Pathankot (Punjab): Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Thursday launched a scathing attack on the BJP-led Centre, alleging that its policies “create fear” among the people.
He also accused the BJP and the RSS of creating an atmosphere of hatred, violence and fear in the country.
The former Congress chief took on the Narendra Modi government over demonetisation, “faulty” Goods and Services Tax (GST) and the Agnipath defence recruitment scheme.
Addressing a rally here on the last day of Bharat Jodo Yatra’s Punjab-leg, Gandhi alleged that the BJP was making one religion fight against another, creating a wedge, pitting one caste against another and one language against another.
“They (BJP) create fear. All of their policies cause fear to one or the other,” he alleged.
Pointing towards the policies of the previous UPA government, Gandhi said it brought MGNREGA, waived farm loans, urban renewal mission, green revolution and white revolution.
“Whatever we do is to wipe out fear. And whatever they do they (BJP) do is to spread fear.
“Look at their policies — farmers get up at 4 am in the morning and they toil hard daily and feed the nation. Farmers do not want anything in return, they only want respect,” he said.
He targeted the Centre over the now-repealed three agri laws and said these created fear in the minds of farmers.
“But what did BJP do for them — they brought ‘black’ farm laws. These laws created fear among farmers,” he said.
Speaking about the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana, the Congress leader claimed that farmers were not getting compensation for their crop damage caused due to the vagaries of weather.
“Not even a single farmer told me that they got insurance compensation when they suffered crop loss due to natural calamities,” he claimed.
He targeted the Centre over the Agnipath defence recruitment scheme, saying it has shattered the dreams of those aspiring to join the defence forces.
He said lakhs of youths aspire to join the armed forces and protect the nation.
“Has the Agniveer scheme lessened their fear or increased it?” Gandhi asked the gathering, and after their reply, said, “hasn’t this scheme increased their fear”.
“Did the Agniveer scheme strengthen or weaken the country’s Army,” he asked.
“What three black laws did to farmers, the Agnipath scheme is doing to the armed forces,” he alleged.
He said Ludhiana used to be the centre for small and medium industry and competed with China. Auto parts, textiles, bicycles and sports goods in Jalandhar, these used to be exported to the world.
“Did demonetisation eliminate or create fear, did wrong GST eliminate or create fear (among the small and medium industry). So, wherever they bring a scheme, their target is to create fear and snatch fruits of people’s labour and hand it over to India’s 2-3 billionaires,” he alleged.
When fear is created in society, it is easy to spread hatred. If there is fear in farmers’ heart, it can be easily converted into hatred, if there is fear in small and medium entrepreneurs’ hearts, it can be easily converted into hatred, he said.
This is their job — to spread fear in the country and convert that into hatred…to divert attention and snatch from India’s “tapasvis” and hand it over to 2-3 billionaires, alleged Gandhi as he targeted the BJP.
“Why? Because industrialists do marketing for their party. For 24 hours, you will see Narendra Modi’s face in the media. Switch on TV and you will see Narendra Modi ji’s face,” he added.
Pointing out the problems faced by farmers, inflation, shortage of fertilisers among others, Gandhi asked, “Have you seen discussion on these issues in the media or on wrong GST and demonetisation.”
“Those who control the media houses, their target is to see India’s attention should not be drawn towards real issues. And they do it 24 hours. Why? Because your pocket is being picked.
“When a pickpocket steals your purse, he is not alone and is accompanied by 2-3 people who divert the attention of the person they target. Once the attention is diverted, the pickpocket does his job. They divert attention…A pickpocket steals a thousand or two thousand rupees, but they snatch lakhs of crores of rupees from the people of this country,” alleged Gandhi.
He said the yatra, which started from Kanyakumari and moves to Jammu and Kashmir in the final leg, was started against inflation, unemployment and hatred and also to connect people of this country.
Gandhi said people showered their love during the Yatra and gave them great strength.
Giving an example of Punjab, he said people offered free food and all help to the yatris who were part of the foot march.
“You may call it love or Punjabiyat, you may give different names. I want to thank you from my heart,” Gandhi said.
On a lighter vein, Gandhi said the love showered by people in Punjab has also created a serious problem because “Delhi’s Parantha” won’t do for him now as he has gotten used to Punjab’s “makki ki roti sarson ka saag”.
“My mother is fond of makki ki roti sarson ka saag, I was thinking of telling her that she will have to bring the Punjab touch to the dish,” he said.
On sporting a turban during the Punjab-leg of yatra, Gandhi said, “I wore ‘pagri’ deliberately. I wanted to tell you that your history and the path which was shown by your Gurus, I respect it and I bow before it and this is also my path,” he said.
Congress chief Mallikarjun Kharge, Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, Punjab Congress chief Amrinder Singh Raja Warring, leader of opposition in Punjab, Partap Singh Bajwa, former Punjab chief minister Charanjit Singh Channi, senior Congress leaders Jairam Ramesh, Harish Chaudhary, K C Venugopal and Digvijay Singh among others were present at the rally.