Jagdalpur (Chhattisgarh): Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Saturday hit out at the Modi government, saying that while it waived loans worth Rs 3.5 lakh crore of select industrialists such as Anil Ambani and Vijay Mallya, it promised just Rs 3.50 per day to farmers.
Gandhi was speaking at a convention of tribals at Dhuragaon village in Bastar district of Chhattisgarh. “Lakhs and crores of rupees have been given to the people like Anil Ambani, Nirav Modi, Mehul Choksi, Vijay Mallya and Lalit Modi, but farmers will get just Rs 3.50 per day,” he said, referring to the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi Scheme, under which farmers cultivating up to two hectares (five acres) will get direct cash support of Rs 6,000 annually.
“When the announcement of Rs 6,000 for farmers was made in the Union Budget, BJP MPs were thumping their desks in Lok Sabha…Is this a joke?” he asked. He promised that if the Congress was voted to power after the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, a minimum income guarantee would be provided to the poor and the money would be deposited directly into their bank accounts. “The poll promises (made by Modi) regarding transfer of Rs 15 lakh into everyone’s bank account and providing two crore jobs have not been implemented,” he said.
“The decision of demonetisation made you stand in queues (outside banks). Have you seen Anil Ambani, Mehul Choksi, Nirav Modi and Vijay Mallya in queues? If it was a fight against black money then why all the honest people had to stand in queues?” Gandhi asked. People’s money was snatched and loans to the tune of lakhs and crores of rupees of businessmen were waived, he alleged. “After the note ban, Gabbar Singh Tax (GST) was brought at midnight, which destroyed the business of traders. All small and medium traders had to suffer. After the Congress is elected to power, we will change this tax and make it a ‘sachha’ (true) GST,” he said, referring to the Goods and Services Tax.
“There will be a single tax and no five taxes. Those who snatched your money, they will not be able to put pressure on you and you will be able to work honestly. It will be a simple tax and not the Gabbar Singh Tax,” he added. Gandhi also alleged that Modi was going to waive remaining debts worth Rs 12 lakh crore of select industrialists. “Modi ji, after writing off loans worth Rs 3.5 lakh crore of select industrialists, is going to waive their remaining debts worth Rs 12 lakh crore. One after one, he waived loans of people like Anil Ambani, Mehul Choksi, Nirav Modi, Lalit Modi and Vijay Mallya. We had said if chowkidar can write off loans of thieves, the Congress party will waive loans of farmers of Chhattisgarh. We fulfilled our promises in just six hours (of assuming power) in the state,” he said.
He said the Congress had implemented all the promises it had made ahead of the Chhattisgarh Assembly polls, saying farmers in the state were now getting Rs 4,000 per sack of tendu leaves. “Ahead of the polls, we had promised that the lands which were acquired for proposed Tata Steel project in Lohandiguda area of Bastar, but remained unused after 10 years, will be returned to farmers,” he said. The Congress government in Chhattisgarh is providing minimum support price of Rs 2,500 for paddy and Rs 4,000 per standard sacks of tendu leaves to forest dwellers, he said.
During the Raman Singh government, when the Congress had raised the issue of good returns to farmers against their produce, they used to say that the government doesn’t have money to do so,” he said. “BJP, RSS and Raman Singh have no dearth of money. They have snatched your money and either filled their pockets or gave it to their selected 15 businessmen-friends,” he alleged. “The way we waived farmers’ loans and provided increased minimum support price for paddy and tendu leaves, Congress will also ensure minimum income guarantee to every poor,” he said.
“You are the owners of the land, water, jungle. Those sitting on the dais here are your ‘sipahis’ (soldiers) and I am there in Lok Sabha. My doors are open to you and you can approach me. I will be honest with you and tell you if the work can be done or not. I will speak the truth,” he said. Later, in a tweet, Gandhi said the Congress government has fulfilled another promise. “Today, there is glow on the faces of farmers in Bastar. After 11 years, they are getting their land back. The land was taken away from tribal farmers and kept in a ‘Land Bank’ for ‘Saheb’s friends’. This decision has the voice of tribal farmers. I welcome it,” he tweeted.
At the beginning of the function, a homage was paid to the 40 CRPF personnel killed in a terror attack in Pulwama of Jammu and Kashmir. “We remember the CRPF jawans who sacrificed their lives in Jammu and Kashmir, and extend condolences and love to their families,” Gandhi said. On the occasion, Gandhi distributed land documents to farmers who have been returned their lands acquired in 2008 for a Tata Steel project. He also distributed forest rights certificates and farm loan waiver certificates.