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Mizoram Assembly Elections: Rahul Gandhi accuses GST of harming small businesses, weakening farmers

A press conference is scheduled to be addressed by Rahul Gandhi before his departure on October 18, providing a platform to express the party's vision and goals for the state.

Nitin Kumar Edited By: Nitin Kumar @Niitz1 Aizawl Updated on: October 16, 2023 13:34 IST
Rahul Gandhi
Image Source : PTI/FILE PHOTO Congress leader Rahul Gandhi speaks during a public meeting ahead of Assembly elections.

Ahead of the assembly elections, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi criticised the Goods and Services Tax (GST), alleging that it is a system deliberately designed to harm small and medium-sized businesses while weakening the agricultural sector in India. Gandhi's remarks are the latest in a series of critiques aimed at the government's economic policies.

Gandhi pointed out that the consequences of GST have been detrimental to the small and medium business community and have posed a severe threat to Indian farmers. He drew parallels to the controversial decision of demonetization, stating that it was an ill-conceived idea put forward by the Prime Minister. Even years after the implementation of demonetization, he argued that the Indian economy has not fully recovered from its impact.

"GST is designed to destroy small and medium businesses, it is designed to weaken farmers of India. All of you know what happened with demonetization…it was a ridiculous idea thought up by the PM of our country. The economy still hasn’t recovered. If you want to understand PM’s strategy for developing India's economy, it can be summed up in one word 'Adani. Everything is designed to help one businessman...so that is the state of the nation…," said Rahul.

Rahul Gandhi arrives in Aizawl 

Rahul Gandhi embarked on a two-day visit to the picturesque state of Mizoram on Monday. Rahul Gandhi is set to embark on a three-day visit to Mizoram starting Monday, where he will campaign for the party's candidates in the upcoming November 7 assembly polls in the northeastern state, as confirmed by party officials. During his visit, Rahul Gandhi is expected to lead a march in the capital city, Aizawl, and engage with the local populace, as revealed by Lalmalsawma Nghaka, treasurer of the Mizoram Pradesh Congress Committee. It is anticipated that the party will also take the opportunity to unveil its candidates for the 40-member assembly polls during Gandhi's visit.

Lalmalsawma Nghaka stated, "Rahul Gandhi will arrive here on Monday as part of Bharat Jodo Yatra. During his three-day visit, he will participate in a 2-km-long march from Chanmari to Treasury Square in Aizawl and will campaign for our candidates. He will also interact with renowned personalities of the state."

The electoral process will culminate in the counting of votes on December 3, marking a significant event in Mizoram's political landscape.

The upcoming assembly polls will play a crucial role in shaping the state's governance, and Rahul Gandhi's visit is anticipated to galvanize campaign efforts and engage with the public to bolster the party's prospects in the elections.

Polling to take place on November 7, results on December 3

The Mizoram assembly, consisting of 40 seats, will undergo elections on November 7, with the election conducted in a single phase, according to Chief Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar. The current Mizoram assembly, led by Chief Minister Zoramthanga, is set to conclude its term on December 17, and the vote counting will transpire on December 3, with results announced the same day. The electoral process will commence with the issuance of the gazette notification on October 13, and candidates can submit their nominations until October 20. Nominations will be scrutinised on October 21, and the final date for the withdrawal of candidature is October 23.

Chief Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar also highlighted that the elections in Mizoram, along with Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, and Telangana, will encompass 8.2 crore male and 7.8 crore female voters, along with 60.2 lakh first-time voters.

Furthermore, CEC Rajiv Kumar noted that approximately 60 lakh first-time voters in the 18-19 years age group will participate in the elections across the five states. To encourage young voters, over 2900 polling stations will be managed by youth.

The major political entities vying for victory in Mizoram include the Mizo National Front (MNF), Zoram People's Movement (ZPM), Congress, and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). The MNF, led by CM Zoramthanga, secured 18 seats in 2018 and aims to extend its tenure amid competition driven by Kuki-Meitei ethnic violence in neighboring Manipur, impacting Mizoram as well.

The Congress, which had a dwindling influence in the state, managed to secure just five seats out of 40 in 2018. The Zoram People's Movement (ZPM), formed as an alliance of regional parties in 2018, focuses on governance and transparency, presenting an alternative political platform. In its debut in 2018, ZPM secured eight seats, surpassing even the Congress.

While the BJP leads the North East Democratic Alliance (NEDA), in which the MNF is also a participant, the saffron party is yet to establish a significant presence in Mizoram independently. Notably, Mizoram is the only state in the country without a single woman MP or MLA at present, with just four women MLAs in its history.

The Mizoram elections in 2023 coincide with polls in four other states: Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Telangana, and Rajasthan.

Also read | 'MNF will return to power in Mizoram,' says CM Zoramthanga hoping to bag 25-35 seats in polls

Also read | Mizoram's ruling MNF forms alliance with HPC (R) ahead of assembly polls next month

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