Fight over free ration: Congress chief announces 10 kg against BJP’s 5 kg if voted to power

Pointing to the poll guarantees fulfilled in Congress-ruled States like Telangana and Karnataka, Mallikarjun Kharge says it was the UPA that brought in the National Food Security Act back in 2013

Published - May 15, 2024 10:51 pm IST - LUCKNOW

Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge with Samajwadi Party national president Akhilesh Yadav addressing a joint press conference in Lucknow on Wednesday.

Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge with Samajwadi Party national president Akhilesh Yadav addressing a joint press conference in Lucknow on Wednesday. | Photo Credit: SANDEEP SAXENA

Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge addressed a joint press conference with Samajwadi Party (SP) president Akhilesh Yadav in Lucknow on Wednesday in which he announced that the INDIA bloc will double the quantity of free rations provided by the BJP-led NDA government to the poor if voted to power at the Centre.

“As soon as the INDIA coalition government is formed, we will give 10 kg of ration to the poor. It was the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government that had introduced the [National] Food Security Act. Today, Modiji is pasting his picture on the ration [kits], showing that he has given it [to the beneficiaries],” asserted Mr. Kharge, addressing the media alongside Mr. Yadav.

“I am saying this with guarantee because we have already done it in States, including Telangana and Karnataka,” the Congress president added. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other top BJP leaders are continuously highlighting the government’s free ration scheme in every political rally, adding that it will continue the scheme till 2029 after coming back to power.

Contest in ‘Kyoto’

Mr. Yadav, whose Uttar Pradesh-centric party is contesting 63 out of the total 80 Lok Sabha seats under the INDIA alliance in the politically crucial State, claimed that the Opposition grouping is winning 79 seats in U.P.

He asserted that the electoral fight is only in ‘Kyoto’, which is an indirect reference to Mr. Modi’s parliamentary constituency of Varanasi. Mr. Modi and the ruling party had earlier stated that they will develop Varanasi like Kyoto, a picturesque heritage city in Japan.

“The INDIA bloc will win 79 seats in Uttar Pradesh. The contest is only on one seat — ‘Kyoto’,” said the SP chief, while adding: “Public support for the INDIA alliance is visible among the people. In the coming days, the 140-crore people [of the country] will limit them (BJP) to 140 [Lok Sabha] seats.”

Mr. Kharge claimed that the Opposition alliance will aim to bridge the economic inequality that has been created between the rich and the poor due to the 10 years of misrule of the Modi-led government. “Four phases of voting have been completed. I can say with full confidence that the people of the country have prepared to bid farewell to Narendra Modi. We are in a very strong position and the INDIA bloc is going to form the next government on June 4,” the Congress chief said.

Communal rhetoric

Both Mr. Kharge and Mr. Yadav dubbed the ongoing Lok Sabha polls as an opportunity to save and protect the democratic values and Constitution, alleging that the ruling party aims to make people slaves. “This is an election that will decide the future of the country. We all have to fight together to protect the Constitution and save democracy, otherwise we will be made slaves again,” he said.

The Congress leader further targeted the BJP for allegedly communalising the election campaign by talking about religious issues and mangalsutra cautioning voters not to waste their vote over immaterial issues and support the INDIA bloc candidates.

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