Rahul meets fishers, tourism stakeholders

Congress leader participates in snakeboat exhibition race in Kerala

September 19, 2022 06:46 pm | Updated September 21, 2022 03:55 pm IST - ALAPPUZHA

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi participating in a snakeboat exhibition race on Punnamada Lake at Alappuzha on Monday.

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi participating in a snakeboat exhibition race on Punnamada Lake at Alappuzha on Monday. | Photo Credit: Suresl Alleppey

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Monday assured the fisherfolk that he would stand with them to get their grievances addressed. Mr. Gandhi was interacting with the fishers at Vadackal beach in Alappuzha ahead of the 12th day of the Bharat Jodo Yatra.

In the early morning meeting, members of the local fishing community raised the issues of rising fuel prices, dwindling fish stock, climate change, lack of social welfare policies and educational opportunities with the Congress leader.

Stating that he was aware of many of the problems faced by the working class, including fishers, Mr. Gandhi said the common people were deprived of government assistance and subsidies.

"The Union government is not giving subsidies to labourers. But at the same time, they are providing all help to a few wealthy business people close to the government. Everyone should think about where the subsidy is going. Not only fishers, but workers in the cashew, coir and other sectors are also facing uncertain times. The government has reduced itself to a body creating opportunities for the rich," he said.

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi during the Bharat Jodo Yatra in Alappuzha on Monday.

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi during the Bharat Jodo Yatra in Alappuzha on Monday.

After listening to a fisherman complaining about the drawbacks of welfare schemes to fishers and government support to big corporates, Mr. Gandhi pointed out that the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance while in power had provided ₹72,000 crores as debt relief to the common people. "The present government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi is maintaining friendship only with rich people. They are the only ones receiving the Central aid," Mr. Gandhi said.

He highlighted the issue of unemployment in the country. "The government is not interested in providing quality education and jobs to the children of common people. It is hardly bothered about the welfare of small-scale entrepreneurs, farmers and labourers," said Mr. Gandhi.

He said the Opposition United Democratic Front (UDF) in Kerala would take up the issues of the working class, including the fishing community, and strive hard to find solutions.

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi interacts with fishers on the Vadackal beach in Alappuzha  during the party’s Bharat Jodo Yatra on Monday.

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi interacts with fishers on the Vadackal beach in Alappuzha during the party’s Bharat Jodo Yatra on Monday. | Photo Credit: -

Mr. Gandhi also interacted with stakeholders from the tourism sector and discussed their issues and opportunities. The former Congress president, who represents the Wayanad Lok Sabha constituency, later took part in a snakeboat exhibition race on Punnamada Lake. He was seen rowing a vessel with other oarsmen.

In the three-boat race, Naduvileparamban Chundan (snakeboat) rowed by Mr. Gandhi and others romped to victory. Anari Chundan and Vellamkulangara Chundan finished in the second and rge third places respectively. Mr. Gandhi later tweeted a video of the race with the message: "When we all work together in perfect harmony, there is nothing we cannot accomplish."

The exhibition race was held at the same place where the famous Nehru Trophy Boat Race (NTBR) is organised every year. The history of the NTBR is associated with the visit of Mr. Gandhi's great-grandfather and India's first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru to Alappuzha in 1952.

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