Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel on Monday accused the BJP of using central agencies against its rivals in the states where elections are due and said allegations stand only if proven in the court.
The Congress leader said this at a press conference in Chandigarh while defending Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi, days after the Enforcement Directorate (ED) raided several locations in the state, recovering Rs 10 crore in cash, including Rs 8 crore from a chief minister’s relative.
In the states where elections are to be held, the IT, ED and the CBI conduct raids on BJP’s political opponents, Mr Baghel alleged.
He said allegations of money seizure have to be proved in court. The allegations will stand only when the charge is proved in the court, he said.
Mr Baghel also questioned reports of money seized from Mr Channi’s relative. “When (PM) Modi weeded out entire black money with demonetisation, from where did this money come from? When there is no black money in the country, from where has this been seized then,” asked Mr Baghel.
Mr Channi had earlier categorically denied any link in his relative’s case being investigated by the Enforcement Directorate and accused the political opponents of running a “slanderous and misleading” campaign against him.
Mr Baghel also attacked the BJP-led government at the Centre over price rise and said several items consumed by people are getting beyond their reach.
Ever since the BJP came to power at the Centre, there has been a constant rise in prices of essentials while income levels have fallen.
Those who talked of the Gujarat model of development and promised good days, only peddled lies whereas inflation has broken the back of the common man, he said addressing a joint press conference with Punjab Congress president Navjot Singh Sidhu and Congress party spokesperson Pawan Khera.
Mr Baghel said petrol, diesel and cooking gas prices skyrocketed while prices of pulses and cooking oil increased manifold.
Even the tea tastes bitter now, said Mr Baghel, adding that prices of tea leaves increasing from Rs 130 per kg to Rs 500 per kg.
Salt prices have also increased, Mr Baghel said.
Meanwhile, assets of the BJP increased from Rs 780 crore to Rs 4,850 crore in the past seven years, he said.
“On food delivery services there is GST, if you withdraw money from ATM you have to pay tax to the government. If you book auto and taxi online, you have to give charges. Steel and cement prices have also risen manifold,” he said.
He said in this scenario, the governments in the Congress-ruled states are doing their bit to cushion the common man and cited instance of the Punjab government lowering VAT on petrol and diesel.
Mr Baghel also touched upon his government’s flagship scheme Rajiv Gandhi Kisan Nyay Yojana, which was launched in the 2020 with an objective of providing a fair price to farmers for their produce, promoting the productivity of Kharif crops and crop diversification.
He said on the contrary, the Centre brought farm laws against which farmers from across the country protested for over a year and the BJP-led government was forced to rollback the legislations. They did so when the polls were near, he alleged.
Mr Baghel said far from doubling farmers’ income, DAP and urea fertliser supply declined across the country and this will result in fall in production.
Mr Sidhu, when asked about Congress leader Rahul Gandhi’s announcement that the party’s chief ministerial face will be decided with inputs from workers, he reiterated that everyone will abide by the decision.
While referring to his “Punjab model”, he said it is based on the wishes of every section of society for the welfare of all.
It is based on the policies of former prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru and architect of the Constitution Dr B R Ambedkar, Mr Sidhu said, while adding the model also talks about a holistic roadmap for giving jobs, which is a major issue before the youth.
The Punjab model will guarantee 5 lakh jobs over next five years, he said.
He also said final touches are being given to the party’s poll manifesto and it would be released within next one week.