Angamaly (Ker), Feb 11: Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi today targeted the Narendra Modi government on the bullet train issue saying spending thousands of crores of rupees for setting up the network won't benefit millions of people who depend on existing railway networks for their daily travel.
Addressing the National Students' Union of India's (NSUI) National Executive meeting here, he urged the students to combat "anti-poor" policies of the Modi government.
Finding faults with policies and programmes of the BJP government, he said while the annual railway budget stands at Rs 140,000 crore, the government has decided to spend Rs 98,000 crore for setting up bullet train network. He lamented that it was useful for only a small section in the country.
"So for one train they are spending two per cent of total railway budget. How many people will benefit from such trains? Three thousand, four thousand, five thousand..."
"So... one side they are spending Rs 98000 crore for 5000 people and on the other side, millions and millions and millions of people who use railways- they get the same amount of money. This is what you have to combat. You have to go to students," he told NSUI workers at the closed door meeting.
His statement comes two months after the Rs 98,000-crore project to lay India's first bullet train network between commercial nerve centre of Mumbai and Ahmedabad was finalised at the annual summit talks between Prime Minister Modi and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe in New Delhi.
Beginning his interaction with the NSUI leaders after paying floral tributes to Rohith Vemula, who committed suicide in Hyderabad Central University recently, Gandhi said the Dalit scholar was a victim of "institutional murder".
He alleged that the Left and RSS are both similar in the sense that they "both impose one idea upon everyone. Those that disagree are not given any space. The left is violent and politically intolerant," he said. Describing BJP and Modi "as nothing but a puppet of the RSS," Gandhi said, "A spirit of dissent is emerging among the youth of the country and the BJP, run by RSS, realises this and hence is trying hard to crush it."
He urged NSUI to become a part of the dissenting voices and "continue creating chaos, as the BJP hates chaos and challenge."
About coming assembly polls he acknowledged that wherever the youth have been given an opportunity, they have performed tremendously and proved themselves. He emphasised the need for giving more youth representation in the party as well as the electoral system.