KOLKATA: Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi on Friday accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee of forging a new political equation, as they went to Dhaka together while the economy of the country as well of the state was deteriorating.
During his maiden visit here after the BJP-led NDA Government assumed power, Rahul, while addressing a Congress workers’ meeting at the Netaji Indooor Stadium said, “When Manmohan Singh went to Dhaka in 2011, we requested Mamata to accompany him, but she refused and wanted to pursue ‘ekla chalo’ (travel alone).”
“But now she accompanied Modi to Dhaka. What is the reason for this friendship? The signal is clear and people can understand the new political equation between the two,” he remarked.
Launching a tirade against Modi, Rahul alleged, “He is serving the interests of the rich and depriving the poor farmers of the country. The erstwhile Congress-led UPA Government had introduced the Land Reforms Bill with three conditions in the interest of the poor.
“We had specified that approval of 80 per cent farmers had to be obtained first for taking their land for any project, next adequate compensation and if the project did not take off within five years the land acquisition deal would be scrapped. But the present government has done away with all these clauses to benefit the rich business houses,” he pointed out.
After arriving in the city, Rahul first went to Wellington Jute Mill at Rishra in Hooghly district, where he interacted with around 150 workers. The jute industry is presently in a shambles, with the mill closing down one after the other. He delivered a short speech to workers, but mostly heard their woes and assured them that he would take up their issue in the Lok Sabha.
Later in the afternoon during the Congress meeting, he tried to bolster the sagging morale of the Congress workers as several party legislators had deserted the party to join the ruling Trinamool Congress.
In fact, while Rahul was addressing party workers, Congress MLA from Shujapur in Malda district Abu Naser Khan Chowdhury, brother of former Union Railway Minister late A B A Ghani Khan Chowdhury, left the Congress and formally joined the TMC at its party headquarters here.