BJP works for the interest of a few rich people, alleges Rahul Gandhi

Congress president Rahul Gandhi addresses Ekta Parishad's 'Janandolan', in Morena, Madhya Pradesh on October 6, 2018.

Congress president Rahul Gandhi addresses Ekta Parishad's 'Janandolan', in Morena, Madhya Pradesh on October 6, 2018.   | Photo Credit: PTI

Congress will ensure implementation of tribal rights bill if voted to power in M.P., Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan, which go to the polls in Nov. and Dec., he says.

Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Saturday accused the BJP of working for the interest of a few rich people and ignoring the farmers and other sections of society.

At an event organised by tribal organisation Adivasi Ekta Parishad at Morena in Madhya Pradesh, he also raked up the multi-billion Rafale fighter jet deal with France to attack Prime Minister Narendra Modi .

Mr. Gandhi said his party would ensure the implementation of the tribal rights bill if voted to power in Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan, which go to the polls in November and December.

“If you want to help out the rich, do it… but also help the farmers and other poor sections of the society. If ₹3 lakh crore of the rich can be written off, then why not give such concessions to farmers and other poor sections of the society?” he said.

“The tribal bill is not a gift, but right of the tribal people. The tribal people must have their rights over land, water and forests,” he said.

The Scheduled Tribes and other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006, is a key piece of forest legislation passed when the Congress-led UPA was in power at the Centre.

Also called the tribal bill, it concerns the rights of forest dwelling communities to land and other resources denied to them for decades due to colonial forest laws.

Mr. Gandhi charged the Modi government with diluting the consent clause in the Land Acquisition Bill and also weakening the panchayati raj institutions.

He alleged that in the 2016 demonetisation exercise, black money became white, nobody went to jail and contrary to the BJP’s promise, no one received ₹15 lakh in their bank account.

'I always fulfil the promises I make to people'

He said that before taking a decision, unlike the BJP, he thought whether it would benefit the poor. “If the decision will harm the interests of the poor, I never go ahead with its implementation. On the other hand, the BJP thinks whether its decisions will benefit the rich.” He always fulfiled the promises he made to people, he added..

“I am in politics since 2004 and you can check my speeches. Give me one example where I have made promises like depositing ₹15 lakh in your bank account,” he said.

“In Karnataka, I promised that if the Congress returns to power, farmers will get a loan waiver. Accordingly, the Chief Minister implemented the decision after the new government was formed,” he said.

Mr. Gandhi said the BJP wanted to implement rural employment guarantee scheme MNREGA and Right to Food policies of the UPA through bureaucracy, while the erstwhile dispensation had empowered panchayats and pradhans (village heads) to take decisions regarding them.

“The bureaucracy doesn’t want these schemes, so their budgetary allocations have been reduced,” he alleged.

He accused the Modi government of letting liquor baron Vijay Mallya and diamantaire Nirav Modi flee the country with public money. “Nirav Modi robbed your money from the banks to the tune of ₹35,000 crore and fled the country. Similarly, Vijay Mallya took away ₹10,000 crore from the banks and informed [Finance Minister Arun Jaitley] before leaving the country. So far, no action is being taken in these two cases,” he alleged.

Reiterating his allegations on the Rafale fighter jet deal, he said Mr. Modi cancelled the contract that the UPA had signed with France and inked a new deal to buy the aircraft at a much higher price.

The Prime Minister gave the (offset) contract to his “friend” Anil Ambani instead of the state-run Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), he alleged.

NDA's denial

The BJP-led NDA government had repeatedly denied any irregularity in the ₹58,000 crore deal.

Mr. Ambani had also rejected Mr. Gandhi’s allegations and emphasised that the government had no role in Dassault, the French makers of Rafale, choosing his company as offset partner.

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Printable version | May 30, 2020 7:41:40 AM |

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