Elections

Narendra Modi, media diverting public attention: Rahul Gandhi

Poll bugle: Rahul Gandhi addresses a joint Congress-NCP rally in Latur on Sunday.

Poll bugle: Rahul Gandhi addresses a joint Congress-NCP rally in Latur on Sunday.   | Photo Credit: PTI

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Congress leader alleges that only the PM is being showcased with no questions asked on jobs and prices of farm produce.

In his first election address in Maharashtra at Ausa in Latur district in the Marathwada region, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Sunday alleged that the Narendra Modi-led BJP government had been making false promises, and the unemployment rate in the country stood at the highest in the past 40 years.

Mr. Gandhi asked why Mr. Modi and the media failed to ask Chinese President Xi Jinping hard questions over the Doklam issue during the recent informal summit in Tamil Nadu.

He alleged that the media’s function was increasingly turning out to be to merely showcase the Prime Minister while diverting attention from pressing issues afflicting the common people.

“How is your mood? Is there unemployment? Are farmers getting the right prices for their agricultural produce? Have the Modi government’s much-vaunted acche din (good days) arrived,” Mr. Gandhi asked the audience.

“In the media, one only showcases Prime Minister Modi sauntering in Corbett Park or about lunar missions. All this is good… but the youth of this country will not be fed by sending a rocket on the moon,” the Congress leader said.

Remarking that the Modi government’s arbitrary move to demonetise the economy and the introduction of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) had ravaged the lives of small traders across the country, Mr. Gandhi said 2,000 factories in India had shut down till date while the automobile sector was in the doldrums.

“Did the amount of black money circulating reduce as a result of demonetisation? Did the people see any of these corrupt individuals standing in the queues? It is only the poor and the farmers of Maharashtra and other States who were forced to endure demonetisation,” he said.

Tax write-off

He alleged that wealthy industrialists like the Ambanis and the Adanis who controlled the media were being exempted from taxes of more than ₹5 lakh crore by the Modi government.

“This government has excused a staggering ₹5.5 lakh crore to 15 of the wealthiest people by waiving off their debts and opening the doors of the banks to them again,” Mr. Gandhi said.

“If you ask people in the country, what is the condition of the people, one gets only two answers: the plight of farmers and soaring unemployment…But in the media, one never hears about unemployment or that loans of farmers in Maharashtra have not been waived,” Mr. Gandhi said, lashing out at the allegedly phoney claims of the BJP governments at the Centre and the State over farm loan waiver.

Alleging that there was no discussion in the media on pressing issues such as unemployment, the Congress leader said the sole job of the media, Mr. Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah was to divert the public’s attention from issues that really mattered.

 “I was in Gujarat recently and I found that the textile and the diamond industries are in a sorry state. But there is not a word about this in the media. Will not Mr. Modi speak on this?” he said, demanding to know how many loans had actually been waived for farmers in Maharashtra.

Reminding the BJP that ISRO was established under the Congress had made ISRO, he said that the Modi government was merely deriving political mileage from the Chandrayaan 2 lunar exploration mission.

Accusing the BJP of having destroyed the country’s economic foundations, Mr. Gandhi said the party had no concrete issue to put forward in poll-bound Maharashtra.

“Hence, the BJP’s leaders are only harping on Article 370 or Kashmir or the moon,” he said.

Stating that Maharashtra was one of the foundation States of the Congress, Mr. Gandhi remarked that the party’s ideology ran in the blood of the peopleof the State.

“No one can erase that…This country has progressed because every caste and community has contributed to its progress,” he said, warning against the BJP’s socially divisive policies.

Rubbishing the BJP’s claims of the Congress not having contributed anything to Maharashtra’s growth, senior Congress leader M. Mallikarjun Kharge said the Congress had already given proof to the people of the State and the country of their work in the last 55 years.

“The BJP’s top leadership, who are busy campaigning here, ought to say what there are going to do for the people of Maharashtra instead of raking up Article 370,” said Mr. Kharge.

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Printable version | Nov 21, 2019 9:30:39 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/elections/maharashtra-assembly/modi-media-distracting-attention-from-core-issues-rahul-gandhi/article29672801.ece

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