Congress president Rahul Gandhi, kicking off the party’s campaign for Lok Sabha elections, on Thursday said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has waived loans of several big industrialists but rejected the demand from farmers to forgo their loans.
Addressing a huge rally at Dharampur taluka in Valsad district, Rahul said, “Farmers are saying that Prime Minister please waive our loans. But the PM and Arun Jaitley said that they will not waive their loans. On the other hand, Rs 3.5 lakh crore loans of Anil Ambani, Nirav Modi, Mehul Choksi, Vijay Mallya have been waived.”
“In Gujarat elections, we had told that if Congress comes to power, the farmers’ loans will be waived. Narendra Modi’s leaders said that Congress was telling lies. After the recent elections in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, we have waived the loans. But in five years, the Narendra Modi government had not waived the loans and said that there is no money. Vasundharaji (former Rajasthan CM) said there is no money, former Madhya Pradesh CM said there is no money, Raman Singh (former CM) of Chhattisgarh said there is no money,” said Rahul.
Taking a jibe at the Centre’s Bharat Mala, bullet train and other projects, Rahul said that while no one is against these projects but tribals and farmers, from whom the government is acquiring lands to implement the projects, should get justice. “If you are giving contract of Rafale deal to Anil Ambani, then you should give justice to the tribals and farmers of India too.” “Congress had brought the Land Acquisition Bill in which it was clearly mentioned that if you want to acquire lands of tribals and farmers you have to seek their permission. After the consent of the farmers, you can take the land but with a provision that you have to deposit four times more than the market value of the land in their bank accounts. If in five years the factory or the project is not fully completed, then you have to return the land. In Chhattisgarh, Tata Company had acquired thousands of acres of lands and after five years the company had come up. The Chhattisgarh government had returned back lands to farmers.
But Modi had not implemented the same in Gujarat,” Rahul said. Farmers, especially in south Gujarat, have been protesting for long against land acquisition for bullet train and other projects.
Rahul even took potshots at the income support scheme for farmers announced in the Interim Budget recently. Under the scheme, farmers with small land holding will get Rs 6,000 per year. The Congress president said that his party would come up with a better income support scheme if voted to power. “Like the way, Narendra Modi has deposited Rs 30,000 crore in Anil Ambani’s bank account, similarly we will also deposit money in the bank accounts of the poor. This will be a historic step,” he said.
Speaking on the Rafale row, Rahul said that Modi was carrying out parallel negotiations with Dassault Aviation, the company which makes Rafale.
He further added, “The former president of France says Chowkidar Chor Hai. But our PM did not utter a single word.” Gandhi was referring to former France president Francois Hollande’s reported claim that the French government had no role in choosing industrialist Anil Ambani’s company as an offset partner. Rahul said that Modi brought the ‘Gabbar’ Singh Tax, referring to the Goods and Services Tax (GST). “If Congress forms government in 2019, we will change Gabbar Singh Tax and there will be only one simple tax.”