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Cong holds meeting in Goa to chalk out manifesto for LS polls


Press Trust of India Panaji
The Congress party Tuesday held a meeting with the members of the party, farmers, academicians and social activists in Goa to prepare its manifesto for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
The party received suggestions that its manifesto should assure to find solutions to the mining crisis in the state and threat to environment due to the amendment to the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) notification.
Rajya Sabha MP and senior Congress leader Rajeev Gowda, who is the convener of the party's manifesto committee, held the meeting to take inputs for drafting the national manifesto.
"Our party president Rahul Gandhi has formed a manifesto committee. We have conducted one hundred such consultations. We have fanned out across the country to ensure that voices are taken into account everywhere," Gowda told reporters after the meeting.
During the exercise, 26 speakers expressed their views. Besides that, 86 individual suggestions were submitted.
"We had said that the Congress is open for any subject: tourism, job creation, environment. We held talks with party members, NGOs, retired professors, taxi operators, farmers and others," he said.
According to Gowda, several people raised the issue of mining ban.
"They raised it from the point of view of those who are dependent on this industry and what we could do to ensure that their livelihood is restored or some alternative measures are provided," he said referring to the quashing of 88 mining leases, which resulted in the entire industry coming to a halt.
"Lot of people expressed concerns that the BJP government failed to handle the matter well, due to which people were impacted substantially. We will see what solutions can be provided," he said.
According to him, people also wanted the party to address the issue of CRZ.
"The CRZ was changed, due to which there were lots of concerns about what will happen to Goa's environment and this will lead to the destruction of natural attractions in Goa," he said.
The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi last month approved the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) Notification, 2018, which gives impetus to promotion of tourism facilities like shacks on beaches and stipulated No Development Zone (NDZ) of 20 metres for all islands.
The Congress has already opposed the CRZ notification stating that it would be destructive to the environment.
"Our concern is that nobody should be left behind. We should focus on education, health and other areas. Rahul Gandhi has already announced that every poor person will be given minimum income guarantee," he said.
Talking about Rahul Gandhi's meeting with Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar at the state Assembly complex here to enquire about his health, Gowda said the party believed that humanity was above politics.
"If you notice, Rahul Gandhi has been very concerned about the health of senior colleagues of ours. Arun Jaitley and Rahul Gandhi have been indulging in attacks and counter attacks. But the moment it was learnt that Jaitley was admitted to a hospital in New York, Gandhi wished him well," Gowda said.
"Gandhi has been inquiring about Parrikar's health as well. Today, he got the chance to meet him. For us, humanity is above politics," he said.
When asked whether they discusssed the controversial Rafale deal issue, Gowda said, "They had a private conversation and I don't know the details.

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First Published: Jan 29 2019 | 7:40 PM IST

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