Lok Sabha elections 2019: Congress, BJP in ‘cash for votes’, manifesto war
The Congress alleged on Wednesday that a “cash for vote scandal” in Arunachal Pradesh had revealed the “true face” of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), even as Prime Minister Narendra Modi held a rally in the state and termed the opposition party’s manifesto a “sham” that was “full of lies”.
Later in the day, finance minister Arun Jaitley raised questions about Congress president Rahul Gandhi’s assets and said that a “media expose” had revealed how the “scion” was “leading a comfortable life without having any declared source of income”.
He further alleged that funds were illegally routed through “make believe” tenancies at a farmhouse owned by the Gandhi-Nehru family.
“The ‘Chowkidar’ has finally caught a ‘Chor’,” the Union minister wrote on Twitter.
The Congress hit back at Jaitley’s comments, with party spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala calling it a smear campaign.
“In a bid to not answer on the cash for vote scandal and put a lid over Rs 180 lakh allegedly recovered from the carcade of BJP CM Pema Khandu, Bogus Blog Minister Arun Jaitley has rehashed the same fake allegations, made thrice earlier by Sambit Patra and twice by Ravi Shankar Prasad,” the Congress spokesperson said.
Surjewala said the farmhouse in question was an over 50-year-old ancestral property, whose rent details had been fully disclosed and income tax paid in accordance with the law.
The Bharatiya Janata Party also stepped up its attack against the Congress over its manifesto, released on Tuesday, with the Prime Minister leading the charge at the rally in Pasighat: “... till 2014, around 18,000 villages in the country were still to be electrified... Just like them (the Congress), their manifesto is corrupt and full of lies. Therefore, it should be called hypocrisy document [dhakosla patra], not a manifesto.”
Hitting out at the Congress over its promise to review the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA) and to repeal Section 124A (sedition law) of the Indian Penal Code, BJP president Amit Shah said that the opposition party should not “stoop so low for the politics of vote”.
Defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman alleged that the Congress manifesto was a “threat to the country” as the party “favours separatists and terrorists”.
On Tuesday, Congress president Rahul Gandhi released his party’s manifesto -- which promises focus on creating employment opportunities, addressing farm distress, reviewing AFSPA and providing ₹72,000 per annum to poor families – for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections, starting April 11. In a blog post on networking site LinkedIn on Wednesday, Gandhi criticised demonetisation and the implementation of the Goods and Services Tax and said the Congress will aim to make a “fresh start”.
“We promise to make India not just strong and united, but also just and equitable. We will implement a strong freedom agenda,” he wrote.