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Opposition leaders target BJP as campaigning peaks for second phase of Lok Sabha elections 2024

Updated on: 24 April,2024 08:43 AM IST  |  New Delhi

Addressing a rally in Karnataka's Chitradurga, she said that Congress will pass a constitutional amendment to raise the 50 per cent cap on reservations for SCs, STs and OBCs

Opposition leaders target BJP as campaigning peaks for second phase of Lok Sabha elections 2024

Priyanka Gandhi Vadra. File Pic

Campaigning has peaked for the second phase of Lok Sabha elections on April 26 with opposition leaders from the INDIA bloc hitting out at the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) over Prime Minister's "mangalsutra" remark, over the BJP's Surat MP winning unopposed with Congress leaders reiterating promise to conduct a caste census.

Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra on Tuesday said that her party is committed to conducting a caste survey if it is elected to power at the Centre and the Kadugolla community in Karnataka will be included among Scheduled Tribes (ST). Addressing a rally in Karnataka's Chitradurga, she said that Congress will pass a constitutional amendment to raise the 50 per cent cap on reservations for SCs, STs and OBCs.

"For Scheduled Castes (SC), Scheduled Tribes (ST) and OBC like my brother (Rahul Gandhi) says everywhere, a complete count will be done in the entire country as to who belongs to which caste and how much is their population and who is earning how much and then new policies will be made under that. The reservation limit will be increased from 50 per cent and the SC, ST sub-plan will be implemented. A special budget will be issued for SC, ST, and the Kadugolla community will be given ST status," she said.

Later, at a public meeting in Bengaluru, Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi on Tuesday hit back at Prime Minister Narendra Modi over his "Mangalsutra" comments saying that the latter does not understand the struggles of women and her mother, Sonia Gandhi's mangalsutra was sacrificed for the country.

"In the last two days, they are discussing that the Congress party wants to rob you of your mangal sutra, your gold. It has been 70 years since the country gained independence. The Congress has been in power for around 55 years. Has anyone taken off your gold, your mangal sutra? When we were at war, Indira Gandhi gave off her gold to the country. My mother's (Sonia Gandhi) mangalsutra was sacrificed for this country," Gandhi said speaking at a public meeting in Bengaluru.

Addressing a public rally in Wayanad, Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge said that Rahul Gandhi's leadership is not just limited to Wayanad but the entire country. "Rahul Gandhi's leadership is not only limited to Wayanad, he is the leader of the entire country. Today we stand at a crucial junction in our nation's history where the very soul of our country is under attack. Accounts of the Congress party have been frozen while the BJP has illegally collected Rs 13,000 crores in donations through the illegal electoral bonds..."

Hitting out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi's "Mangalsutra" remark, Samajwadi Party Chief Akhilesh Yadav said that the trends coming out after the first phase of elections show that the BJP would be defeated. "This is a trend of defeat. The first phase of elections is over and now the trends have started coming. Using this language and talking like this weakens our democracy... The youth, farmers and businessmen have decided to vote out this government...," Yadav said.

Later, on BJP Surat candidate Mukesh Dalal declared winner unopposed in the constituency, Akhilesh Yadav also said in a post on 'X' that the BJP has snatched away the right to vote. "The public has been insulted in Surat. They were not even allowed to cast their votes there. We have been saying from before that BJP will snatch away the right to vote. See, that is what has happened. This is also a murder of the Constitution because the people who have won through such rigging are not the elected representatives of the public. BJP is defying the Election Commission," Yadav said in a post on 'X'.

"The Election Commission should at least take action for its own defamation. Like the Chandigarh mayor election, we once again appeal to the Supreme Court and the Election Commission to take suo motu cognizance of the Surat incident and cancel the election and give the harshest punishment to all the conspirators. The election process should be started afresh in Surat," he added.

Speaking on BJP's 'unopposed' Lok Sabha win in Surat, Shiv Sena (UBT) MP Priyanka Chaturvedi said, "One thing we have been saying repeatedly this is the work to finish off democracy; it is called Russian style of democracy...In Surat, the main candidate of the Congress party was rejected, then the substitute candidate was also rejected and all independent candidates withdrew the forms...This will be their democracy, without casting votes, BJP people get elected and PM Modi will keep the government.."

Meanwhile, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee claimed that there was an alleged assassination attempt on TMC national general secretary Abhishek Banerjee. "One of the Gaddars (traitors) in the BJP said that a bomb will be exploded. If you have a grudge against me you can kill me by a bomb. You even tried to kill Abhishek but we came to know in advance. They even conducted a recce at his house, called him on Facetime and asked for an appointment. Had Abhishek given him time, he would have shot and fled. These people want to kill everyone or put them behind bars who speak against them. If you were confident that you would win with peoples' votes, then what was the need to terrorise people?" she said.

On the other hand, Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief Mayawati asked people not to vote for either the BJP or the Congress-led INDIA bloc. "Like previous governments, under the present government of BJP, poverty, unemployment and inflation are increasing. Corruption is also not finished. Our borders are not fully secure. This is a matter of great concern. In the Lok Sabha elections, we need to make sure Congress, BJP and their ally parties don't come to power at the Centre...," she said in a public meeting at Meerut.

The Lok Sabha polls are being held in India in seven phases, from April 19 to June 1 to elect the 543 members of the 18th Lok Sabha. While the first phase of the elections have concluded, the second phase of polling will be held on Friday.

This story has been sourced from a third party syndicated feed, agencies. Mid-day accepts no responsibility or liability for its dependability, trustworthiness, reliability and data of the text. Mid-day management/ reserves the sole right to alter, delete or remove (without notice) the content in its absolute discretion for any reason whatsoever

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