BJP struggling to reach 200 seats in LS polls: Kharge

PTI, May 16, 2024, 8:43 PM IST

Asserting that INDIA bloc will form the next government at the Centre, Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge on Thursday said the BJP and its partners are struggling to get 200 seats as people are opposed to their policies.

Referring to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s claim that the NDA will secure 400-plus seats this time, Kharge asked, ”From where the BJP will get these seats? You (Modi) are nowhere in sight in South India. In the rest of the country, seats will come down by half. BJP will not form the government at the Centre. It will struggle to secure 200 seats.”

Addressing a press conference, he pointed out that the NDA partners are facing difficulties in Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh. ”You are also facing problems in Odisha as people are in a mood to vote for the Congress as they are fed up with both the BJD and the BJP,” Kharge added.

Lambasting both the BJD and BJP, the Congress president claimed that the Naveen Patnaik government will be voted out and the Congress will come to power in the state.

Dwelling upon various failures of the state and central governments, Kharge hoped that this time the coalition government will come to power at the Centre to save democracy and protect the Constitution as well as to make India united.

Dismissing Modi’s guarantees, Kharge said, ”In the past too, the PM had made promises like Rs 15 lakh per family, doubling of income of farmers by 2022, two crore jobs per year and others. Those have not been fulfilled. Rather Modi increased the prices of all commodities including oil and cooking gas.” Noting that Odisha was an important state for the Congress, Kharge alleged that both the BJD and the BJP have destroyed the state.

”There is no development in Odisha even though the Naveen Patnaik government ruled the state for 25 years. The state is rich in natural resources on which industries of other states are dependant. There is no development here,” he said.

Kharge also expressed concern on the high rate of unemployment in Odisha. As per the ILO report, Odisha has the highest unemployment rate of 41 per cent among all states, he said.

Referring to corruption, Kharge said lakhs of crores of rupees have been looted through chit fund and mining scams in the state and appealed to people to throw the BJD government out of power.

”There are 30 lakh government posts lying vacant in the country, which have not been filled in the last 10 years. Out of these 30 lakh posts, 15 lakh were meant for Dalits, tribals and backward communities,” Kharge said, adding, ”As soon as the INDIA bloc government is formed, we will fill all these vacant posts. We will start working on this on August 15, which is within two months of formation of the government.

Appealing to people to vote for the Congress in order to save democracy during an election rally in Kandhamal district, Kharge said the party promises to provide 10 kg rice per head under the food security scheme.

Kharge reminded people that the Congress had contributed a lot for the development of the state. He said the party had a role in setting up the Paradip Port, Rourkela Steel Plant, Nalco, Hirakud Dam and others along with KBK Yojana for eradication of poverty.

The Congress president also said the Congress was the only party that all along fought for the welfare and protection of tribals, dalits, OBCs and others. ”The Modi government has been attempting to abolish reservation for the STs, SCs and OBCs. It is also trying to change the Constitution and deny fundamental rights to people,” he said, appealing to people to save democracy and save the Constitution. Reacting to Kharge’s remarks, senior BJP leader and Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla said they (INDIA bloc) do not have any common agenda. ”They are fighting separately and making different promises. The people do not believe them at all,” he added. On Kharge’s allegation that the Modi government will end reservation, Birla said, ”The Congress is telling lies. There is no question of ending reservation for STs, SCs and OBCs,” Birla added.

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