NEW DELHI, April 19: Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi on Sunday addressed his first public rally after returning from a 56-day leave of absence and said the Modi government wants to weaken the land bill. The BJP hit back, wondering how many times the Congress will launch him.
Rahul accused Prime Minister rendra Modi of seeking to “return debt of industrialists by giving them land of farmers”.
The Congress sought to put the rendra Modi government on notice over its land bill with all its top leaders - Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and Manmohan Singh - siglling the party’s intention to make it a rallying point in the party’s efforts to revive itself electorally after the debacle in the last Lok Sabha election.
“How Modi won the election? He took loans of thousands of crores from big industrialists from which his campaigning was done. How will he meet the obligation? He will do it by giving (them) your land. He wants to weaken the land bill,” Gandhi said at a well attended Kisan-Khet Mazdooor rally at the Ramlila Maidan here. He alleged in his 25-minute speech that the government wants that farmers do not get adequate price for their crops, do not get fertiliser and are not able to stand on their feet.
“Then, they will purchase your land and give it to industrialists...He (Modi) showed that in Gujarat model land can be taken. What he (Modi) did in Gujarat, he wants to do it in India...Modi wants to weaken the foundation. This is Modi’s model — weaken the foundation, then attach a ladder to the building, paint it and show to the world though the building is weak from inside,” he said.
Rahul Gandhi pitched the Congress as the party which will always stand by the farmers and the poor and fight for their interests.
“Congress is firmly with the farmers and the poor. Wherever there is attempt to stch their land, Congress leaders will be there. I will be there.”
Rahul Gandhi took exception to the reported remarks of Modi that he wants to remove “kachra (dirt)” of the past 50 years.
“He (Modi) does not understand the power of people. They have given their sweat and blood over the past 60 years. Such words do not behove Modi or the post of prime minister,” he said.
The Bharatiya Jata Party reacted strongly to Rahul Gandhi’s jibes at Modi and the apparent Congress attempts to showcase the rally as a a show of strength by the Congress leader.
“How many times will the Congress launch Rahul Gandhi,” BJP leader and union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad asked.
He accused Rahul Gandhi of insulting the popular mandate of the last Lok Sabha election and sought an apology from him.
“We want to ask Sonia and Rahul as to what is the Vadra model of development and land acquisition?” Prasad asked, referring to the controversy over the land deals involving Sonia Gandhi’s son-in-law Robert Vadra.
Union Minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal also on Sunday attacked the Congress party, saying it has no right to raise the land bill issue since its leadership had remained mute spectator to Sonia Gandhi’s son-in-law Vadra acquiring land in various States at throwaway prices.
In her speech, the Congress president accused the Modi government of adding to the problems of farmers by changing the land law brought by the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government in 2013. IANS