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Cong's manifesto unimplementable, agenda of India's balkanisation: Jaitley

twitter-logoPTI | April 2, 2019 | Updated 20:43 IST

(Eds: Adding details, quotes) New Delhi, Apr 2 (PTI) The BJP Tuesday slammed the Congress's poll manifesto as "dangerous and unimplementable", and sought to corner the opposition party over the national security issue on its promise of repealing and reviewing certain laws, alleging that it was an agenda of India's "Balkanisation". Senior BJP leader and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley took a swipe at Congress president Rahul Gandhi, wondering if his "friends" from "tukde tukde" gang drafted the parts of manifesto dealing with issues of Kashmir and national security. The BJP began using "tukde tukde" gang to refer to students accused of raising anti-India slogans in Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) in 2016 and has generalised the phrase to attack those it accuses of sympathising with Maoists and separatists. Addressing a press conference, Jaitley took aims at the Congress's stand on issues of national security and promises on economy, saying, "When out of ignorance, he (Gandhi) makes unimplementable and dangerous promises, I am sure the country will not be in a mood to oblige" to allow him to execute them. Lashing out at the Congress for promising to repeal Section 124A of the IPC, often termed as sedition law, make bail for accused a provision and not exception and to review the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, which is in force in Jammu and Kashmir and parts of the Northeast, he said a party which says that "treason" will no longer be a crime does not deserve a single vote. "Those who lay down their lives for the country, you want them to be prosecuted at the behest of terrorists and their friends. Ingratitude is the biggest sin that any political party can commit. This is what the Congress has done," he said on the party's promise to review AFSPA. The Congress manifesto said that the sedition law has been misused and, in any event, has become redundant because of subsequent laws. Former prime ministers and Congress leaders such as Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi and Manmohan Singh did not change the sedition law, Jaitley said, adding that it is no longer a crime for the party's leadership "in the grip of jihadis and Maoists". Some of these ideas are "positively dangerous" and carry an agenda for "Balkanisation of India", he said. Jaitley also ridiculed the Congress's promise of an annual minimum income guarantee of Rs 72,000 for poor families, saying that its leaders have spoken in different voices with some talking of raising taxes to meet the expenditure while a few others speaking of maintaining fiscal prudence. Taking a dig at his predecessor in the finance ministry and Congress leader P Chidambaram, who is the head of the manifesto drafting committee, the BJP leader said the devil is always in the detail when he writes something. Chidambaram had written about maintaining merit-based subsidy and scrapping others to meet the expenditure, Jaitley said, asking which subsidy will fall under it and which not, adding that it was a "bluff scheme". "You make this kind of promises when you know that you are never going to be in a position to implement them," he said. Attacking Gandhi for his claim that Congress governments in states had waived farm loans as his party had promised before assembly polls, Jaitley said the opposition party had not done even "tokenism" on the matter. This party has always deceived the poor with slogans and the manifesto has again taken this approach, he said. The BJP leader also mocked Gandhi's dare to Prime Minister Narendra Modi for a debate on issues such as national security and corruption, asking how can you debate with the ignorant. "I think we will look at that. I don't go and debate with non-serious people. How can you debate with the ignorant?" he said. Jaitley in a blog later said, "The manifesto compromises national security and has sham and bluff promises with little detailed understanding of the subjects involved. It is an irresponsible document which is never to be implemented since the Congress looks a certain loser." On the Jammu and Kashmir issue, he said the Modi government has been working to establish rule of law there while the Congress seeks to establish rules of insurgents and terrorists. Its manifesto only brings smiles on the faces of the separatists and the terrorists, he said, accusing the opposition party of not even shedding a tear for Kashmiri Pandits by omitting any reference to their ethnic cleansing from Kashmir Valley. On the Gandhi's promise of filling up 22 lakh government vacancies if his party is elected to power, Jaitley noted that the manifesto says 20 lakhs of them are in states and wondered how the central dispensation can fill them. "He must at least read what he has promised. I seem to have read the manifesto more than the Congress president," he said. On Gandhi's promise for a single, moderate GST rate, Jaitley said he got the wisdom from Singapore which does not have poverty and where rice and Mercedes cars are taxed at the same rate. PTI KR JTR SMN

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