Congress unveils national security plan

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Unemployment, farm distress still top issues in election, stress party leaders

The Congress on Sunday said unemployment, farm distress and vulnerability of different sections of society continue to be the top election issues for the party as it officially unveiled the vision document on national security prepared by former chief of the Army’s Northern Command, Lt. Gen. D.S. Hooda (retd).

Former Union Ministers, P. Chidambaram and Jairam Ramesh, along with Lt. Gen. Hooda released a summary of the report and asserted that Congress’ approach towards national security was “not ad hoc and impulsive”.

Asked if the report, made public before the third phase polling on Tuesday, seeks to counter BJP’s strong narrative on national security, Mr. Chidambaram said, “National security is an important aspect of the narrative. But to say that it is dominating the narrative is completely wrong.”

“The number one issue remains unemployment. The number two issue is farm distress and the number three issue is security of various sections — women, Dalits, Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, forest dwellers, journalists, academicians, NGOs,” he said.

‘Not impulsive’

“We have taken several features of Lt. Gen. Hooda’s plan (in the manifesto). These ideas will be implemented when we form our government. Our approach is not ad hoc, our approach is not impulsive. It is after a careful study and deliberation and necessary measures will be taken. Our interest is to protect India’s national security,” said Mr. Chidambaram, who had taken over as Home Minister soon after the 26/11 attacks in 2008.

He also said that the Congress had not questioned the Balakot air strikes and it was the international press that had questioned the claims on the number of casualties.

Lt. Gen Hooda said the five pillars of the report include securing India’s neighbourhood and peaceful resolution of internal conflicts like Jammu and Kashmir and North East.

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