BJP national president J P Nadda will release the party’s election manifesto for Rajasthan in Jaipur Thursday. The state is going to the polls on November 25.
The BJP’s “Sankalp Patra” (manifesto) is based on the suggestions of more than one crore people through the party’s outreach programmes like “Akansha Peti”, e-mails and social media platforms, claimed Union Minister Arjun Ram Meghwal, who is the convener of the party’s manifesto committee.
Nadda will also address public meetings in Dausa district, while Union Home Minister Amit Shah will hold poll rallies in Tonk and Rajsamand disricts on Thursday.
The BJP is stepping up its campaign to oust the incumbent Ashok Gehlot-led Congress from power in the state.
The Congress is yet to release its manifesto for the elections to the 200-member Rajasthan Assembly. The party has however declared its seven poll “guarantees” so far, which include Rs 10,000 per annum honorarium for women heads of families, subsidised gas cylinders at Rs 500 for over 1 crore households, free laptops or tablets for first-year students studying in government colleges, free English medium school education, purchase of dung from cattle owners at Rs 2 per kg, Rs 15 lakh calamity insurance for Chiranjeevi families, and a pledge to back the old pension scheme (OPS) for government employees with a law.
Banking on youths’ job anxiety, the BJP has roped in the face of the state’s fight against ‘paper mafia’ — Upen Yadav — who has led “300 campaigns and 12 hunger strikes” for the cause of the unemployed. But as Hamza Khan reports, winning the Shahpura seat may be tough for the founder of Berozgar Ekikrat Mahasangh, against the Congress’s Manish Yadav and sitting Independent MLA Alok Beniwal.
The curtains came down Wednesday on a high-voltage campaigning for elections to the 230-member Madhya Pradesh Assembly and the second and final phase for 70 seats of the Chhattisgarh polls, which are scheduled for November 17. Addressing a rally in the Arang constituency of Chhattisgarh’s Raipur on the last day of electioneering, Nadda attacked the Congress, alleging that it had once called Lord Ram a “fictional character” but was now seeking votes in his name.
Nadda accused the Congress of being synonymous with “scams, embezzlement, loot and cheating”, claiming that the BJP stood for development, women empowerment, farmer welfare and protection of deprived sections.
The BJP’s campaign was spearheaded by Prime Minister Narendra Modi who addressed four large rallies for the second phase and targeted Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel-led Congress government over corruption, especially the alleged Mahadev betting app scam and recruitment scandal, and the Naxal issue.
In MP, the Congress is the challenger against the incumbent Shivraj Singh Chouhan-led BJP government. As Anand Mohan J reports the polls will be a test for senior Congress leader Digvijaya Singh, who was assigned the arduous task of rejuvenating the party organisation in 66 seats seen as the BJP’s strongholds, and has been the face of the Congress offensive in the state. Rising up to the challenge, the man who had declared that he would not contest elections for 10 years after the Congress lost the state in 2003 with him as the CM, has spent the better part of the past five years walking the length and breadth of the state.
But he really got onto the task right after top Congress leader Rahul Gandhi’s Bharat Jodo Yatra. By the time PM Modi and Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge visited the state in August, Singh had already put behind him an 11-km walk barefoot through the Berasia Assembly seat, working on the ground and mobilising party workers.
During his continuous tours since, Digvijaya has attended gatherings, big and small, rallied cadres, and stepped in to placate angry party workers. Party workers talk of him letting grassroots workers take the stage and air their grievances, as he patiently jotted down their suggestions.
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Over in Ludhiana, Punjab Chief Minister and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Bhagwant Mann will Thursday flag off a bicycle rally as part of a campaign against the drug menace.
More than 20,000 people have registered themselves for the rally, which will start from the Punjab Agricultural University campus, Commissioner of Police Mandeep Singh Sidhu said. The rally will begin at 7 am from the PAU campus and culminate at the same place after covering a distance of around 13 km. Punjab Police chief Gaurav Yadav will also participate in the event.
Sidhu said the bicycle rally will act as a catalyst to spread awareness among people against drugs and will be a befitting tribute to Shaheed Kartar Singh Sarabha on his martyrdom day.
He said people from all walks of life, including doctors, industrialists, students, village heads and politicians, will participate in the rally, making this anti-drug campaign a mass movement.
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Meanwhile, the system developed by the Pune-based Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology to identify the contribution of different pollution sources — which showed that air pollution due to stubble-burning accounted for 23% of Delhi’s air pollution on Wednesday — has predicted that the pollution due to stubble-burning is likely to go down to 11% on Thursday and 4% on Friday.
That would bring slight relief to residents of the Capital, where, amid stable atmospheric conditions, the poisonous haze hanging over its skies thickened on Wednesday, with the average Air Quality Index (AQI) touching 401, up from 397 on Tuesday.
According to Swiss company IQAir that specialises in air quality monitoring, Delhi was the most polluted city in the world on Tuesday, followed by Lahore and Mumbai.
– With PTI inputs