In a sharp attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, senior Congress leader Rahul Gandhi Wednesday said both of them are silent on the issue of jobs and unemployment and are instead attacking his family and that of ally, Tejashwi Yadav. He said Modi doesn’t even have the etiquette to talk about the issues of Bihar when he is campaigning in the state.
Rahul’s attack came hours after Modi referred to Tejashwi, the opposition alliance’s Chief Ministerial face, as the ‘yuvraj of jungle raj’. Kumar, too, had been taking pot shots at Lalu Prasad’s family — the recent being his “eight-nine children” jibe.
“The Prime Minister will not talk about employment. Nitishji and the Prime Minister will give speeches. Nitishji will talk about Tejashwi’s family. He will say wrong things. Narendra Modiji will talk about my family. But the question that is there before Bihar… of jobs, of the lives of farmers, about small traders… they will not utter a word,” Rahul said at a campaign rally in Darbhanga.
“This election is not about Laluji’s family, my family or Nitishji’s family. This election is about the future of Bihar. And you don’t have the etiquette (tameez) that you are standing before the people of Bihar and you will not talk about what the people of Bihar want to hear…about their future, jobs, factories, sugar mills… magar ulti seedhi baat aap bologe,” he said.
Gandhi said the people of Bihar gave 15 years to Nitish Kumar and six years to Modi. “What did you get? Bihar is one of the poorest states. The youth of Bihar cannot find a job in Bihar. It is another matter that leave aside Bihar, the youth cannot find jobs anywhere in India now. Not in Mumbai, Bengaluru or Delhi because Narendra Modi has finished off all jobs in the country.
“The farmers of Bihar can’t get adequate prices. Bihar’s small traders, middle-sized businessmen…they can’t dream about a good future. Bihar main sapna dekha mana hain…that is the truth. If you want jobs go to Mumbai or elsewhere,” he said.
In his speeches in Darbhanga and Valmiki Nagar, Rahul spoke about the farmer’s agitation in Punjab over the three farm bills. He said for the first time he has seen the effigies of the Prime Minister being burnt on Dussehra.
“For the first time I saw that on Dussehra, the effigies of Ravan, Meghnad and Kumbhakarna were not burnt. For the first time, the effigies of Narendra Modi were burnt on Dussehra. The people of Punjab are smart. On the effigies, they put the face of Ambani on one side and Adani on the other side and in between was Modi’s face…To tell you frankly, I didn’t like it. After all, Modi is the Prime Minister of the country. But the truth is that be it small shopkeepers, youth, farmers or workers….they are all angry. At the national level, they are angry with Modi and in Bihar they are angry with Nitishji,” he said.
He said in 2006, the Bihar government did away with the mandi and MSP system in the state. “And since then, the farmers of Bihar were never able to get adequate and appropriate prices for their produce.. And Modi is doing the same in Punjab and other states. That is why the effigy of the Prime Minister and not Ravan’s was burnt on Dussehra.”
Rahul also attacked Modi over demonetisation and his government’s decision to announce a lockdown without any advance notice, putting lakhs and lakhs of workers from Bihar in distress. “The workers from Bihar are there at every nook and corner of the country. They were not given any advance notice…he (Modi) came on television at 8 PM and announced the lockdown….whether you have food or water…we have to fight this battle for 21 days…who was he battling…he was battling the workers of Bihar and not corona,” he said.
Rahul said small and medium businesses were destroyed because of the lockdown and India’s neighbours have moved ahead in GDP figures. “Now you have to make a decision….this election is about the future of Bihar. On one side is the alliance – Tejashjwi and I are there – and on the other side is the past, Nitishji and Modiji…you have seen what they have done in Bihar and in India….they could not fulfil any of the promises….,” he said.
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