In a bid to counter the Opposition’s anti-poor charge, Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani on Tuesday said that his government was “poor-centric” and not meant for rich businessmen like “Adanis or Ambanis”.
“Mitron, amaari sarkar garibo ni sarkar che, peedito ni sarkar che, soshito ni sarkar che, adivasiyon ni sarkar che, daliton ni sarkar che, kheduton ni sarkar che, gamadao ni sarkar che. Aa sarkar Adani k Ambani maate nathi. (Friends, our government belongs to the poor, the oppressed, tribals, farmers, Dalits and villagers. This government is not meant for Adanis and Ambanis),” Rupani said while inaugurating the “Shramik Annapurna Yojna” under which cooked meal will be made available to 25,000 registered construction labourers at Rs 10.
“This government does not make programmes for the rich and prosperous. All our programmes have poor at the centrestage. And till the time, the poor are not thought about in this country, progress will not happen,” the chief minister added while recalling Pandit Deen Dayal Upadhyaya and his idea of “antyodaya” or upliftment of the weakest section of the society.
Speaking about the scheme which will be provided at 83 locations across 10 cities of Gujarat, Rupani said, “This is not a freebie. This is a programme that cares about labourers because there are many who do not have anybody to cook in their homes, there are women who have to get up early and cook before going to work… It is the government’s responsibility to see that these labourers get the necessary nutrition.” The scheme envisages to provide 1,700-calorie meal once a day to the labourers.
“For the labourers, 18,500 kilos of cooked food is prepared (under this scheme) everyday. This includes 2,000 kg rice, 4,000 kg of wheat flour, 3,000 kg of vegetables, 600 kg pulses, 500 kg fried green chillies and about 40,000 rotis,” Rupani added. Later, the chief minister served meals to labourers at a stall at Akhbarnagar.
The Indian Express had earlier reported that the Rs 10 meal, provided through food stalls at “kadiyanakas” (labour markets) across the state, offers one meal between 7 am and 11 am that contains five rotis, one “sabzi” made of mixed vegetables, some rice, pickle and a green chilli. One sweet is offered only on Sundays. With the Assembly elections approaching, the political significance of the scheme’s launch was not lost on anyone.
“We are not working to create votebanks. We are here to ensure that Rupani is re-elected,” said Labour and Employment Minister Dilip Thakore. Similar events were held in at least six other cities, including Kalol, Vadodara, Surat, Rajkot, Bhavnagar and Valsad.
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