CNN- News18 Town Hall sets tone for Lok Sabha elections as political bigwigs discuss ‘Road to 2024’

Delhi, 20th July 2023: CNN-News18, India’s No 1 English News channel, on Monday hosted “CNN-News18 Town Hall Delhi chapter, which witnessed top notch policymakers, political leaders and members of Parliament discussing party policies, manifestos and strategies in the face of Lok Sabha elections 2024.  

CNN- News18 Town Hall sets tone for Lok Sabha elections as political bigwigs discuss ‘Road to 2024’

Sharing his views on the Town Hall theme ‘Road to 2024’, Union Minister of Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari expressed confidence on the performance of the BJP in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections, and added, “People will vote for the good governance in 2024 because we do politics of progress and development. What Congress did not do in sixty years; we did in nine. BJP will have a massive majority under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.”

Taking a swipe on the Opposition’s bid to huddle together, the minister said, “When people become weak, they come together. We do politics of conviction and progression.”

On the Uniform Civil Code, he said that there should be one in law for everyone that will lead to social progression.

Speaking on pollution and public transport, Gadkari said, “We want to make Delhi free from traffic congestion and air pollution and we should underline the importance of public transport to reduce air pollution,” adding that a green infra solution is the priority of his government.  

On questioned about flood like situation in the national capital, Hardeep Singh Puri, Union Minister for Housing & Urban Affairs and Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas, squarely pinned blame on the Delhi government for people grappling with flood and misery. Connoting Delhi flood and urban development, the minister said, “It is entirely MR Kejriwal’s fault. Land is a state subject.”

Praising the performance of the Modi government on Swachh Bharat mission, he said, “The percentage of waste reprocessing was 17 percent in 2014, while it has now gone up to 76 percent under the leadership of PM Modi’s nine-year governance. We are committed to taking it to 100 percent.

CNN- News18 Town Hall sets tone for Lok Sabha elections as political bigwigs discuss ‘Road to 2024’

Shedding his insights on the online gaming that hit headlines for being clamped with 28 percent of goods and services tax (GST), Rajeev Chandrasekhar, Union Minister for Electronics and Information Technology, said: “We would go back to the GST council to request it for consideration on the new regulatory framework.”

He added, “That online gaming framework is in the nascent stage and it would be evolved to be a better regulation. The Prime Minister is of the view that we should do everything for the next decade in digital space. It is better to do it right than to do it fast.”

Keeping his stand at the CNN-News18 Delhi Town Hall, senior Congress leader and MP Shashi Tharoor praised the Modi government’s policy on G20. He said, “Foreign policy has evolved under the leadership of PM Narendra Modi. It should be kept beyond politics. Now the world cannot ignore India, and for this the BJP-led Central government should be praised.”

He said that there should be no politics on national security, but the government has given China a free hand for transgressions against India, and added, “Relations with China are at a crossroads. There is no clarity from the government on China policy. There is no discussion on China in Parliament. The ban on Chinese mobile apps was just symbolic.” 

Reacting to the opposition meeting in Bengaluru, BJP MP Sudhanshu Trivedi said, “This is not happening for the first time. In 2018, many leaders had joined hands. The public is clear about who will lead them to new heights. PM Narendra Modi has given a clear vision of Amrit Kaal for the next 25 years.”

He added that while PM Modi was in America to ink several defence deals, opposition leaders, on the same day, were busy staying together in Patna to cover themselves from various scams.

Responding to it, Congress leader Manish Tiwari said, ‘The essence of any democracy is change. It brings about renewal, regeneration and rejuvenation of the democratic experiment. The principle of any functional democracy should be amenable to regular change of government. When you talk about alliances, one meeting is held in Bengaluru, while another meeting of 30 parties of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) is being held in New Delhi.”

Speaking on the Parliament disruption and pandemonium, Sonal Mansingh, renowned Indian classical dancer and President’s nominated Rajya Sabha member, said, “It is unfortunate that so many important bills do not get passed due to disruptions.”

Trinamool Congress’s Rajya Sabha member Ms. Sushmita Dev said that in the previous Parliament session, BJP ministers disrupted proceedings throughout by saying “Rahul Gandhi maafi maango”. There is an undeclared emergency in the country, she added.

On the issue of opposition unity ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha elections, BJP MP GV L Narasimha Rao said the Congress has to fight where it is strong and other parties have to fight in their bastions. “We will ensure that nobody in opposition again gets an opposition status,” said Rao. He added on a lighter note that the only thing which was discussed in detail in the previous Parliament session was the popular song “Naatu Naatu” from the film RRR.

Speaking on the occasion, CNN-News 18 Managing Editor Zakka Jacob said, “CNN-News 18 Townhall is a big success which has brought representatives of ruling establishment and Opposition on a platform for meaningful discussions to showcase the preparedness for Lok Sabha elections 2024. The timing of CNN-News 18 Townhall is quite significant as it reflects the battle between the NDA and Opposition which have coalesced to chalk out their plans for the 2024 showdown. We have also given viewers an opportunity to interact with the participating leaders to know the optics of 2024 parliament elections. Such event empowers the viewers to make informed decisions vis-a-vis democratic process of the country.”