After a slew of electoral defeats in assembly by-polls, the Congress is pinning its hopes of revival in MP on the upcoming by-polls. In an interview, the party’s candidate Kantilal Bhuria highlights the key focus of the party’s campaign. Excerpts:
What kind of development do you want for Ratlam-Jhabua parliamentary constituency?
It is a tribal-dominated area and it needs the government’s special attention. The key (focus areas) are welfare schemes, better education and health facilities, better road and rail connectivity, improved electricity supply in rural areas, and support to tribals through forest rights and panchayati raj.
BJP has alleged that Congress has done nothing for the constituency. What do you have to say?
The Congress has this area on its priority list. The party ensured development through MNREGA, PM Gramin Sadak Yojana, NRHM, Maahi Dam project, Dahod-Indore-Chhota Udaipur railway line and Ratlam’s Dholawad water project. The UPA government allotted Rs 200 crore for Ratlam medical college.
On what grounds are you claiming victory?
I have been in touch with the people even though I lost the 2014 general elections. In the past few years, our opponents were successful in creating a false impression about the Congress. When the blast took place in Petlawad, I was there to support the people. They fully understand who protected the blast accused and under whose patronage explosive material was stored.
Congress has raised the reservation issue but the tribals already have this privilege. What kind of reservation do you want?
The Congress party has not raised the issue of reservation, but we definitely want students, youngsters of the under-privileged tribal people to get government support. Also, no one has the right to challenge the reservation provided to SC/STs in our Constitution and we fully support it.