Congress manifesto 2019: Rahul Gandhi promises to amend AFSPA, review deployment of forces in Jammu and Kashmir

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Updated: April 2, 2019 4:28:37 PM

Congress said that it will appoint three interlocutors drawn from civil society to facilitate talks with the people of the state, promising to find a solution through dialogue with all stakeholders.

The grand old party promised to pass in the first session of the 17th Lok Sabha the Women’s Reservation Bill reserving 33 percent of seats for women in the Lok Sabha and the State Legislative Assemblies. (ANI)

The Congress manifesto for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections released today has promised to review the deployment of armed forces in Jammu and Kashmir and entrust more responsibility with the state police for maintaining law and order in the restive state. The manifesto states that the party will move more troops to the borders to check infiltration, adding that the presence of the Army and CAPFs in the Kashmir Valley will be reduced.

“Congress promises to review the deployment of armed forces, move more troops to the border to stop infiltration completely, reduce the presence of the Army and CAPFs in the Kashmir valley, and entrust more responsibility to the J&K police for maintaining law and order,” the manifesto released by Rahul Gandhi today said.

The party has also promised to amend the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958 (AFSPA) and the Disturbed Area Act in the state.

“The Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act and the Disturbed Areas Act in J&K will be reviewed. Suitable changes will be made in the text of the laws to balance the requirements of security and the protection of human rights,” the party said.

The Bharatiya Janata Party today lashed out at the Congress over its proposals, with party president Amit Shah questioning its promise to amend the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act. “I wish to ask Congress president whether he would like to strengthen the soldiers fighting on our borders or dent their morale?” he asked.

The Congress party also touched upon the contentious issue of Article 35A in its manifesto and said that nothing will be done or allowed to change the Constitutional position of the state and the whole of Jammu and Kashmir is a part of India.

“Congress has stood witness to the developments in Jammu and Kashmir since the instrument of Accession was signed on 26 October 1947. Congress affirms that the whole of Jammu and Kashmir is part of India. We also acknowledge the unique history of the State and the unique circumstances under which the State acceded to India that led to the inclusion of Article 370 in the Constitution of India. Nothing will be done or allowed to change the Constitutional position,” the Congress manifesto said.

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Besides these promises, Congress said that it will appoint three interlocutors drawn from civil society to facilitate talks with the people of the state, promising to find a solution through dialogue with all stakeholders.

Other promises made by Congress include the promise that it will reverse the trend of declining defence spending under the NDA government, and increase it to meet the requirements of the armed forces.

“We will expedite all modernisation programmes of the Armed Forces in a transparent manner. We will improve social security, education and health facilities for our Paramilitary Forces and families,” the party said.

The 55-page document titled ‘Hum Nibhayenge’ (We will deliver) focused on addressing the issues of joblessness, farm distress, safety of women and boosting the rural economy, with stress on building a narrative on “real issues” faced by people.

The grand old party promised to pass in the first session of the 17th Lok Sabha the Women’s Reservation Bill reserving 33 percent of seats for women in the Lok Sabha and the State Legislative Assemblies.

Party president Rahul Gandhi said the Congress will allocate 6 per cent of GDP to education, strengthen government hospitals and give high-quality healthcare access to poor if voted to power.

To the youth of India, Congress pledged to make jobs its top priority, saying it will ensure 34 lakh jobs in the public sector by filling all 4 lakh central government vacancies before March 2020, persuading the state governments to fill 20 lakh vacancies and creating an estimated 10 lakh new Seva Mitra positions in every gram panchayat and urban local bodies.

The manifesto was released by party president Rahul Gandhi, former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi and senior leader P Chidambaram among others.

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