Cong announces additional guarantees, economic justice

Kharge said that Congress has announced 15 guarantees, i.e., Kisan Nyay, Yuva Nyay, and Mahila Nyay, and in each Nyay or guarantee, there will be five points totalling 15 points…reports Asian Lite News

Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge announced the party’s fourth and fifth Nyay, or guarantees for the people of the country — Shramik Nyay and Hissedari Nyay — on Saturday.

While addressing a press conference in Bengaluru, Kharge said that Congress has announced 15 guarantees, i.e., Kisan Nyay, Yuva Nyay, and Mahila Nyay, and in each Nyay or guarantee, there will be five points totalling 15 points.

He said that the main objective of Rahul Gandhi’s Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra is to give social and political equality to everyone.

“In nearly 63 days of Rahul Gandhi’s Nyay Yatra that started in Manipur, the Congress party has announced 15 guarantees for Kisan Nyay, Yuva Nyay and Mahila Nyay, and each Nyay has five points, making it 15 Nyay to provide social, economic and political justice. Today we are announcing five more guarantees, each for ‘Shramik Nyay and Hissedari Nyay’,” Kharge said.

“We have announced Kisan Nyay, Yuva Nyay and Mahila Nyay. The Congress party has formulated a 15-point programme and will offer five guarantees under each Nyay. If Congress comes to power, we will implement it,” he said.

In a joint press conference with Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, Kharge said, “Tomorrow, Rahul Gandhi will announce all Nyay guarantees in Mumbai.”

Launching a scathing attack on PM Modi, the Congress Chief said, “Unfortunately, the Modi government has weakened labour laws in these ten years. PM Modi is not interested in the NREGA projects. Labour is not being paid under the NREGA scheme. If the central government gives grants at the right time, the projects will start at the right time.”

“Since its inception, the Congress Party has championed the rights of labourers and workers. The party enacted numerous laws for social security, fair wages and improving conditions for workers. We will increase the NREGA wages by 400 rupees,” he added.

Speaking on poll promises, “We will remove anti-labour acts and bring the Recruitment Act. We provide permanent employment. We bring ‘Jal Jungle Jameen for tribals’. It will help the economic development of the tribal people.”

Congress’s announcement comes at a time when the Election Commission of India (ECI) announced its schedule of dates for the Lok Sabha elections in Delhi on Saturday.

The general election for 543 Lok Sabha seats will be held in seven phases starting April 19. The counting will be held on June 4. The ECI also announced the dates for the Lok Sabha and four state assembly elections. (ANI)

Farmers may play key role in Punjab LS polls

In agrarian Punjab, where Scheduled Castes and Backward Classes make up 55 per cent of the population, religion and the issues of farmers and farm labourers are likely to play a decisive role in a seemingly four-cornered contest for the 13 Lok Sabha seats in the seventh and the last phase on June 1.

Amidst the speculation that the once traditional alliance partners — the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) and the BJP — maybe joining hands before the polls, a confident state ruling Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), which is contesting the elections alone without any alliance with the opposition’s INDIA bloc, has already announced the names of eight candidates in the first list.

The Congress, which is yet to come out of the shadows after facing a humiliating defeat in the 2022 assembly elections, is facing friction within the state unit, besides the exit of senior leaders.

Political observers told IANS that if the Akali Dal and the BJP do not have any pre-poll alliance, then there would be a four-cornered contest — among the AAP, the BJP, SAD and the Congress.

The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and the hardliner Shiromani Akali Dal-Amritsar (SAD-A), whose sitting MP Simranjit Singh Mann from the Sangrur seat, may also field candidates.

The BSP has announced the termination of its alliance with the Akali Dal, alleging the latter’s alignment with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

Meanwhile, the candidates to whom the AAP has given tickets, are all sitting legislators, mostly ministers. On the lines of Delhi, in Punjab too the party has fielded most of the legislators.

The Ministers of Punjab whom the AAP has announced as candidates for the Lok Sabha polls are current ministers Kuldeep Singh Dhaliwal from Amritsar, Laljit Singh Bhullar from Khadur Sahib, Gurmeet Singh Khudia from Bathinda, Gurmeet Singh Meet Hayer from Sangrur, and Dr. Balbir Singh from Patiala.

In the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the Congress had won eight seats, the NDA, comprising the BJP and the SAD, won four seats and the AAP one.

Out of the 13 seats, four seats are reserved for the Scheduled Caste candidates, while the remaining seats are unreserved.

BJP leader and two-time Chief Minister Amarinder Singh is in favour of an alliance of his party with the SAD, once a long-time partner of the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA).

Amarinder Singh in a recent interview with a news channel claimed that even Punjab BJP president Sunil Jakhar is in favour of the alliance.

Regarding the distribution of seats between both the parties, he said the matter would be discussed by the high command.

“If the BJP and the Akali Dal come together, no one can defeat us,” he claimed.

On the demands of the protesting farmers, including the legal provision of the minimum support price (MSP) for crops, Amarinder Singh said he discussed issues related to the state and the farmers with the Prime Minister.

In the last Assembly polls held in 2022, the number of SAD legislators in the 117-member House was reduced to three, down from its tally of 15 seats in 2017, its lowest ever number.

Amarinder Singh and Jakhar, both former Congress leaders, are prominent rebels.

Snapping its over two-decade long ties, the Akali Dal pulled out of the National Democratic Alliance in September 2020 after sharp differences emerged over the now-repealed three controversial farm laws.

The Akali Dal was one of the oldest allies of the BJP. It was among the first to support the 13-day Atal Bihari Vajpayee government, the shortest Prime Minister’s stint in India’s history, in 1996.

To rebuild the beleaguered Akali Dal and prevent further exodus of its leaders, SAD chief Sukhbir Badal, who was known as the ‘Super Chief Minister’ when the party was at the helm, is on his toes.

His wife, Harsimrat Kaur Badal, who held the portfolio of the Food Processing Industry in both the Modi-led Central governments, is raking up state-specific issues in Parliament.

The husband-wife duo won the parliamentary polls in 2019.

Just ahead of poll announcement, senior Congress leader, former Union minister, and four-time MP from Patiala, Preneet Kaur, joined the BJP in Delhi. She is the wife of Capt Amarinder Singh.

In another setback to the Congress, its sitting legislator Raj Kumar Chabbewal joined the AAP on Friday.

After former MLA G.P. Singh from Bassi Pathana, Chabbewal is the second Congress leader to join the AAP.

Prominent Dalit leader Chabbewal, who comes from the Doaba region, had also contested the 2019 Lok Sabha elections from Hoshiarpur on a Congress ticket but lost to the BJP’s Som Parkash, Union Minister of State for Commerce and Industry. He is likely to be fielded by the AAP from Hoshiarpur.

Punjab had recorded a voter turnout of 65.96 percent in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.

The state’s Chief Electoral Officer Sibin C said Punjab has a total of 2,12,71,246 voters, including 1,19,29,959 men, 1,07,75,543 women and 744 transgender voters. A total of 24,433 polling stations have been set up for the 13 parliamentary seats.

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