General Election 2019 live | Congress promises 'Wealth and Welfare' to all Indians

Here are today’s election related updates at a glance


Wanted manifesto to reflect the voice of people: Rahul Gandhi

Releasing the Congress manifesto for the upcoming Lok Sabha election, Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday said this was a massive step for the party.

"When we started this process about a year ago, I spoke to Mr. Chidamabaram and Mr. Gowda, I gave them two directions.

"I know that Congress has the expertise but I wanted it to reflect the voice of the people. I don’t want a single thing in the manifesto that is a lie because we hear the PM speaking lies every day,"  he said.

When asked if he would be PM, Mr. Gandhi said this depends on the people of the country.  "You ask the country. I am doing my job," he says.

When asked about PM Modi’s comment on him shifting to a safe seat (Wayanad), he said the narrative is to ensure NYAY, the proposed minimum guaranteed income scheme.

"f PM can give money to Anil, we can give it to people. The chowkidaar can hide but can’t run. I don’t make false promises," he says. 

On the Wayanad seat:

"There is a strong feeling in South India that they are not being carried by the present government. I wanted to send a message that I am with you."

On PM Modi’s ‘Hindu’ comment:

"Everyone is Hindu but the country needs jobs, Nyay, women reservation. PM Modi is hiding, he is running scared. Why don’t you ask the PM the same questions? I challenge PM Modi to a debate on corruption, national security, foreign policy. Why he doesn’t do a press conference?"

Mr. Gandhi also says he is "absolutely sure" the issues in this election are "unemployment, farmers’ distress, NYAY".

"Five big ideas"

Manifesto has five big ideas, says Mr. Gandhi.

He reiterates the minimum guaranteed income scheme.

"PM promised Rs. 15 lakh but that was a lie. Taking the idea from him, I asked the party leaders how much can the govt give to citizens," he says. "Garibi  pe war, saal me 72000 haza (War on poverty, Rs.72000 per year)," he says.

Mr. Gandhi promises to fill up vacant government jobs.

"The second big issue is jobs. 22 lakhs jobs vacant in government services. They can be filled up immediately," he says, also promising 10 lakh jobs in gram sabhas.

"The next is enabling entrepreneurs to give jobs by giving them permission free operation for the first three years and tax incentives,"  he adds.

MNREGA to be increased to 150 days of employment from the existing 100.

Mr. Gandhi also announces a separate farmers’ budget. "Like the railway budget, we will have a separate farmers’ budget," he says.

Congress also promises to decriminalise non-payment of loans by farmers. "Mehul Choksi and Vijay Mallya can run away but our farmers are put in jail. If farmers cannot repay loan, it will no longer be a criminal offense," he says.

Congress promises to spend 6% of the GDP on education, while strengthening government health institutions so, "everyone is given quality healthcare".

The manifesto also promises to review and replace the current GST laws with the GST 2.0 regime. This will truly reflect the intent and purpose of a non-cascading, value-added, indirect tax, says Mr. Gandhi. "The GST 2.0 regime will be based on a single, moderate, standard rate of tax," he says.

The manifesto promises that essential goods of mass consumption (such as food grains, lifesaving drugs, vaccines, etc.) and essential services will be exempted from GST 2.0 or zero-rated.

Forward-looking manifesto: Manmohan Singh

Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said Congress will release a "forward-looking document".

"We are going to release a forward looking document which will reflect of aspirations of the people. I am sure it will be debated all over the country so that people know the vision," he said.

He said all wanted India to be a prosperous country where productivity and prosperity go together.

"This manifesto spells out the vision of a rapidly expanding economy as well as how to lift people out of poverty. It is the duty of the Congress workers to take this manifesto. Must tell people about the agrarian distress, how foreign policy is a mess. We must take it to people and tell them that we can work together," he said.

The theme of the manifesto is wealth and welfare: P. Chidambaram

Former Finance Minister P. Chidambaram said the theme of the Congress’ manifesto was "wealth and welfare".

Speaking at its release, Mr. Chidambaram said, "The contents of the manifesto are the millions of voices that we heard during our consultations. They were either spoken or written. There is enough in the Manifesto that addresses our concern of farmers, youth, women, minorities, national security, North Eastern States."

The idea is to set the narrative for the 2019 elections, said Mr. Chidambaram and added that Congress president Rahul Gandhi had already set the narrative.

"The BJP is trying the narrative as polarization, hyper nationalism and disiveness. The primary issue is jobs. 4.7 crore jobs were lost," he said.

"The second issue is farmer distress. Every farmer has a loan burden. The third issue is women’s security. The theme of the manifesto is Wealth and welfare," he added.


Congress set to release manifesto

AICC general secretary in-charge of UP East Priyanka Gandhi at the AICC headquarters ahead of the release of the party’s manifesto on Tuesday, April 2, 2019
| Photo Credit: R.V. Moorthy


The Indian National Congress is set to release its manifesto for the Lok Sabha polls shortly.

The manifesto document will be released by Congress president Rahul Gandhi and all top party leaders, including former prime minister Manmohan Singh, will be present at the party’s Akbar Road headquarters.

Mr. Gandhi has said that the manifesto will reflect the people’s voice and not just one man’s view, while making a clear reference to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

He has also said the manifesto will lay major thrust on jobs creation, addressing agrarian distress and strengthening the education and health sectors besides charting a roadmap to boost economic growth.


EC to write to President on alleged poll code violation by Rajasthan Governor

The Election Commission of India on Tuesday said it will bring to President Ram Nath Kovind’s notice the alleged Model Code of Conduct violation by Rajasthan Governor Kalyan Singh.

The ECI had earlier taken cognisance of Mr. Singh’s statement that he was one of the BJP “karyakartas”. “We have found that the remark is prima facie violative of the MCC. Therefore, we will write to the President,” said a senior EC official.

About a week ago, Mr. Singh had told BJP workers they were all party workers and therefore, they should ensure it’s victory. “Every worker would want Narendra Modi again became the Prime Minister,” he said.

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Sena MP Raut gets EC notice for poll code violation

The district election officer of Mumbai has issued a notice to Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut for alleged violation of the model code of conduct over his comments against CPI candidate Kanhaiya Kumar.

Raut, who is the editor of Sena mouthpiece ‘Saamana’, said in the publication on Sunday that Kumar should be defeated in the elections even if it means the BJP has to “tamper with EVMs“.

Kumar, the former president of the Jawaharlal Nehru University’s student union, is contesting the upcoming Lok Sabha poll from Begusarai in Bihar.

In his column ‘Rok Thok’ in the Marathi daily, Raut also said that Kumar, “a bottle of poison”, must not reach Parliament.

Following his remarks, the Rajya Sabha MP was issued a notice on Monday, asking him to respond to it by Wednesday.

Further action in the matter will be decided by the Election Commission.


Congress fields Olympian Krishna Poonia from Jaipur Rural LS seat

Former Olympian discus champion Krishna Poonia. File


The Congress on Monday fielded Olympian discus thrower Krishna Poonia from the Jaipur Rural constituency as it released another list of nine candidates for the Lok Sabha polls.

With this, the Congress has so far announced the names of 325 candidates for the upcoming general election.

Ms. Poonia, a three-time Olympic participant, is the MLA from the Sadulpur constituency in Rajasthan.

She will contest against Union Information and Broadcasting Minister and Olympic medallist Rajyavardhan Rathore, who is the Jaipur Rural MP.

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It’s Mohan Joshi vs BJP’s Girish Bapat in Pune

Putting an end to suspense, the Congress has announced Mohan Joshi as its candidate from Pune Lok Sabha constituency in Maharashtra.

The announcement was made late Monday night by the Congress in an official release, a day after its city unit started poll campaigning in the constituency though it had then not declared its candidate.

Joshi’s main rival in Pune constituency is five-time BJP MLA and state cabinet minister Girish Bapat.

Joshi, popularly known as ‘dada’ in political circles, is considered a loyalist of the Congress since 1972.

He earlier contested the Lok Sabha election in 1999 from Pune but lost to BJP’s Pradip Rawat. Despite the then triangular fight between the BJP, NCP and Congress, he had secured 2.12 lakh votes.

Joshi, a former MLC and ex-president of the state Youth Congress, also served as AICC observer for Rajasthan Assembly polls in 2013, Bihar elections in 2010 and polls in Karnataka, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh in 2008, 2007 and 2005, respectively.


BSP MLA Maulana Jameel joins Congress

Bahujan Samaj Party MLA Maulana Jameel joined the Congress ahead of the Lok Sabha elections.

Talking to reporters here, Mr. Jameel said he left the Mayawati-led outfit as he felt only Congress could defeat the BJP in the coming elections.

The MLA joined the Congress in the presence of AICC general secretary Jyotiraditya Scindia in Delhi on Monday.

Jameel was elected on a BSP ticket from Meerapur assembly constituency in 2012.


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