Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday echoed Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren’s allegations that BJP was working towards bringing an end to a British-era law that protects the land rights of Santhal tribe, and also questioned Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s intent, saying during his government in Gujarat agricultural plots were acquired without proper compensation to farmers.
Addressing an election rally in Shikaripara constituency, Rahul said: “What does power mean? It means you have rights over your land. It means that no businessman or bureaucrat can take away your land… You have an old Act, the Santhal Pargana Tenancy Act… Modiji says he wants to give you rights. I am telling you, your land is your strength…. Mere words won’t give you rights.”
He apprehended the PM was opposed to land rights to tribals as during his government in Gujarat, the state had acquired the land without providing compensation and rehabilitation to farmers.
Hemant Soren and leaders from his party JMM during campaigning have often alleged that the BJP government at the Centre was working towards ending the state’s tenancy laws. He cited the Law Ministry’s decision to scrap certain Acts, pointing that two tenancy Acts of Jharkhand were on the list of laws that could be repealed.
Modi during his December 15 rally in Dumka had said tha tno one can take away land from the tribals.
Rahul was in the state to campaign for his party’s Shikaripara, Dumka and Jama candidates. Addressing the rally, he said: “This is a clash of ideologies. My party believes that India’s strength is with its people and that we have to give that power to you. BJP thinks that all knowledge is with one person and that only one person can change India. His name is Narendra Modi.”
“You listen to the Prime Minister’s speeches. He will never tell you that we will develop Hindustan together. He will never tell you that he wants to give power to the adivasis… He says, ‘Give me powers to take Hindustan forward’.”
The Congress leader said the PM was in fact attacking the people of the country when he trains guns at Congress. “You change this country each day. This country runs on your strength. When Modiji says nothing has changed in 60 years, he is questioning you. He is challenging your parents, not Congress .”
Rahul alleged the PM was asking for more powers to favour industrialists close to him. “He doesn’t want to give it to all industrialists, he has five-six friends to whom he wants to give it. Why? Because these friends give him money for marketing,” he added.