Datia (MP), Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Monday exuded confidence that the party will return to power in Madhya Pradesh and tore into Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his “empty slogans” that he said have not helped farmers, women and small traders.
“The government that the Congress will form in the state will be responsive to farmers, small traders, women, and party workers,” Gandhi said at a public meeting here.
The Congress has been out of power since 2004 and is keen on dislodging the Shivraj Singh Chouhan-led BJP government in the state. The state goes to polls on November 28.
Gandhi, on a two-day visit of Madhya Pradesh ahead of next month’s Assembly polls, reiterated his promise that the Congress, if elected, will waive off farm loans within 10 days of government formation. He also promised to open a food processing unit in every district where farmers can profitably sell their produce.
He mocked the Prime Minister and the ruling BJP for paying lip service to the cause of women’s safety.
“When BJP MLA (Kuldeep Singh Sengar) rapes a girl in Unnao, the UP Chief Minister and the Prime Minister tried to save him. Neither was he expelled from the party nor did the PM speak a word about him. The actual slogan should be ‘Beti Padhao aur Beti ko BJP ke MLA se Bachao’ (Educate your daughter and save her from BJP MLA),” Gandhi said.
Gandhi’s attack on Modi and his government comes in the midst of a raging #MeToo campaign in which Union Minister M.J. Akbar has been accused of a long string of sexual harassments.
Akbar has rejected the allegations as “wild and baseless” and has initiated defamation suits, starting with journalist Priya Ramani, who had first accused the Minister of the sexual misdemeanour.
In Madhya Pradesh, too, women are afraid of moving out of their houses as was the case across he country, Gandhi said.
Juxtaposing the tilts of the Congress-led UPA and the BJP-led NDA governments, Gandhi reminded the people that the Congress-led UPA government had waived off farm loans worth Rs 70,000 crore.
By contrast, the Modi government had in the last four years “waived loans worth Rs 350,000 crore of 15-20 rich industrialists”.
“He (Modi) has place only for industrialists in his heart, not for women, Dalits and farmers. He stays quiet if anything happens to them.”
He also raked up the Rafale fighter jet deal, alleging that the offset contract was taken away from state-run Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) and given to a private entity.
The Congress leader earlier on Monday hit out at Modi, accusing him of insulting the people of India.
“The Prime Minister said from the ramparts of the Red Fort that the nation had been asleep for 70 years,” he said. “This is an insult to every section of the society.”
On August 15, Modi had criticized the Congress that has ruled for long years since India’s Independence in 1947. He had said that India was earlier a sleeping elephant, which had woken up and started running.
President Donald Trump finds India and China competing with the US, Gandhi said earlier on Monday. “We have reached this stage because of the contribution of farmers, workers, small businessmen and women over the past 70 years.”
Gandhi reached Gwalior by a special plane on Monday and then went to the Pitambara Peeth temple in Datia, accompanied by party leaders Kamal Nath and Jyotiraditya Scindia.