Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi promised to waive loans of farmers within 10 days of forming government in Gujarat as he wrapped up his two-day visit on Thursday. He also promised to reduce fees by 80 per cent in government and government-aided colleges.
Keeping up his attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, he said, “Modiji waived loans worth Rs 1.25 lakh crore of his five to 10 industrialists friends, but Modiji and (Finance Minister Arun) Jaitleyji say it is not their policy to waive farmers’ loans… Modiji talked for 22 years about farmers, but you have not got anything, your land has been taken away, your water is diverted to industrialists, and you do not get crop insurance. If we come to power, I’m making this promise to you that within 10 days of forming government in Gujarat we will frame a policy to waive your loans,” Rahul told a gathering at Botad, which is known for cotton farming.
“Tell me how much do you get for cotton nowadays. It is around Rs 800, and during the UPA’s time it was Rs 1,200. Modiji had promised you all that the rate would be Rs 2,000. But he will never talk about it in his speeches. He will not say “mitron (friends)” I gave you less. But he will build a bullet train and get the Japanese to make it. The farmers are committing suicide, while the Modi government is helping a handful of industrialists,” Rahul added.
He promised to make higher education cheaper. “I assure you if we come to power, there will be free education in all government universities and government-aided colleges — 80 per cent of fees will be reduced,” he said.
Before reaching Botad, he addressed rallies at Lathi, in the Patidar-dominated Amreli district, and Dasa. Earlier, he offered prayers at Gopinathji Swaminarayan Mandir at Gadhada.
Describing CM Vijay Rupani as a “rubber stamp”, he said BJP president Amit Shah was remote controlling the Gujarat government. “Earlier Modiji used to do so. Now, Amit Shah does the same. I have not taken the name of Rupaniji because he runs on remote control. Shahji can change the channel whenever he likes.”
In Bhavnagar city, he evoked Krishnakumarsinh Gohil, the last Maharaja to rule Bhavnagar state, and Sardar Patel. “While speaking about Sardar Patel, I am also taking the name of Maharaja Krishnakumarsinh Gohil. Krishnakumarsinh gave the land to the country and Sardar Patel used it for development. Modiji talks about making a statue of Sardar Patel. But he is doing exactly the opposite of what Sardar and Krishnakumarsinh did. Both worked for people, while Modiji is working for five to 10 industrialists… He gave acres of land that belonged to the people of Gujarat to one industry. He snatched it and then says ‘Jai Sardar’.”