PM’s poll campaign rally attracts just 600-700 people

published on November 17, 2013

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Saturday canvassed for votes for the Congress in Mizoram’s November 25 polls by stressing on the need for the continuity of various ongoing and planned projects for the state. The Prime Minister referred to the advantage of the same party remaining in power, thereby indicating how Congress-ruled state and central government could work in tandem towards this.
The Prime Minister, whose campaign rally attracted no more than 600-700 people at the police grounds at Aizawl’s Mualpui neighbourhood, in particular harped on the state government’s flagship New Land Use Policy (NLUP), under which more than Rs 1 lakh each is given to families (with no member holding government jobs) to help them jump-start or improve their means of livelihood.

“I recall that 5 years ago I had said that if a Congress government came to power in Mizoram it would again implement the NLUP, which had been discontinued by the MNF government… I know that the state government has made some suggestions to make the scheme better and I promise you that the Congress-led UPA government at the Centre will provide all possible assistance to Mizoram to achieve this,” Singh said.

Opposition parties have been lashing out at the NLUP, calling it “a ploy to get votes” and that it degrades the spirit of earning livings through hard work.

AICC general secretary Luizinho Faleiro, who also spoke at the rally, denounced the opposition parties’ charges regarding the NLUP’s source of funding as “vicious propaganda” and that the amount of money given to the state has increased during the Congress term.

Singh, meanwhile, promised a slew of measures in the education, health, employment and infrastructure spheres, including the early completion of a multi-modal transport project that will link the land-locked state with a sea-port in Myanmar.

He also said the government would put in place a rural housing scheme, to which interpreter C Lalruata, after translating it into Mizo, asked the crowd to applause.

Chief Minister Lal Thanhawla, who has been attacked for having sported a tilak at ceremonies outside the state, a poll plank the opposition hopes will change the tide in their favour in Christian-dominated Mizoram, meanwhile, claimed in a short speech “the opposition is bankrupt and have no other issues to raise except a tilak on the Chief Minister’s forehead.”

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