Adilabad: In a blistering attack on Narendra Modi government, Rahul Gandhi today accused it of trying to snatch land from farmers for “crony capitalists” and also did not spare Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao, calling him a “mini-Modi” who too has “forgotten” the poor.
The Congress Vice President, who undertook a 15-km ‘padyatra' (foot march) through five villages in scorching heat and met families of farmers who committed suicide due to mounting debt in Adilabad district, hit out at the NDA Government for attempting to “dilute” the land acquisition Act passed by Congress-led UPA Government in 2013.
“Modiji and mini-Modiji claim to change India and Telangana, but they forgot the poor who actually transform the country,” Rahul said, without naming Rao. “If Modiji or the Chief Minister here meet farmers then I don't have to (worry about them),” he said.
Raising the land bill issue, he said, “If land is taken from you, it will be taken without asking you (for your consent). There will be no social audit.” “If no work starts even after five years, 10 years, 15 years and 50 years (of taking the land from farmers), you will not get your land back,” said the Congress leader, referring to the Land Bill brought by the Modi Government that makes key changes in the 2013 Act.
It is worrying that the BJP-led Government, which is completing one year in office, is trying to push through the Bill with great speed, the 44-year-old Amethi MP said addressing a meeting of farmers at Wadial village before winding up his Padyatra.
The Government is not making use of thousands of acres of land lying unused in SEZs, but is attempting to take away land from farmers, he charged.
“I will tell you why this land is being taken. Because this land is gold. You and your children do not need anything else. They don't want you to keep the land. They want to give away the land to two-three industrialist friends,” he said.
Training his guns on Modi over his monogrammed suit, Rahul said “Is there anyone here who wears a Rs 10 lakh suit? But, Modiji does,” he said.
The NDA Government at the Centre as well the TRS Government led by K Chandrasekhar Rao in Telangana claim to work for ‘Make in India' and providing jobs, Rahul said and asked if anyone in the gathering had got a job after the two Governments assumed office about a year ago.
The Centre and the TRS Government did nothing for farmers hit by unseasonal rains and failed to deliver on their respective promise of raising MSP of crops and waiving loan, Rahul alleged.
Vowing that Congress would stand by farmers “both in Parliament and on the streets”, he claimed that people he had met admitted to have “made a mistake” (by voting for BJP in 2014 elections).
Observing that Congress is not against development, he said the party is only opposed to “crony capitalism”. “Today, the governments in India and in Telangana are being run for a few people. Five-six industrialists are the friends of Prime Minister. They go with him abroad and entire India is being run for them,” Rahul alleged. He repeated his jibe that the NDA Government is a “suit-boot ki sarkar” (pro-corporates). “The good days are only for a few selected people,” the Congress leader said in reference to BJP's poll slogan of promising to usher in ‘achhe din'.
Rahul kicked off his padyatra from Koratikal village in this district to highlight the problems faced by farmers. He met the family members of Velma Rajeshwar, who allegedly committed suicide due to debt burden of nearly Rs 12 lakh, and consoled them.
He handed over a Rs two lakh cheque to Rajeshwar's widow Gangavva.
The Congress Vice-President had earlier visited Punjab and Maharashtra, where he interacted with farmers and undertook padyatras. He has aggressively taken on the Modi Government inside and outside Parliament on the land bill issue and the demand for relief to farmers.
Meanwhile, the ruling Telangana Rashtra Samiti and the BJP hit out at Rahul, slamming attempts to politicise the farmers' issue and turn his visit into a “grand celebration”. Secretary General of TRS, K Keshava Rao, flayed the way streets were flooded with posters and hoardings welcoming Rahul, saying Congress was making his visit over the tragic issue of farmer suicides into a kind of “grand celebration.”
“Let's not politicise the human issues. He has come for a tragic incident (farmers' suicides). Let's not pay insult to the people who are in difficulty,” the Rajya Sabha member told PTI here.
Telangana BJP President G Kishan Reddy said Rahul should first talk about farmers' suicides from 2004 to 2014 in the then undivided Andhra Pradesh when Congress was in power This is Rahul's first visit to Telangana after the formation of the new state, following bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh last year.
Though it was the UPA government's decision to carve out a separate state, the Congress failed to reap dividends in last year's Assembly elections, in which it was humbled by the Telangana Rashtra Samiti, led by K Chandrasekhar Rao, which was voted to power.