INDIA bloc intact, will cross 272, says Jairam Ramesh


On opposition unity, he said all 28 parties were together up to December 19 “but Nitish Kumar did a somersault and Mamata Banerjee decided to be Mamata Banerjee. These are the two things that have happened”…reports Asian Lite News

The INDIA bloc is intact despite Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s “somersault” and TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee deciding to be Mamata Banerjee, senior Congress leader Jairam Ramesh has said, rejecting as “hollow” Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s pitch against the opposition on corruption.

Ramesh also said the opposition will unitedly cross the halfway mark of 272 in the elections and oust the BJP from power.

He spoke on a range of issues including electoral bonds, the arrests of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and JMM leader Hemant Soren, who resigned as Jharkhand CM, and also addressed speculations around Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra potentially contesting the Lok Sabha polls from Amethi and Raebareli, respectively.

“Look at the way the electoral bonds scheme has worked. Rs 4,000-crore of bonds are directly linked with Rs 4-lakh crore of contracts. There is a clear correlation between the electoral bonds and the award of contracts,” Ramesh said, claiming that a BJP MP buys electoral bonds after getting infrastructure contracts.

He said they have evidence that bonds worth Rs 4,000 crores purchased by several companies in favour of the BJP are directly linked to the award of contracts and action initiated by central agencies against them, he said.

“To say that Mr Modi is going to take the corruption plank and use Hemant Soren and Arvind Kejriwal as examples that he is fighting corruption is absolutely a bogus argument. Look at the electoral bonds saga, it is a complete case of quid pro quo,” the Congress leader said.

“There is ample evidence to show that the corruption is a ‘khokhla (hollow) plank’ as far as Mr Modi is concerned.”

On opposition unity, he said all 28 parties were together up to December 19 “but Nitish Kumar did a somersault and Mamata Banerjee decided to be Mamata Banerjee. These are the two things that have happened”.

“The fact that Nitish Kumar is not part of the INDIA bloc does not mean that the INDIA bloc has collapsed,” Ramesh said, asserting the opposition will certainly cross the halfway mark. “Yes, I’m sure that it will add up to 272.”

Asked if the INDIA bloc bubble has burst, he said, “No, no. Where has it burst?”

The alliance with the Aam Aadmi Party is intact as is the tie-up with the NCP, Shiv Sena, the DMK and JMM, the Congress leader asserted. “Our alliance with CPM and CPI is going to be finalised in West Bengal. We have an 11-party alliance in Assam and we have an alliance with the Samajwadi Party.”

“Mamata Banerjee has said that she is part of the INDIA bloc. She is not seat-sharing with us, but she is very much part of the INDIA bloc,” he said.

On how Kejriwal’s arrest would impact the opposition, especially as the PM making corruption an issue using the cases of the Delhi CM and Hemant Soren, Ramesh said, “‘Chanda do, dhanda lo (quid pro quo)’ is becoming obvious, after the electoral bonds issue”.

“It is true that Mr Modi will use this Hemant Soren and Kejriwal cases to say that he is cleaning up the system, but he has not cleaned up the system. Evidence shows, this is completely to the contrary,” Ramesh asserted.

On opposition parties, including the Congress, also getting donation worth crores of rupees through electoral bonds, he said they do not have central probe agencies and cannot grant central contracts to companies.

“There is clear evidence that we have put out which shows there are 30 companies against whom ED and CBI was used and Rs 330-crore worth donations came through these 30 companies,” he said.

Cong MP Naveen Jindal joins BJP  

Ahead of the Lok Sabha elections, industrialist and former Congress leader Naveen Jindal joined the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Sunday, soon after resigning from the grand old party.

The BJP which released its 5th list of candidates for the Lok Sabha elections, fielded Jindal from Haryana’s Kurukshetra constituency, a parliamentary seat already represented by the leader from 2004-2014.

Jindal represented the Kurukshetra constituency in the Lok Sabha for two terms (2004-2014). However, he lost to the Bharatiya Janata Party’s Raj Kumar Saini in the 2014 national elections and was not fielded by the Congress in 2019.

New Delhi, Mar 24 (ANI): Industrialist and former Congress MP Naveen Jindal being welcomed into the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) partyfold by party General Secretary Vinod Tawde as he joins the Party, in New Delhi on Sunday. (ANI Photo)

Jindal, Chairman of Jindal Steel and Power, said that he wants to contribute to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s agenda of ‘Viksit Bharat’.

“Today is a very important day of my life. I am proud that I joined the BJP today and I will be able to serve the nation under the leadership of PM Modi. I want to contribute to the ‘Viksit Bharat’ dream of PM Modi…” he said.

Speaking to ANI, Jindal said that he would work towards making the lives of people better under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

“It is a matter of fortune for me that BJP has given me this opportunity. Today, on the auspicious occasion of Holi, my aim is to bring more happiness to the country. We will work towards making the lives of people better under the leadership of PM Modi. I have full confidence that we are all trying to make our India a developed India and we will get success in it. Whatever responsibility the BJP will give me; I will fulfil that responsibility well,” he said.

Jindal, however, said his resignation from the Congress would not make any difference to the party as he was not active in politics.

“I have been with Congress for the last 10 years. I was not active in the party, I have not attended any of their programs in the last 10 years and I have been completely separated from any political party for the last 10 years. I was only focused on my work, social work, and university. So I don’t think that my resignation will make any difference to them (Congress) because I neither had any charge there nor was I ever an official of any kind in the party. It’s been 10 years since I was there, I fulfilled my responsibilities there and for the last 10 years, I have been completely away from the Congress Party. I am not active in any way, so I don’t think it will make any difference to them,” he added.

He further said, “Now that I am coming into political life and I have joined the BJP, so now by following the policies of the BJP, we all together will try to build the India of our dreams.”

Jindal on Sunday announced his resignation from the party.

“I represented the Congress Party in Parliament as MP from Kurukshetra for 10 years. I thank the Congress leadership and the then Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh Ji. Today I am resigning from the primary membership of the Congress Party,” Jindal posted on X. (ANI)

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