Telangana elections: Modi not an "honest" PM, diluted tribal rights law, says Rahul Gandhi
Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Thursday said Narendra Modi broke every single promise he made, including being an "honest" prime minister. He accused Modi and Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao of "diluting the Tribal Rights Act to the detriment of forest dwellers.
Gandhi said Modi and Rao made "many, many promises" but did not deliver on them.
"The prime minister made promises of depositing Rs 15 lakh in the bank account of every citizen, two crore jobs to youth every year, farm loan waiver and a just minimum support price for farm produce. He also promised he will be the 'chowkidaar' of this country and not the prime minister.
"You have seen that he has broken every single promise. He has broken the promise of being an honest prime minister," he told a convention of students in Hyderabad.
Gandhi alleged the prime minister gave Rs 30,000 crore to industrialist Anil Ambani in the Rafale deal but not the farmers their due.
"If the Prime Minister of India can write off (rupees) three lakh fifty thousand crore of 15 people...the richest people in the country, then he should be ready to waive the loan of India's farmers," he said.
Gandhi asked the audience to recollect his speeches of the last 15 years and point out even one commitment he made and did not honour.
"I am not in the habit of lying to our people. I am not in the habit of making false promises. I made a commitment to farmers about agricultural loan waiver in Karnataka and Punjab, and when we were voted to power there, we wrote them off," he said.
Addressing an election meeting at Bhoopalpally in the tribal belt of Telangana, he promised reservations in government jobs and admissions to state-run educational institutions for Scheduled Tribe candidates proportionate to their population in the state.
"Prime Minister Modi weakened Adivasi Bill (Tribal Bill) at the centre and KCR diluted it at the state. As soon as we form our government in Telangana we will ensure that you (tribals) get back your land. We have mentioned this in our manifesto also.
"We will give reservations too that will be proportionate to your population," Gandhi told the rally.
The Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act was passed in 2006 when the UPA was in power. It is variously referred to as Forest Rights Act, Tribal Rights Act, Tribal Bill, and Tribal Land Act. The law concerns the rights of forest-dwelling communities.
The opposition has been alleging that the Modi dispensation diluted various provisions of the law including the condition of "free informed consent" from gram sabhas for any government plans to remove tribals from forests and for resettlement or rehabilitation packages.
It is alleged that the law was diluted to favour mining companies and industrialists.
Punning on chief minister KCR's initials, Gandhi called him "Khao Commission Rao" who promised that he would "redesign" the state but instead redesigned irrigation projects, which resulted in cost escalation and burdened the people, only to benefit members of his family and contractors.
Taking a jibe at the TRS chief's comment that he will go home and take rest if he loses the polls, Gandhi said, "KCR will definitely take rest in a Rs 300 crore palatial bungalow after the elections. You take rest and the Congress party will fulfil the aspirations and dreams of Telangana with the help of its people."
Speaking at an election meeting at Parigi in Vikarabad district, the Congress leader dubbed the TRS and AIMIM as 'B and C' teams of the BJP.
He said Owaisi's party fielded its candidates in Assam and Maharashtra assembly elections just to facilitate BJP's victory.
"We will defeat the BJP, RSS and Narendra Modi in the 2019 general elections. The TRS and MIM are Team B and C of the BJP," he said.
Addressing another rally at Armoor, he said, if the Congress came to power at the Centre, it would simplify the GST and sympathetically examine taxes on the beedi industry.
He also promised that a corpus fund of Rs 500 crore would be raised to help migrant workers in the Persian Gulf.
Targeting the prime minister over his signature mass outreach programme 'Mann Ki Baat' on All India Radio, Gandhi said,"Modi ji tells you his 'mann ki baat' (speaks his mind) every month. But we will listen to your (people's) mann ki baat and run Telangana according to your wishes."
The Congress president said while Modi and KCR always kept the doors of banks open for the rich, the Congress-led government in Telangana will waive agricultural loans of farmers up to Rs 2 lakh and raise the Minimum Support Price for as many as 17 varieties of farm produce.
Gandhi said he would never make tall promises like creating two crore jobs every year or putting Rs 15 lakh in the bank accounts of people.
"It is a matter of my credibility and I take that very seriously," he asserted.
He also said Rao got a golden opportunity to build a newly created state and do things in a fresh way but he frittered it away by "indulging in corruption and promoting family rule".
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