Cong finalises seat-sharing pact

Congress General Secretary says party has finalised its seat sharing with all other parties of the INDIA bloc except in West Bengal and Jammu & Kashmir…reports Asian Lite News

Congress General Secretary in-charge Communications Jairam Ramesh has said that the Congress party has finalised its seat sharing with all other parties of the INDIA bloc except in West Bengal and Jammu & Kashmir.

The Congress leader made the remark while addressing a press conference in Madhya Pradesh’s Shajapur district on Tuesday, when he arrived here with the Rahul Gandhi-led Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra.

On being asked about where the INDIA alliance stands as Lok Sabha elections are draws closer, the Congress leader said, “INDIA alliance started in Patna on June 23, last year. After that, the second meeting was held in Bengaluru on July 17 and 18. The third meeting of the alliance was held in Mumbai on August 31 and September 1 and the fourth meeting was held in Delhi on December 19 last year. There were a total of 28 parties in the alliance. After the formation of the INDIA alliance, suddenly the Prime Minister tried to revive the dead NDA alliance. We would be aware that when the India alliance was announced, the talk of NDA had started. Where does NDA come from? Take out two ‘I’ from INDIA, Imandari (honesty) and Insaniyat (humanity) and it becomes NDA.”

He also took a dig at Bihar CM Nitish Kumar who recently switched sides to Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) from Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), which is a part of INDIA bloc saying he (Nitish Kumar) is a master of ‘Palti’ (switching sides).

“There were a total of 28 parties in the INDIA Alliance but of these a party leader (Bihar CM Nitish Kumar) switched sides. His history is of ‘Palti’ (switching sides). He is a master of Palti. Out of 28 parties, 27 were left and later one more party left INDIA bloc and joined NDA. So we became 26. But I want to say that 26 parties are strong parties,” he added.

The Congress leader further said, “Now out of 28 parties, 26 parties are with us and one or two more parties may join us in Maharashtra. We are strong and our seat-sharing formula in Jammu and Kashmir is being finalised. There has been some delay (referring to seat sharing issue) in West Bengal but the Congress Party has finalised the seat sharing with all the other parties. Only two states left are West Bengal and Jammu and Kashmir.”

When asked whether Congress is in touch with West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee, Jairam Ramesh said that they were hopeful that some middle path would be worked out and were trying their best.

“Mamata Banerjee is part of the INDIA Group. The Left parties are also the Part of India group. Mamata Banerjee attended Patna, Mumbai, Bengaluru and Delhi meetings of the INDIA Group. She has said that her priority is to defeat the BJP and strengthen India. That is also the priorities of the Congress party. We are hopeful that some middle path will be worked out. Let us see we are trying our best,” the Congress leader said.

Panel prepares draft manifesto 

The Congress panel tasked with preparing the party’s manifesto for the Lok Sabha polls has prepared the draft which will now be discussed by the Congress Working Committee.

Former Finance Minister P Chidambaram, who heads the manifesto committee, said the draft report will be presented to Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge.

“We have prepared the draft manifesto. Now it will go to the Congress Working Committee. They will finalize the manifesto then it will become the Congress party document. Tomorrow we will hand over this draft to the Congress President,” he said.

Congress is all set to launch its campaign for the Lok Sabha polls next week, aiming to cater to different age groups, said party sources on Friday.

According to the sources, the party has hired two large companies for publicity materials and hoardings.

For the first time, the party will do new experiments in its media strategy. In response to the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) centralised media campaigns, the Congress will launch localised campaigns at micro levels, said the sources.

Sources said Congress will also put up hoardings promising legal guarantee for Minimum Support Price (MSP) for farmers. Earlier, during the farmers’ ‘Delhi Chalo’ March, the party had said it would provide legal guarantee of MSP for farmers if voted to power.

The Congress has promised to conduct a nationwide caste census if voted to power.

To provide momentum to the election campaign, the Congress has appointed one lakh Booth Level Agents (BLA). The Lok Sabha polls are likely to be held in April-May this year. (ANI)

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