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Modi protected interests of '15 selected people': Rahul Gandhi

twitter-logoPTI | April 24, 2019 | Updated 22:23 IST

(Eds: Adding Unnao election meeting) Lakhimpur Kheri/Unnao, Apr 24 (PTI) Congress president Rahul Gandhi Wednesday accused him of protecting the interest of "15 selected people", while ignoring the farmers and the poor. "This chowkidar obliged 15 selected people during his five-year term but told sugarcane farmers that cane-farming caused 'sugar' (diabetes)," Gandhi alleged. The diabetes remark is usually attributed to Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath. "Narendra Modi in 2014 made a number of false assurances, on 'achhe din' (better days), two crore jobs, Rs 15 lakh in every bank account. But none of them came true," Gandhi said at an election rally in the Kheri Lok sabha constituency. The rally was organised in support of Zafar Ali Naqvi, the party's candidate for the constituency, and its nominee for the Nighasan assembly bypoll, Atal Shukla. He also addressed a meeting in Unnao. Gandhi repeated allegations of irregularities in the Rafale aircraft deal, which the government has denied. "Anil Ambani, who never manufactured an airplane, was awarded with a Rs 30,000 crore contract, but cane farmers were told that cane-farming caused sugar (diabetes) when they demanded their dues," he alleged. The government has repeatedly denied any corruption in the Rafale deal. Elaborating on his party's minimum income guarantee 'Nyay' scheme, Gandhi said, "The scheme was pronounced after due consultation with economists and think-tanks." "The scheme will provide annually Rs 72,000 in individual bank accounts of 25 crore poor people," he added. The party has promised to give an annual income support of Rs 72,000 to poor families under the scheme, if voted to power, even as the BJP claimed that 'Nyay' will "ruin" fiscal discipline and the Congress will impose new taxes on the middle class to finance it. "The scheme has been thoroughly discussed and if crores of rupees owed by Anil Ambani, Vijay Malya, Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi can be waived, then Rs 3,60,000 crore for five crore families under Nyay can also be afforded," Gandhi said in a bid to allay fears about the scheme's feasibility. He said, "Unlike notebandi (demonetisation) and 'Gabbar Singh Tax' by the Modi government which disturbed the economy and employment, Nyay will benefit the economy by enhancing demand for consumer goods and thus, boosting the manufacturing sector and employment." The Congress chief has often termed the Goods and Services Tax (GST) as the "Gabbar Singh Tax". The Congress' manifesto reflects the views and suggestions of the common people and not "mann ki baat", Gandhi said, taking a swipe at Modi's monthly radio broadcast. He said as per suggestions from the people, the Congress manifesto provides no jail term for farmers who default loans. "Similarly, the Congress has decided to present a separate budget for farmers so that they can know about the MSP (minimum support price), bonus and cane dues in advance," the Congress chief said. He promised the youths that if the Congress is voted to power, the Centre will fill up 22 lakh government vacancies within a year after assuming office, besides employing 10 lakh youths in panchayats. Gandhi also assured them "to scrap permission for new entrepreneurship for initial three years to boost self employment." Raising the issue of stray cattle in UP, he said, "The Modi government has made every farmer chowkidar of their crops and he (PM) himself became the chowkidar of Ambani." He claimed that his party will form the government at the Centre and that "after the Lok Sabha polls, the next target was (UP) assembly elections (in 2022) to ensure that the state is at the top in education, health and employment as before." Earlier, Congress general secretary in-charge of west UP Jyotiraditya Scindia made a scathing attack on the Modi and Adityanath governments and accused them of ignoring the farmers and the youth. "The Modi government promised to reduce the input cost by half and double the support price of farmers crops, But after five years, the cost has doubled, while the MSP has come to half," he said. Scindia also raised the issue of stray cattle, mob lynching in the name of 'gau-raksha' and farmers suicide. "People were beaten up in the name of gau-raksha but even now gau-matas were roaming on the roads and no gau-sewak was there to take care," he said. "In Madhya Pradesh, the Congress government has decided to set up cow-shelters and to look after them," Scindia pointed out. Reminding people about loan waivers within two days of forming the government in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh, Scindia said the Congress did what it had promised and sought votes for the party in the ongoing elections "that will change the 'dasha' and 'disha' of the country". Later, addressing the election meeting in Unnao, Rahul Gandhi targeted Modi and said, "Five years ago, there was a slogan 'achche din aayenge', but now there is a slogan 'chowkidar chor hai'." He also raised questions on demonetisation. PTI NAV IJT

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