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Tuesday, Dec 10, 2019

Rajnath adds to BJP’s election pitch in Jharkhand

The BJP is seeking a second term in the five phase election for the state’s 81 seats, when the results are declared on December 23.

assembly-elections Updated: Dec 02, 2019 04:17 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Bermo/Seraikela
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh speaks during an election campaign rally for Jharkhand Assembly polls.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh speaks during an election campaign rally for Jharkhand Assembly polls.(PTI Photo)
         

The whirring of his helicopter creates a dust storm at the rally ground in Bermo, about 170 km from state capital Ranchi. Defence minister Rajnath Singh steps out to a cheering crowd.

He has arrived early but the round is almost full. “The first phase of election is over, and the BJP is winning 10 out of 13 assembly seats that have voted,” Singh said in his speech. “It is going to be a full majority government.”

He focusses on the government’s welfare programmes - free LPG cylinders, incentive to farmers, medical insurance and others - and said no Prime Minister in India’s history ever thought of such schemes.

The Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) track record of delivering on election promises is unmatched, he said. “When we spoke about Ram Temple at Ayodhya, Congress and others used to mock us. Now you see a grand temple is coming up at Lord Ram’s birthplace. Nobody can stop it,” Singh said to loud cheer.

He then turned to Kashmir. “There was a situation where Kashmir had different flag and constitution. Kashmir had a separate Prime Minister. Our promise to abrogate Article 370 was also mocked. When we got majority, we scrapped it.” The cheer was louder this time.

The BJP is seeking a second term in the five phase election for the state’s 81 seats, when the results are declared on December 23. It faces an opposition alliance of the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha, Congress and Rashtriya Janata Dal.

After Bermo, Singh takes his chopper to Adityapur in Seraikela district. He is 15 minutes early here too.

People are still pouring into the rally ground but Singh decided not to wait. Union minister Arjun Munda, also a former chief minister, greets him on the stage. It’s time for another speech.

“Many foreigners are living in India illegally, and we have decided that national register if citizens is implemented across the country,” Singh said. “Some blame us of communal politics. Is it a crime to identify these illegal settlers. We are not worried about votes. We will identify them and deport them to their respective countries,” Singh said.

He credited the BJP government for having an iron fist that eliminated terrorism and Maoist violence from the country.

But there are issues that Singh knew he needed to address. The BJP has dropped 13 of its sitting MLAs because of anti-incumbency and the party is worried about its poll prospects in these seats. “You may have complains with your MLAs, but don’t think about candidates. Vote for the BJP. We only can deliver a stable government that doesn’t indulge in corrupt practices.”

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi will address his first rally during the assembly polls campaign in Jharkhand on Monday. Gandhi will address a public meeting in Simdega in favour of the party’s candidate Bhushan Bara who is up against BJP’s Shraddhanand Besra.