Interview | Chhattisgarh 2018

Congress win in Chhattisgarh: We connected with the people, says P.L. Punia

Notwithstanding the party’s emphatic win in Chhattisgarh, Congress State in-charge of P.L. Punia said the party still wanted a return to paper ballots.

What is the prime factor for Congress’s victory?

The Congress and our president Rahul Gandhi managed to connect with the people of Chhattisgarh. We were able to articulate their aspirations and wishes from demand for loan waiver for farmers to higher MSP.

What do you have to say about the Ajit Jogi-BSP alliance?

Ajit Jogi has been emphatically rejected by the people of Chhattisgarh. The BJP thought that the Jogi-BSP alliance could be a game-changer; that they will cut into our votes and help the BJP win. But the people realised that the alliance is here to maintain status quo; so they collectively rejected it.

Who will be the Congress's CM nominee?

No one will be parachuted from Delhi. Everyone from our first line of leadership in the State fought this election and have registered impressive victories. I will not name anyone at this stage.

Do you now give a clean chit to EVMs?

There is no question of a clean chit for EVMs. The entire world is now switching back to paper ballot from EVMs. In our Congress plenary session, too, we have said we should get back to paper ballot and we continue to maintain the same stand.

Was it better selection of candidates that gave you the positive results?

Even senior BJP leaders concede that Congress had a better selection of candidates and we conducted a better campaign. The only thing Congress did not have are the resources. We had candidates representing every caste and class. We changed eight sitting legislators out of which four went with Ajit Jogi's Janata Congress Chattisgarh. And 40 of the 90 Congress candidates are fighting the Assembly elections for the first time.

How important was the election manifesto in your victory?

Our manifesto is called Jan Goshnapatra or people’s manifesto because it was written consulting everyone from vegetable seller to architect. Farmers have faith in our word, so much so that many have not sold their produce waiting for the minimum support price we promised.


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Printable version | Jul 31, 2021 11:39:06 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/elections/chhattisgarh-assembly-elections-2018/congress-win-in-chhattisgarh-we-connected-with-the-people-says-pl-punia/article25720005.ece

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