJP’s challenge for a debate on election manifestoes, that was thrown up by convenor BJP State media cell Sapralu Nyekha recently.
Jairam said this while addressing a press conference at Congress Bhavan here on Friday. He said the debate will take place after BJP’s clarification on three issues- (1) its 2018 slogan ‘Election for Solution’. Jairam said five years have passed and where is the solution? Rather he said the slogan has instead become ‘Election For Confusion’, He also demanded that BJP clarify on its ‘philosophical statement’ – Framework Agreement signed on August 3,2015- since eight years have passed since people of Nagaland were still waiting for Modi’s promised solution.
(2) he also asked BJP whether it was ready to give a categorical assurance to the people of Nagaland that BJP government would not disturb Article 371(A) of the Indian constitution in letter and spirit? He maintained that Article 371(A) was introduced by the Congress party 61 years ago on the principles of three Ps– to “Preserve, Protect and Promote the interest of Nagaland”. “This is a party (BJP), that in eight hours, in a dictatorial manner abolished Article 370 (in Jammu & Kashmir)”, he said.
(3) Thirdly, Jairam asked BJP whether it would dissociate from and condemn the statement made by one of the front organizations of the RSS– Assam-based Janajati Dharma-Sanskriti Suraksha Manch’s (JDSSM) which has demanded removal of ST status of people who have embraced Christianity?
He said without clarification on these three issues, any debate on the manifesto would be “pointless, meaningless and a waste of time”.
The former UPA Union minister pointed out that BJP had in all its election manifestoes, promised to implement Uniform Civil Code (UCC), and therefore asked the party its approach with regard to Nagaland vis-à-vis UCC.
He reminded people that Congress was the only party that will protect and preserve the diversity, culture and religion of Nagaland, and the only party that can bring Nagaland back on the road to peace, harmony and development.
Jairam also mentioned that the past five years was a story of broken promises and accused BJP of not providing necessary impetus to development such as good roads, reliable electricity, adequate sports facilities, etc.
He said time had come for people of Nagaland to recognise that they have been betrayed by the BJP and its ally NDPP. He said it was crucial for the people to repose trust and confidence in Congress and vote for its candidates. He assured that the party was in a position to provide governance to the people.
He also said Congress was fielding young candidates for the Assembly election for the first time as the party was undergoing a process of transformation. He appealed to the people to support these candidates. He announced that Congress would extend support to any civil society organisation that takes the initiative to conduct free and fair election.
NPCC president K Therie also released a manifesto that included seven guarantees of Congress – old age pension of Rs3,000 per month to senior citizens; 33% reservation for women in urban local bodies; establishing mini secretariat at Tuensang; 100% payment to labourers under MGNREGA scheme; loans for higher education at zero percent interest; clean drinking water and sanitation facilities for all urban and rural areas and compulsory sports training for youth after HSLC.


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