06 February 2019
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Bhawanipatna (Kalahandi)/Rourkela: Paying his second visit to Odisha this year before the ensuing general elections, Congress president Rahul Gandhi today reiterated his party’s assurance of minimum income guarantee if voted to power at the Centre as well as the State.
Addressing the Paribartan Sankalp Samabesh of Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee (OPCC) by striking an emotional chord at Bhawanipatna’s Lal Bahadur Sastri Stadium in tribal-dominated Kalahandi district of western Odisha, the Congress president said, “Here we remember Rendo Majhiji and Laxman Nayakji. It is their ‘karmabhumi’ (workplace). Hence, I would like to remember them at the outset of today’s meeting. You all know that we have an old bond with you here. It’s not political relation, but a relation of love and family bond. Today I haven’t come here as a politician, but as a family member.”
Launching a scathing attack at the BJP-led Central Government, Rahul burst, “We gave you MGNREGA, but Narendra Modiji stopped it, gave you Adivasi Bill and that was also stopped, gave you RTI and that was too stopped. Whatever we had given you for your help and support, all have been stopped.”
“We have taken a historic decision. You were benefitted by MGNREGA, but we have taken a greater decision than MGNREGA. Congress party has been working out on it for the last five-six months. Narendra Modiji has promised to give each farmers of our country Rs 17. Congress party guarantees minimum income to every Indian. We have promised that every poor man of our country, be it of Odisha, Chhattisgarh or Jharkhand or Madhya Pradesh or east India or west India or central India or south India, will be entitled to it. It means Congress party will guarantee minimum income and assure that the bank account of every poor Indian gets it,” he vowed.
He lambasted, “During the presentation of Budget, the BJP Government patted its own back and bragged that they have taken a historic step for the farmers. But in reality they are giving a hardworking farmer’s family Rs 17 a day. It implies that each family member is entitled to Rs 3.50 per day.”
He accused, “The Narendra Modi Government has snatched MGNREGA from you. The UPA Government had allocated Rs 35,000 crore for implementing MGNREGA across the country. But Narendra Modiji has snatched and put the funds of 10 MGNREGAs in the pockets of 15 industrialists. The farmers of every State are demanding farm loan waiver, but didn’t while Rs 3.5 lakh crore loan of 15 industrialists was waived off. ”
Rahul further stated, “You live near Chhattisgarh. Bhupesh Bhagelji is present here. Narendra Modiji kept on promising for five years that he would give the reasonable rate to the farmers. His chief ministers also assured for the last 15 years to do so. Bhupesh Bhagelji, Kamanathji and Gehlotji became the Chief Ministers. I had promised in my speech that the farm loan waiver would be within 10 days, but it was done in Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan in two days.”
He claimed, “Congress in power at the Centre had done two-three historic jobs for the tribals. The most important is Adivasi Bill (PESA Act). Under this law, Congress party gave you (tribals) your right to ‘jal, jamin and jungle’ (water, land and jungle). It is clearly mentioned in the Adivasi Bill that the land must be given back to them. This has started in Chhattisgarh.”
“As per the provisions of Land Acquisition Act, the tribals and farmers are entitled to four times more than the market price if their land is acquired. Without the prior permission of the tribals and the farmers, their land can’t be acquired at any cost. If acquired and for the next five years the acquired land remains unused and no industry or factory built, the same land should be restored straight to the owners of the land. Example was set in Chhattisgarh. A factory of TATA company was to be built, but couldn’t in five years. The Chhattisgarh Government led by Chief Minister Bhupesh Bhagelji gave the acquired land back to the tribals,” the Congress president argued.
Rahul averred, “Every Congress leader of Odisha will protect the land of each tribal. Congress party will protect your rights to ‘jal, jamin and jungle’. There was fight at Niyamgiri. You should be remembering that I had been there and stood for your cause. We protected your right.”
Later, Rahul also addressed gathering at steel city Rourkela in another tribal-dominated district Sundargarh.
Raising the same issues and taking a dig at both the Centre and State Government, the Congress president also criticised PM Modi for not keeping his promises yet given to the people of Rourkela about second Brahmani bridge and upgrading IGH to super specialty hospital.
Also Read: Former Congress MLA Jogesh Singh Joins BJD
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