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Vijayan slams Rahul over tractor rally, says Cong's policies responsible for farm sector crisis

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Thiruvananthapuram, Feb 25: Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Thursday mounted a scathing attack on the Congress and its leader Rahul Gandhi, holding the party's neo-liberal policies in the 1990s responsible for the crisis in the farm sector and demanding an apology from him.

 Pinarayi Vijayan

He sought to make light of Gandhi's tractor rally in his Wayanad Lok Sabha constituency in the state and his sea trip as part of outreach programme for fishermen, sarcastically saying they were grateful for his interest towards Kerala.

Vijayan also hit back at Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, alleging the northern state governed by him was number 1 in corruption in the country and in the grip of an anarchy kind of situation.

The Congress government which introduced neo-liberal policies during its rule from 1991 was responsible for the crisis in the farm sector, he told reporters here.

'The hands of the Congress are soaked in the blood of lakhs of farmers. Many families were orphaned due to the Congress governments' anti-farmer policies. Rahul Gandhi should tender unconditional apology for the wrongdoings of the Congress governments', he said.

Vijayan questioned the Congress MP for organising a tractor rally in Wayanad instead of participating in the farmers' agitation on the borders of Delhi seeking to repeal the three contentious central farm laws Quoting a media report, the chief minister said at least 70 farmers had died in the venues of their protest outside Delhi, but Gandhi declared his support to the ryots after visiting Kerala.

Opposition leaders blasts Pinarayi Vijayan on gold smuggling caseOpposition leaders blasts Pinarayi Vijayan on gold smuggling case

'Rahul Gandhi visited Kerala and made unusual interferences here. He drove a tractor in support of agitating farmers and swam in the sea for the fishermen. We are grateful for him for his interest towards Kerala', he said.

The senior CPI(M) leader slammed Gandhi for 'speaking in the same tone' of Adityanath against his government.

During his visit to Kerala this week to launch the party's assembly election campaign, the former Congress president had lashed out at the LDF government over various issues, including gold smuggling through diplomatic channel.

On a two-day visit that ended on Wednesday, Gandhi visited Wayanad, took out a tractor rally and interacted with fishermen in Kollam district besides sailing with a group of them and attacked both the LDF and the BJP over various issues, including fuel prices and farm laws.

Responding to Adityanath's allegation that the LDF government was a symbol of corruption, Vijayan claimed a national-level survey conducted in 2019 had revealed that Kerala 'has the lowest' incidence of graft.

'It was BJP MLA Shyam Prasad who had said UP ranked top in the corruption list in the country. He made such remarks in July last year. Besides, Uttar Pradesh Power Minister Shrikant Sharma said last month that he has found cases of gross corruption in his department,' he said.

The CPI(M) politburo member also mocked at Adityanath for his allegation that the Kerala youth were forced to migrate to other places in search of jobs, saying 15 per cent of migrant workers in the state were from Uttar Pradesh.

These youth will be able to tell the kind of facilities they enjoy in Kerala, he added.

'The highly educated youths of Kerala are going to various parts of the world as they are competent enough.

Fifteen per cent of Kerala's guest workers are from Uttar Pradesh,' Vijayan said.

He sought to know from Adityanath why they left their state and reached Kerala in search of jobs.

Vijayan said not a single communal clash was reported in his state in the last five years whereas the situation in Uttar Pradesh was different.

Media reports say the UP witnessed many incidents of communal clashes and incidents of hate related violence, the Kerala Chief Minister said and alleged that an anarchy kind of situation was prevailing in Adityanath-ruled state with crimes against women and others.

Noting that Kerala topped Niti Aayogs Sustainable Development Goals index,the chief minister said the state was not following Uttar Pradesh 'model' for development.

Yogi made the allegations while inaugurating the state- wide 'Vijay Yatra' led by BJP Kerala president K Surendran in Kasargod on February 21 in the run up to the assembly elections, expected to be held in April-May.

Vijayan, however, did not respond to Adityanath's allegations of 'love jihad', a term used by right wing activists to refer to an alleged campaign of Muslims forcing Hindu girls to convert in the guise of love.

The UP chief minister had slammed successive LDF and UDF governments for not enacting any legislation to check 'love jihad' despite 'strong court observation'.

He had accused the Vijayan government of working only for the 'vikas' of CPI(M) cadre and described both the LDF and UDF as symbols of corruption.

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