he country needs farmers as much as it needs industrialists but under the government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, farmers’ suicides have increased in the country, Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi said in Maharashtra on Friday.
“In the past three years, 9,000 farmers ended their lives in Maharashtra… India’s farmers have been under attack all over the country. Modi gave Rs 65,000 crore to one person for setting up the Nano factory but did not give a rupee to the farmers,” Gandhi said in a renewed attack on the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
He said the farmers’ loan waivers in Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra were the outcome of the “pressure from the Congress”, but the waivers are yet to be implemented fully.
Citing the case of Maharashtra, he alleged that a loan waiver of Rs 35,000 crore is said to have been implemented, but actually only Rs 5,000 crore have been disbursed by the state government, while the Congress regime had given farm loan waivers of Rs 70,000 crore.
“What is the need for asking the caste of the farmers for loan waiver… why should they be made to stand in long queues?” Gandhi asked, addressing large meetings of party workers on his daylong visit to Nanded and Parbhani.
Accusing the government of working for “the interests of 50 top industrialists,” he held the Prime Minister responsible for what he termed “the failure of demonetisation”.
Gandhi said Modi had put the common people to hardship by cancelling the currency notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 value in November last year, ruined the economy and the GDP tumbled down to 4.5 percent. “Who is answerable for this?”
“What was the real reason? Perhaps, he did not like the design of the old currency notes,” Gandhi said sarcastically, questioning the wisdom behind the measure in near-identical speeches in Nanded and Parbhani.
“It was claimed terrorism would reduce after demonetisation, but in Jammu and Kashmir, the picture is different… 99 per cent of the money was returned after demonetisation, then where is the black money that was supposed to come out? The truth is: Modi has converted all the black monies through demonetisation,” he alleged.
The Congress Vice President said the main issues confronting the country are protecting the interests of the farmers and providing jobs to the unemployed.
“Under the ‘Make In India’, Modi had said two crore youths would be given jobs, but in reality, there are zero job opportunities created. Everywhere we see ‘Made In China’ and our competition is with China. Then what was the purpose of ‘Make In India’,” he wondered.
Accusing Modi of “showing false dreams”, Gandhi said the Prime Minister speaks of giving the Bullet Trains but the government does nothing about education, health and unemployment.
“The government does not want the names of Mahatma Gandhi, Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi… They have started erasing them from textbooks, but how will they remove them from the hearts of over a billion Indians.
“The Congress may have shortcomings… But it does not mean we show false dreams to the people. Communal hatred is being spread all over India, in Goa, Manipur and Gujarat… BJP buys votes,” Gandhi claimed.
Focusing on the Goods and Services Tax (GST), he said it was the Congress government’s policy and it did not recommend more than 18 per cent GST “for our poor country”.
“But today, we have up to 28 per cent GST and five tax slabs,” he said, criticising the manner in which it has been implemented and said it will hit small and medium businesses very hard.