Unite and fight for safeguarding future, says Rahul Gandhi
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday said whatever Prime Minister Narendra Modi did was intended to help the rich and hurt the poor, exhorting the people to unite to safeguard their future and speaking up for the rights of tribals and other marginalised sections.
Flagging off an “Adivasi Satyagraha” in Gujarat’s Dahod at a massive public rally, Rahul said: “The BJP won’t give you anything. They are here to snatch whatever belongs to the people of this country. Now you have to snatch it from them. You know Modi’s Gujarat model. They want to sell everything to two-three industrialists. You have to unite and fight for safeguarding your future.”
The Congress leader added: “Modi tested the Gujarat model here and is now enforcing it in the whole of India. This is aimed at creating one India, which has billionaires and bureaucrats having power, money and arrogance; the other India has ordinary citizens struggling for basic necessities. Whatever Modi does is intended to help the rich and hurt the poor. The rich don’t even face the consequences of the law.”
Comparing the policies of the Congress and the BJP, Rahul said: “We tried our best to safeguard the interests of the poor, Dalits and tribals. We brought PESA (the Act that empowers gram sabhas to play a key role in approving development plans and controlling all social sectors, MGNREGA (the 100-day rural job guarantee scheme), the Land Acquisition Act. Modi brought demonetisation, and a flawed GST that harmed small businesses.
“During the corona pandemic, the poor didn’t even get oxygen and ventilators. But the media won’t show this. The media won’t tell you three lakh people died of Covid in Gujarat. The media will distract you with trivia and show only Modi’s face, as if nobody else has a face.”
Rahul buttressed his claim on Modi’s pro-rich politics by explaining how education and healthcare infrastructure was being privatised.
“Hospitals were given to private players where the poor and the tribals and Dalits can’t go. They can’t send their children to universities as most of them are private. Government schools were closed. Big projects are launched and statues are built. What do you get out of it?
“In Rajasthan, our government has created healthcare networks across the state. People get free treatment and medicine and medical insurance up to Rs 10 lakh. In Chhattisgarh, the government opened English-medium schools to educate the children of the poor.”
He announced that the Congress would scrap the Par-Tapi-Narmada river-linking project if it comes to power in the year-end Assembly polls. The project has agitated the tribals of Gujarat because of possible displacement and triggered a movement that the Congress has aligned itself with.
Although the river-linking project has been put on hold by the BJP government, the Congress has continued the agitation. Tribals have a say in 40 Assembly seats in Gujarat.
The entire Congress leadership of Gujarat, including the sulking Hardik Patel, was present at Tuesday’s programme. The “satyagraha” will continue till the Assembly elections scheduled in December.
The Congress has constituted a force of 5,000 volunteers who will visit 10 lakh adivasi households to get an “Aadivasi Adhikar Patra” filled up. The purpose is to understand the needs of the tribals and offer a guarantee on behalf of the party to deliver on a charter of demands that will be called Indira Sankalp Card.
Taking a vow to protect the rights of the tribals over their “jal, jungle and zameen”, the Congress launched a dedicate website and an anthem for the “satyagraha”. The website, apart from highlighting the demands and concerns of the tribals, will also record the incidents of atrocities against the community. During the “satyagraha”, 10,000 “Samvidhan Chaupals” will also be organised to interact with the people on tribal rights and legal frameworks.