Lok Sabha polls | Unemployment, price rise, will be major electoral issues: Virudhunagar MP

Congress MP B. Manickam Tagore has slammed the BJP, calling it a party that only made announcements and laid foundation stones, but did not execute projects; he is up against BJP’s Radikaa Sarathkumar and DMDK’s Vijaya Prabhakaran

Updated - March 30, 2024 04:21 pm IST

Published - March 30, 2024 03:28 pm IST - Virudhunaga

Virudhunagar MP of the Congress, B. Manickam Tagore, is contesting again in the upcoming Lok Sabha polls

Virudhunagar MP of the Congress, B. Manickam Tagore, is contesting again in the upcoming Lok Sabha polls | Photo Credit: MOORTHY G

The upcoming Lok Sabha elections in the country will be fought on the simple concept of whether the country should have a government at the Centre that supports only corporates, or a government that cares for the common man, said two-time Congress MP, B. Manickam Tagore. 

Democracy, in the largest democracy in the world, is under threat due to Prime Minister Modi’s government, he charged.  “The Parliament now is not the same Parliament it used to be. There is no scope for the members of the Opposition parties to raise important issues. I have been suspended from the Lok Sabha on three occasions,” Mr. Tagore said. 

Mr. Tagore was suspended first, when he tried to speak about the rising prices of petrol and diesel, next, while he was opposing the three new Farm Laws and then, when he and others, asked Union Home Minister Amit Shah to make a statement about the security breach at the Parliament.

“When I raised these issues, I was suspended -- but now, the Centre has reduced fuel prices and repealed the farm laws. Everyone can see what this means,” Mr. Tagore said.

Key poll issues

Stating that rising unemployment rates and the increasing price of essential commodities were major issues plaguing the country, he said these would become the poll plank for the INDIA bloc. 

Congress leader, Rahul Gandhi, has promised to fill up 3 lakh vacancies in Central government departments within one year of coming to power, he pointed out. The Modi government on the other hand, has the achievement of increasing the price of petrol to over ₹100 per litre and of raising the price of cooking gas cylinders from ₹400 to ₹1,100. 

BJP candidate Radikaa Sarathkumar, (whom Mr. Tagore will be up against) should answer as to whether the high prices of fuel and gas were acceptable to her, he said. Similarly, V. Vijaya Prabhakaran of the DMDK (the other candidate facing Mr. Tagore) should clearly state whether he opposes the policies of the BJP. 

“People of this constituency know my work. I have been with them in Virudhunagar for the past 15 years. I have left a mark in Parliament too, representing the Virudhunagar Lok Sabha seat,” he said. 

‘BJP only lays foundation stones’

Mr. Tagore, who is contesting in the election for the fourth consecutive time from the Virudhunagar Lok Sabha constituency, said that the BP was seen as a party keen on laying foundation stones for projects, but not executing them thereafter.

The AIIMS in Madurai, he pointed out, has remained a non-starter even five years after Prime Minister Narendra Modi laid the foundation stone in 2019. “Making Madurai Airport operational round-the-clock stopped with merely the announcement. It has not been executed to date. The issue of shifting the Kappalur toll gate has had a similar fate,” he charged. 

Mr. Tagore, who is also the Congress’s Whip in the Lok Sabha, said the work of constructing two important flyovers that were sanctioned during the previous UPA government for Sattur and Virudhunagar had not been started for the past 10 years.  Similarly, the mega textile park announced under the PM Mitra scheme near Virudhunagar has been a non-starter for the past one year, he said. 

The BJP government, he said, was not listening to the MPs at all. “Even for the stoppage for a train, we had to stage protest,” he said. “When the INDIA bloc comes back to power, we promise to fulfill all these projects. When the AIIMS, the Madurai international Airport and development of the Kappalur industrial park become a reality, southern Madurai will require huge infrastructure development to meet the spurt in economic activities over the next 10 years, and we will do this,” he said. 

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