Set to embark on the nationwide Bharat Jodo Yatra next week, senior Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said Sunday there is no option before the Congress but to go to the people directly. The Congress leader said this was because the Government has stifled the voice of the Opposition in Parliament, controls the media through two industrialists and has attacked and put pressure on India’s institutions.
Addressing the Congress’s Mehangai Par Halla Bol rally at the Ramlila Ground in the Capital, Rahul Gandhi followed a familiar script and spoke on his pet themes. Mirroring his earlier speeches, he accused the BJP Government of spreading “hatred, anger and fear”, alleged that it was working to provide benefits to “two industrialists” and claimed that agencies like the CBI, ED, and the Income Tax Department are used to target those who speak against the Prime Minister.
“The Government has blocked all avenues for us. The avenue of Parliament is blocked for us. The Congress party and the opposition cannot speak in Parliament. Our microphones are switched off. We cannot speak on any issue – be it the Chinese attack, unemployment or price rise. Our institutions – be it the media, the Election Commission or the judiciary – are under attack and under pressure. So, all avenues are shut for us. Only one path is open for us. And we like that path the most. Go to the people directly and tell them the truth about the country.”
“And listen and understand deeply what is in their minds. That is why the Congress party is embarking on the Bharat Jodo Yatra. It is a battle of ideology. And the Congress party’s ideology and all our opposition parties..together we will defeat the ideology of the BJP and the RSS,” he said.
Rahul said that “hatred and anger” have been on the rise ever since the BJP came to power at the Centre. He said those who are “scared” harbour hatred. “So hatred is another form of fear…when we say hatred is on the rise in India..you can say it another way…fear is on the rise in India. Fear of the future, fear of price rise, fear of unemployment….that is why hatred is on the rise in India and what happens with hatred. Hatred divides the people and the country and the country weakens.”
“The leaders of the BJP and RSS divide the country and deliberately create an atmosphere of fear. They scare people and create hatred. Why are they doing it and for whom? Who is benefitting from this hatred? Is the poor benefiting from this hatred and fear? What benefit has the Narendra Modi government given to the poor, the farmers, the working class and the small shopkeepers? The entire benefit of this hatred and fear is being reaped by two industrialists. Even the other industrialists would say that they have not gotten any benefit in the last eight years.”
“Only two people are benefitting. Be it airport, port, roads…everything…cell phone, oil, everything going into the hands of the two people. Media scares the country, hatred is created. And the BJP gives all the benefits to these two people,” he said.
“The television belongs to two industrialists, the newspaper belongs to two industrialists… And these two industrialists work 24 hours for Modi and Modi works 24 hours for these two industrialists… Desh ka poora ka poora dhan do undyogpatiyon ke haath mein hai… (The entire wealth of the country is in the hands of these two industrialists) On one side they control the media and on the other, they control the Prime Minister. Narendra Modi is the Prime Minister…But I can tell you…Modi cannot remain Prime Minister without the support of those two industrialists. Modi cannot remain Prime Minister without the support of the media,” he said.
The Congress leader said the country cannot create jobs now even if it wants to as the Government has broken the back of small and medium enterprises which traditionally have created jobs. Unemployment, he added, will increase even more.
Rahul lashed out at the Government over the rise in prices of fuel and food items. He reeled out figures comparing the prices of petroleum prices and some essential food items between 2014 and now. “On one hand you are hit by unemployment and on the other, you are impacted by price rise…India has never seen such a price rise. Modi says what has the Congress done in the last 70 years…Congress has not given the country such high prices in 70 years,” he said.
“The common man is facing enormous hardships and when the opposition wants to raise these issues in Parliament…Modi and his Government do not allow the opposition to speak in Parliament…The media..their job is to highlight people’s issues. But they don’t do their job… the media belongs to those two industrialists.. the entire media is in their hands… So how will (we) see and hear the truth…and the people know everything,” he said.
He also talked about the questioning he faced by the Enforcement Directorate for five days over his alleged role in the National Herald case.
“I was made to sit in ED for 55 hours. But I want to tell one thing to Narendra Modi. I am not scared of your ED. It doesn’t matter to me. You do it for 55 hours, 100 hours, 200 hours, 500 hours, 5 years… It doesn’t matter to me. Our Constitution, which is the soul of our country, every Indian will have to come forward to protect it and to save…If we don’t do it, if we don’t stand up today…the country will not survive,” he said.
“Because this country is the Constitution, the country is the voice of the people, the country is the future of the people..this country does not belong to two industrialists…this country is of the poor. Today, there are two Indias—one of the workers, the poor, farmers and unemployed youth. In that country…no one can dream….you won’t get jobs…you can’t send your children to colleges and universities…you will not get anything even if you toil hard. And there is another India…an India of 10-15 industrialists…where you are free to dream…whatever you want you will get. The fight is between these two countries,” he said.
He said Modi’s ideology is to divide the country and give all benefits to a select few. “Our ideology is that the country belongs to all. And the people who give their blood and sweat…the benefit of which should not go to just two industrialists…the benefit should go to farmers, poor workers and the unemployed youth. That is the difference.”
Arguing that the UPA government had lifted 27 crore people out of poverty, he said the Modi government has pushed 23 crore of them back into poverty in the last eight years “And he speaks about new India, progress, Make in India..he says India has been transformed. Modi is taking India back. He is spreading hatred and fear and it will not benefit India. It will benefit India’s enemies..it will benefit China and Pakistan..the more hatred, anger, and fear increase in India … the more India will weaken. And Modi has weakened India in the last eight years.”