Congress leader Rahul Gandhi went to assembly elections in Gujarat on Monday and accused the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of drawing up plans to displace the adivasis who are the country’s ‘first landlords “by handing over the forests to the industrialists.
He also said the government’s policies were creating “two Indies” of selected billionaires and the poor.
Rahul Gandhi addressed two rallies, one in Mahuva in Surat district and the other in Rajkot, his first after the Gujarat Assembly polling schedule was announced earlier this month .
Rahul Gandhi said he felt the pain of farmers, youths and tribals after meeting them during his Bharat Jodo Yatra.
He raked in the tragedy of the Morbi bridge collapse, in which 135 people were killed last month, and alleged no action had been taken against the ‘real culprits’ because they share a “good relationship” with BJP in Gujarat.
Addressing a campaign rally in Rajkot, he said that although guards (posted at the site of the bridge collapse) had been arrested and jailed, no action was taken against the ‘real culprits’ as they are linked to the BJP.
Rahul Gandhi also spoke about unemployment, inflation, impact of demonetization, “faulty GST” and waiving of NPAs worth hundreds of trillions of selected billionaires as the central government does not does not give the same benefit to poor farmers.
The Congress MP took a break from his Bharat Jodo Yatra, which closed his Maharashtra leg on Sunday, and traveled to Gujarat to embark on the campaign trail. The Congress, which won 77 seats in the 2017 elections, is trying to challenge the BJP, which is seeking a seventh consecutive term, in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s home state.
Rahul Gandhi said his 3,570 km yatra which set out from Tamil Nadu on September 7 was for the unity of the country and during the march across the country he felt the pain of farmers, young people and members of the tribal community after listening to their problems.
“They (BJP) call you ‘vanvasi’ (forest dwellers). They don’t say that you are the original owners of India, but that you live in the jungle. Do you see the difference? they don’t want you to live in cities, see your children become engineers, doctors, learn to fly planes, speak English,” he said at the rally in Mahuva, a town dominated by tribes.
Further attacking the ruling party, the Lok Sabha member from Kerala alleged that the BJP wants to keep tribals away from modern health and education facilities.
“They want you to live in the jungle, but don’t stop there. After that, they start taking the jungle away from you. If it continues like this, then in 5 to 10 years all the jungles will be in the hands of 2 to 3 industrialists, and you will have no housing, no education, no health and no jobs,” Rahul Gandhi added.
In fact, they worked to weaken important pieces of legislation like the Panchayat Extension to Scheduled Areas Act (PESA), the Land Acquisition Act and the Forest Rights Act, among others, he claimed.
Rahul Gandhi said that the yatra was inspired by two sons of Gujarat – Mahatma Gandhi and Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel but unfortunately it did not cross over to the western state.
“Sadness is felt talking to farmers, youth and tribals. Farmers don’t get proper tariffs (for agricultural produce), insurance money,…their loan is not canceled “Young people are unemployed, their dream is shattered. Someone wants to become an engineer, his parents spend money on his studies, but he works as a laborer (after graduating),” he said. .
Speaking in Rajkot, Rahul Gandhi said the bridge tragedy is not a political issue, but the question is why no action was taken against those who were behind this (tragedy), and why no FIR (was filed against them). They arrested chowkidars (guards) and put them behind bars, but no action was taken against the real culprits.
The British-era suspension bridge over the Machchhu River collapsed on the evening of October 30, killing 135 people, including several women and children. Morbi was part of Rajkot district before its bifurcation. Targeting the BJP government, Gandhi said his policies were creating “two Indias” – one of billionaires who can do whatever they dream of, and the other of the poor who struggle to live amid inflation and poverty. unemployment.
“Two Indias are being created – one of billionaires who can do whatever they dream of and the other comprising the poor, farmers, laborers and small businessmen. We have no we need two Indias. We need one India of justice,” he said. said.
He said the micro, small and medium enterprise (MSME) sector was the real job generator before it was forced to close due to demonetization in 2016 and the poorly executed roll out of the commodity tax. and services (GST).
Speaking about the COVID-19 pandemic, Rahul Gandhi said that when workers traveled several miles on the road on an empty stomach, the government did not come to their aid.
“When workers were dying on the roads, the BJP government forfeited loans worth hundreds of thousands of dollars to the wealthiest Indians,” he said.
Rahul Gandhi said banning tickets, GST and dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic were not policies but the “weapons against farmers, SMEs and the working poor meant to finish them off and make place for 2-3 billionaires in the country”. “
“They (the billionaires) can do whatever they want. Telecoms, airports, ports, infrastructure, agriculture and groceries; they can do whatever they want. They can dream whatever they want. But when the youth of the country dreams of becoming engineers, they will first have to spend hundreds of thousands of euros in private institutions, face inflation and eventually become workers,” he said.
He said the country was facing the “highest unemployment rate in 45 years” and alleged UAPs were being privatized and thousands of government vacancies unfilled.
(Except for the title, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)
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