PM allocates Rs 30,000 crore for Ambani but only Rs 17 for farmers: Rahul Gandhi at Patna rally

Rahul at the Jan Akanksha rally said that Bihar was now viewed as a centre of unemployment and promised that if the Congress came to power, Patna University would be given central university status.

Published: 03rd February 2019 04:31 PM  |   Last Updated: 03rd February 2019 10:00 PM   |  A+A-


Congress chief Rahul Gandhi at Jan Akanksha rally at Gandhi Maidan in Patna

Express News Service

PATNA: Congress president Rahul Gandhi mounted his fiercest attack so far on Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the BJP-led Centre’s policies at a rally in Patna on Sunday, asserting that the government’s crony capitalism and false claims are going to bring the Congress-led UPA back to power.

With the chief ministers of three Congress-ruled states and Bihar’s Grand Alliance leaders by his side, an impassioned Gandhi battered the Modi government on a wide range of issues such as demonetisation, the Rafale fighter plane deal, unemployment, farm distress and absconding tycoons.

“The chowkidar is a thief, and the whole nation knows it,” said Gandhi in an impassioned 29-minute speech at Congress’s ‘Jan Akanksha Rally’ at the historic Gandhi Maidan, the party’s only major rally in Bihar in 28 years.

Gandhi called demonetisation a whimsical decision taken to help selected tycoons and accused the Modi government of insulting farmers by announcing a minimum income scheme for them. Citing the waiver of farmers’ loans in Congress-ruled Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh, he said farmers’ loans would be waived across the country when Congress returns to power. He also reiterated Congress’s promise of a minimum income guarantee for every poor citizen in the country.

“BJP leaders dubbed the budget announcements for farmers as historic and applauded Modi for five minutes. What is historic in giving only Rs 17 a day to India’s farmers? You give Rs 10,000 crore to Vijay Mallya but just Rs 3.5 to India’s farmers’ families, and then you clap saying you did a great job,” said Gandhi, his speech dripping with sarcasm and scant regard for accuracy or consistency in citing various amounts of money.

Asserting that the Rafale deal involved massive corruption, Gandhi mounted vitriolic attacks on the PM over his alleged interference in the deal in France to help tycoon Anil Ambani. The Congress chief uttered their names of Modi and Ambani several times in his speech.

“The chowkidar goes to France and gets theft performed there. He also does the same in the USA in arms deals. Anil Ambani has a loan of Rs one lakh thousand crore on him. With that money, we could run MNREGS schemes three times across the country,” said Gandhi.

Claiming that the fighter plane deal negotiated by the UPA government was far better for the country as HAL was to make them, he said Modi and Ambani flew to France and got the original deal changed. “Modi asked Hollande to forget the Rs 526 crore deal and instead take Rs 1,600 crore and give the contract to Anil Ambani… Modi put Rs 30,000 crore in Anil Ambani’s pocket and just Rs 17 for farmers’ families in India. It is a shame. The chowkidar is a thief, and the whole nation knows it,” he added.

“He (Modi) made you stand in queues, and the money he took out of your pockets went by direct transfer to Nirav Modi, Vijay Mallya, Lalit Modi, Mehul Choksi and Anil Ambani. Demonetisation is the world’s biggest scam,” said Gandhi. “Modi said he wanted to fight against black money so that ordinary citizens get Rs 15 lakh each… But what came was Rs 3.5 for farmers... He insulted the country’s farmers,” he added.

While reiterating the Congress’s proposed minimum income guarantee for the poor, Gandhi said: “In the past five years, Modi gave crores of rupees to the millionaires – Rs one lakh crore to Anil Ambani, Rs 35,000 crore to Nirav Modi, Rs 30,000 crore to Mehul Chowksi… There is no dearth of money”.

“Earlier the slogan was ‘achhe din ayenge’ (good days will come), but now people say ‘chowkidar is a thief’ (the doorman is a thief),” said Gandhi. He praised RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav as a “young leader who does not lie” and promised to grant central university status to Patna University. Congress CMs Ashok Gehlot, Bhupesh Baghel and Kamal Nath also addressed the rally.

Leaders at the Patna rally (Photo | @INCIndia/ Twitter)

Tejashwi says 'Rahul for PM'

Rahul Gandhi promised to uproot the BJP government at the Centre and in Bihar. "I have said in Uttar Pradesh that Congress party will not play at the back foot but at the front foot. Together with Tejashwi ji and Lalu ji, Congress party will play at the front foot and we will hit a six."

Meanwhile, RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav, who shared the stage with the Congress chief, endorsed him as the next Prime Minister. "Rahul Gandhi is capable and qualified to hold the PM's post," Tejashwi Yadav said while reminding Rahul and the Congress that the onus lay on them to take along all the other parties, in a subtle hint on seat sharing in the state. 

Congress is part of Mahagathbandhan (Grand Alliance) in Bihar which also comprises RJD, RLSP and HAM of former chief minister Manjhi.

The RJD leader reiterated that all should unite to defeat the Bharatiya Janata Party and its National Democratic Alliance (NDA) in the upcoming Lok Sabha polls. He alleged that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had forgotten all the promises made during the 2014 Lok Sabha election campaign and failed to fulfill any of them.

Historic rally for Rahul in Bihar

This is the first public meeting organized by the Congress party at the Gandhi Maidan in nearly three decades and the first to be addressed by Rahul Gandhi in Bihar after he took over as the party president a little over a year ago and this has led to palpable enthusiasm among young cadre, who have put up colourful posters across the city, many of these taking jibes at the Narendra Modi government with earthy slogans.

According to Superintendent of Police, Patna, Garima Malik, nearly 3,000 police personnel, including constables, sub-inspectors and officers of DSP rank were deployed in the city to maintain law and order even as a temporary outpost has been set up in the vicinity of the venue of the rally.

ALSO READ | Patna: Posters depicting Rahul Gandhi as Lord Ram vandalised

Notably, the Gandhi Maidan which has witnessed rallies by luminaries like Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru and Rajendra Prasad in the pre-Independence era and Jayaprakash Narayan, Indira Gandhi and Atal Bihari Vajpayee later on - was hit by a series of bomb explosions in 2013 when Narendra Modi, then the Chief Minister of Gujarat and the BJPs Prime Ministerial candidate, had addressed his maiden election meeting in Bihar.

A year later, a stampede at the huge ground with a perimeter of nearly 2.5 kilometers during Dussehra celebrations had claimed more than a score of lives.

(With online desk and agency inputs)

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