Rahul questions Modi’s Swachch Bharat, model village campaigns

Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi waves to the crowd at an election rally ahead of third phase of Jharkhand Assembly elections at Kanke in Ranchi on Saturday.   | Photo Credit: PTI

Campaigning for the third phase of Assembly elections in Jharkhand, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi said that the National Democratic Alliance had failed to deliver on promises of achche din. In his address in a village on the outskirts of Ranchi, Mr. Gandhi attacked Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s scheme for adoption of model villages by MPs and repeatedly referred to the Swachch Bharat campaign.

“The PM is visiting Australia, Nepal, and other foreign countries. He says he had to visit these countries to learn how farming should be done. In the meantime, aap jhadoo lagaaye (you may continue sweeping with brooms),” he said eliciting chuckles from the sparse crowd of a few thousands.

Mr. Gandhi made several references to laws passed during the UPA’s government tenure including MNREGA, Right to Information Act, Forest Rights Act, and criticised the Saansad Adarsh Gram Yojana launched by Mr. Modi under which MPs will be required to coordinate functioning of existing rural development schemes in villages they choose in their constituencies. “There are 700 villages in Amethi, my constituency. I asked the District Magistrate, if I focus on one, what will happen in the other 699? I asked the DM, what is the budget for this? There is none, not a single additional rupee,” said Mr. Gandhi. The Congress will recognise and ensure a separate code for Sarna, an animistic religion, in the census practised by Jharkhand tribals, he added

The site of the rally falls in the centre of four Assembly constituencies Hatia, Ranchi, Kanke, Khijri, two of which — Ranchi and Kanke — are held by the BJP, Hatia by All Jharkhand Students’ Union, and Khijri has a Congress MLA at present. Elections for the four seats and 13 other seats are scheduled on December 9. Mr. Gandhi held a rally in Ramgarh as well. The party has 11 seats in the 81-member Assembly at present.

In its manifesto, the Congress has promised a separate code for Sarna, an animistic religion, practised by Jharkhand tribals. It has promised free television sets, free coaching for engineering and medical examinations for girls incorporated in the party manifesto, electrification under the Rajiv Gandhi Grameen Vidhutikaran Yojana (RGGVY) and replacement of over 9,000 transformers that have stopped functioning in villages.

Targets Modi over Uri terror attack

PTI adds:

In Ramgarh, Mr. Gandhi targeted Mr. Modi, saying terror activities had started in Jammu and Kashmir soon after the BJP came to power at the Centre.“We had our government for 10 years. Tourists used to come to J&K. There was peace. As soon as his (Mr. Modi’s) government came to power (at the Centre), terrorist activities started,” he said at an election rally in Ramgarh.

“Wherever he (Mr. Modi) goes during the elections, whether it is Maharashtra, Delhi or U.P., before the polls, there will surely be incidents of violence. He will ensure that one religion is pitted against another religion and then the election follows,” he said.

Earlier in Delhi, the Congress vice-president came out with a statement condoling the death of securitymen and civilians in the terror attacks, saying these “destabilising attempts need to be crushed with resolve”.

“I salute the martyrs of the armed and police forces and convey my deepest condolences to the families of the civilians killed in the deplorable and deliberate terror attacks in Jammu and Kashmir,” he said.

He further said that these destabilising attempts, being escalated from across the border in Pakistan, need to be crushed with resolve.

“And the Congress party stands firm with the people of the state and government agencies in their efforts to counter terror and terrorists,” Mr. Gandhi said.

At Ramgarh, Mr. Gandhi asked what happened to Mr. Modi’s claims in the run up to the Lok Sabha polls that he will show China and Pakistan (India’s strength) when he becomes Prime Minister.

Accusing Mr. Modi of making “false promises” of bringing back black money within 100 days of coming to power, he said the country is asking when the poor will get Rs. 15 lakh as declared by the BJP leader.

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Printable version | Aug 1, 2021 8:05:48 AM |

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