The job crisis and the agrarian distress were central to AICC president Rahul Gandhi’s speeches in Bhubaneswar on Friday, 25 January, as he blamed it all to ‘centralisation of power’ and ‘bureaucratic dictatorship’ of the Narendra Modi government.
At a public meeting in Khurda, he equated Modi and Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik as people who help a few industrialist friends and allow bureaucratic dictatorship.
“With due respect, I must say that CM Naveen Patnaik follows the autocratic model. The only difference between him and PM Modi is that he does not spread hatred,” said the AICC president.
“But the BJD and BJP are on the same page on all other aspects. When the chowkidar presses a button, the CM stands up in support,” Gandhi quipped while referring to Odisha CM’s support to demonetisation, GST and several bills in parliament.
“It is obviously for reasons related to corruption,” he remarked.
“The CM is a junior partner of the Modi led BJP and he cannot fight for your rights,” he told Congress supporters.
The AICC president referred to victory of the Congress in Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh and how within two days of assuming office, the governments in each of these states had waived farm loan.
“We will do the same in Odisha too,” he announced while adding that farmers will also get enhanced MSP of Rs 2600 per quintal for paddy.
“This is not a gift to farmers, it is their rightful due,” he said. Each district will have a food processing unit and these will be linked to cold storages and the market, he announced.
Noting that there is a unit of HAL in Odisha, Rahul Gandhi alleged that “the chowkidaar” robbed Odia youths of jobs by denying defence PSU the Rafale offset partner contract just to help “his friend”, Anil Ambani.
“The model allows a few industrialist friends to take charge of your campaign and publicity and a handful of bureaucrats to rule. In the process the voice of the people is not heard, benefits accrue to a few resulting in a crisis in every other field,” he said.
OPCC chief Niranjan Patnaik, leader of opposition in the assembly Narasingha Mishra also addressed the public meeting.
Former finance minister Panchanan Kanungo and a few other leaders joined the Congress today.
Before the public meeting in Khurda, the AICC president held a meeting with intellectuals.
“The democratic institutions are being destroyed and one institution – RSS – and one person – Modi, who is the fountain head of all wisdom – is the model that has brought around such devastation across sectors in the country,” he said in the meeting.
Gandhi said that no single person has the answer to all issues nor can he perform a miracle, but PM Modi thinks he is the one man who can. “The RSS which is the mothership of BJP believes it should be the only institution in the country and it penetrates all,” the 48-year-old Congress chief said.
“The Congress does not believe in this model of centralisation or destroying institutions,” he added.
The challenge is to re-engineer agriculture, decentralise, listen to people, he said, adding that Congress respects institutions like the judiciary, EC and universities.
“We never spread hatred, do not make one fight against the other on the basis of region, caste or religion,” he pointed out.
Gandhi said that the single biggest challenge for the country is decentralisation of power.
To restore the health and education sector, he said that flagship public sector educational institutions like IITs should be transformed to 21st century institutes.
“Even BJP central ministers tell me that their OSD’s are directly appointed from Nagpur. These ministers differ from the PM on many matters but do not have the guts to speak,” he said.
Targeting the BJP for having failed to create jobs – 2 crore per year as promised – the AICC president said China creates 51,000 jobs every day because it focusses on production and manufacturing.
“Modi-ji gave a slogan Make in India and what is the result only 450 jobs are created per day,” he said.
“India is facing a job crisis, small industries which were creating jobs were demolished in one stroke – GST. They are all busy talking of growth – 8 per cent, 7 per cent but nobody talks of job creation figures,” he remarked.
How much money has been allocated for Ayushman Bharat , he asked before adding that yesterday at Amethi he was informed by a PRI representative that of 12,000 people only 35 have got insurance under the scheme.
Gandhi was in Odisha today to kickstart the Congress poll campaign ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.