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Congress to use the amended Motor Vehicles Act to target BJP ahead of the assembly elections

The new Motor Vehicles Act 2019 which came into effect from September 1 has made stricter rules for those breaking traffic rules

The Congress party has decided to make the much-debated ‘Motor Vehicles Act’ as their election issue to target the ruling BJP ahead of the state assembly elections, reports Hindustan Times.

Reportedly, the Congress party has decided to rake up the issue of the recent amendments in the Motor Vehicles Act in the upcoming assembly elections in three states to target the BJP. The Congress party plans to use the issue of hefty fines and the refusal of some states including those ruled by Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) to implement the law as a poll plank in Maharashtra, Haryana and Jharkhand.

The newly appointed Haryana Pradesh Congress Committee chief Kumari Selja said the MV Act will definitely be one of the issues apart from others in the upcoming elections. She said the party will raise it in the campaign and the party will highlight the issue after the MV Act confronted a backlash across the country.

Few states including BJP ruled Gujarat, Maharashtra and Uttarkhand have either modified the rate of fines prescribed by the Act and opposition ruled states like West Bengal and Madhya Pradesh have outrightly refused to implement the act.

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Congress leader Kumari Selja said the MV Act was an instance of an unpopular policy being forcefully implemented by the BJP. She added that Congress stood a chance in the assembly elections in Haryana, where just months ago in the general elections, the BJP won all 10 Lok Sabha seats.

“Those issues were different that time and (now) people want things on the ground. Look at this latest thing (MV Act). I mean go down any road in Haryana, people are reeling under this Motor Vehicle Act. Just see that,” she said.

There were reports from parts of the country that few violaters were made to pay hefty fines under the new law. Otherwise, the law is being welcomed with backers of the act calling it as a deterrent against rash driving and traffic violations.

“Saving lives is one thing and extortion is another. Which was the first state to oppose it? It was the model state of Gujarat. A model state doesn’t believe what the government of India is doing,” said Selja.

Reacting to the Congress accusations, Haryana BJP spokesperson Rajeev Jaitley said that it showed Congress’s negative mindset. “The MV Act is for people’s safety. Are they trying to say that rural people’s lives don’t go in accidents? Why does Congress always do negative politics?” said Jaitley.

One Congress strategist who HT spoke to said that the party was firming up ways in which to use the implementation of the MV Act in the election campaign. “There’s no point getting into security issues like Balakot and this issue is one that the BJP is firefighting with so it would be good to use that,” he said, requesting anonymity.

The new Motor Vehicles Act 2019 which came into effect from September 1 has made stricter rules for those breaking traffic rules. From higher penalties for driving errors to imprisonment up to one month for racing and speeding and up to six months for offences relating to accidents, the new Act is bringing back things in order by instilling fear and discipline on roads.

As per the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways data in 2017, 4.64 lakh accidents had occurred in that year that claimed lives nearly 1.47 lakh people. The two-wheelers accounted for over a third of all road accidents. With states begining to implement the provisions of the Act with heftier fines and imprisonment for drunken driving, driving without a licence and insurance and juvenile offences, people will start to follow rules and road accidents may actually reduce.

In the last one week itself, there has been a rush among motorists to renew their lapsed insurance policies, driving licenses, etc. Additionally, valid motor insurance is needed for the aggrieved parties to get compensation in case of road accidents. However, the act passed by the central government is just a model act. The state governments are free to make their own laws and rules.

The Congress party in a hurry to put the blame on the centre and then making it as an election issue can be counterproductive to them as the reforms introduced by the BJP government is being welcomed by most of the citizens of the country barring a few. From demonetisation to GST reforms to Balakot strikes, the Congress party have not only erred in picking up the right narrative to target the BJP but also played into their hands by taking the wrong sides on developmental and reformative issues.

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