Rahul targets PM on note-ban, Rafale as campaign reaches peak
Seoni/Sagar/Mandla (MP), Nov 16: Congress chief Rahul Gandhi Friday said the land acquired for industrialists will be returned to original owners if his party comes to power in Madhya Pradesh and attacked Prime Minister Narendra Modi over demonetisation, calling it the "biggest scam".
Addressing rallies in support of his party candidates for the November 28 polls in Madhya Pradesh, where campaigning has reached its crescendo, he said key laws targeted at disadvantaged sections of the society will be implemented in letter and spirit.
Gandhi said the BJP, in power in Madhya Pradesh since 2003, is only working for a few rich people. He said the land acquired from tribals, farmers and the poor for industrialists during the 15-year BJP rule in Madhya Pradesh will be returned to them by his party when it forms a government after the polls.
Addressing a public rally in Barghat, Seoni district, he said, "After coming to power the Narendra Modi government attacked three laws - tribal rights, land acquisition and PESA (Provisions of the Panchayats - Extension to Scheduled Areas - Act), but we did not allow it to happen." "We will protect your land after coming to power. Implement these acts in letter and spirit. We will give your land back to you...this is your right, we will make it happen and get the land returned to you," he said.
Gandhi said Modi had asked his party's chief ministers in Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan, Gujarat to stop the implementation of land acquisition law (enacted under the UPA), which allows acquisition only after the consent of landowner and that too after paying four-times the land's cost. Instead, Modi told his party's chief ministers to "snatch" the land of the poor and hand it over to industrialists, he alleged. Modi had said he did not want to become the country's prime minister, but its 'chowkidar' (watchman), Gandhi said. "It was thought that he would become chowkidar of farmers, labourers, youths, mothers, sisters and weaker sections. But, he became a chowkidar of (industrialist) Anil Ambani," he alleged.
Gandhi continued, "Chowkidar remained silent when Nirav Modi, Vijay Mallya, Mehul Choksi (all accused of committing financial frauds) escaped from the country after usurping thousands of crores." The Congress chief said money is being put in the pockets of 15-20 select industrialists. Addressing a public meeting in tribal-dominated Mandla district, Gandhi termed demonetisation as "the biggest scam" in the history of the country and reiterated that the note-ban exercise was undertaken to benefit a few industrialists. "Have you seen any big person like Ambani and others in the queue after demonetisation," he asked.
Gandhi attacked Modi over notes ban at another rally in Sagar district and accused him of "robbing the poor of their hard-earned money and given it away to a few rich". Gandhi said Modi no longer talks about being a "chowkidar (watchman) of the country and of tackling corruption. Gandhi claimed that Modi "cancelled the Rafale deal of 126 fighter aircraft with Dassault Aviation and HAL at a price of Rs 526 crore per plane" without informing the Indian Air Force and the then defence minister Manohar Parrikar.
"The then French president Francois Hollande has said the Indian government had asked for Anil Ambani to be taken on board for the deal," the Congress chief alleged. "Modi gave Rs 30,000 crore to Anil Ambani in this deal. This is the chowkidari he has done," Gandhi alleged. Both the government and Ambani-led Reliance Group have vehemently charges of favouritism and any irregularities in the Rs 58,000-crore Rafale deal.
After the note ban, Modi made honest and hardworking citizens stand in queues outside banks, Gandhi said. "These days, the prime minister's speeches don't have any mention of (eradicating) corruption, a tall promise that he had made before coming to power," Gandhi claimed.
Madhya Pradesh will have a single phase polling for its 230 assembly seats on November 28 and the counting of votes will take place on December 11. The BJP is seeking a straight fourth term, while the Congress is hoping to return to power in the state after 15 years.