While celebrating the NDA government’s climbdown on the land acquisition Act, the Congress on Sunday said the battle would now shift to the states. Addressing the party’s Kisan Samman rally at the Ramlila Maidan here, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi accused the Narendra Modi government of trying to snatch the land and rights of farmers, and claimed the Prime Minister believes in “Take in India” although he often talks about “Make in India”.
Party president Sonia Gandhi also focussed her speech on Modi. Alleging that he does not have time for farmers, she said his time is devoted to industrialists and foreign trips. While neither Rahul nor Sonia mentioned the Bihar assembly elections, both talked about the Prime Minister’s preference for “businessmen” and “industrialists”.
Rahul said he “understands” Modi well. “He doesn’t say what he really thinks. He has said his government will not finish the Congress party’s Bill. On the other hand, he has told his chief ministers that the Centre could not do it, try to do it in states…So the battle is not over….This battle will now be in the Vidhan Sabhas,” said Rahul.
“The fight is not yet over. The battlefield has now shifted from Delhi to the states as the Prime Minister, after having failed to do it at the Centre, is trying to get the same Act enacted in the states. We need to be all the more careful now, otherwise your historic struggle will go in vain and you will be driven out of your land,” added Sonia.
Rahul stuck to his “suit-boot” line of attack against Modi in his 20-minute speech. “Modiji talks about Make in India. He tells you, give your land we will give you employment… But in his Make in India, there is no place for workers, no place for farmers. In his Make in India, there is place for only those people whom he meets and talks to often. We are not in favour of such a Hindustan. We don’t want such a Make in India. In English, make means build and take means snatch… This is not Make in India, this is Modiji’s Take in India. On one hand (he) wants to snatch your land and on the other your rights… And it will go to his three-four selected friends,” he said.
“Modiji only talks to those wearing suit and boot… Look at Modiji. Everyday he wears new clothes, he wears 15 lakh suit. Jitna wo janta se kam baat karte hain, jitna wo aap se door jaate hain, utna unke kapde ache bante hain. Unpe chamak aati hain,” he said. “When he talks about employment, you would not find youth or workers next to him… you will find bureaucrat on one side and businessmen on the other,” said Rahul.
Speaking on similar lines, Sonia referred to the farm loan waiver scheme of the UPA government. “The Modi government, instead of providing financial relief to farmers, has given Rs 40,000 crore tax benefits to foreign capitalists… It seems he does not have any interest in resolving your problems. His interest and time is devoted to industrialists… Yes, he also has interest, time and money in abundance for foreign trips,” she said.
Hitting back at Modi who has accused the Congress of creating hurdles in the path of development, Sonia said: “It is laughable and at times I feel pity on them. Where were his ideological companions during the freedom movement? A party which fought for the country’s independence, made sacrifices and after independence built modern India… can it be a roadblock in the country’s development,” she said.
“Yes, if the government does not listen to the voice of the people and turns a blind eye to your problems, Congress will definitely come in their way… If development benefits only a few persons neglecting the vast masses… we will definitely create hurdles and roadblocks and oppose such development,” she said. Sonia claimed that in order to divert attention, the Modi government was encouraging acts which create tension in society.
Addressing the gathering, former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said the fight had just begun. He said the “anti-farmer Modi government” was making every effort to weaken the schemes and programmes brought by the UPA government for the welfare of the farmers and working class. “We need to be vigilant,” he said.