Country's assets being given to corporates, claims Priyanka Gandhi; bats for caste census

Country's assets being given to corporates, claims Priyanka Gandhi; bats for caste census

Balod/Kurud (Chhattisgarh), Nov 7 (PTI) Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi-Vadra on Tuesday hit out at the Bharatiya Janata Party-led government at the Centre, claiming it has handed over valuable assets of the country to big industrialists.

Addressing an election rally in Balod district of Chhattisgarh, where second phase of polling will take place on November 17, she said a nationwide caste census will help in giving equal representation to every section of society and draft policies for their welfare.

The Congress leader alleged violence, misrule and growing poverty defined the erstwhile BJP government in Chhattisgarh (2003-2018) when Raman Singh served as chief minister.

However, things changed for good when the Congress came to power in the state in 2018, she said.

'The Congress government in Chhattisgarh worked for public welfare for five years, but what did the central government (led by BJP) do? Two aircraft each worth Rs 8,000 crore were procured for Modi ji (Prime Minister Narendra Modi). A new Parliament building was built spending Rs 20,000 crore.

'When this was announced, I was in Uttar Pradesh and sugarcane farmers there were on the streets seeking their dues running into Rs 15,000 crore. Modi ji has money for Parliament building and aircraft but not for farmers,' Gandhi-Vadra alleged.

She pitched for a nationwide caste census to give proper representation to all sections of society and frame welfare policies for them.

'Modiji says he comes from an OBC community but he rejects our demand for a (caste) count. BJP leaders have become frustrated with our demand,' the AICC general secretary claimed.

Targeting the Centre, she said, 'They had promised crores of jobs to youths and to double the income of farmers, but didn't fulfil these promises. Farmers are crying. They (the Centre) has destroyed institutions where youths used to get jobs. They destroyed small businesses which were the growth engine of the country by demonetisation and hasty GST rollout.' Gandhi-Vadra pointed out that they (the BJP) often ask the Congress what it had achieved in 70 years, but do not say what good they have done while being in power.

'They (Centre) have either destroyed the good things (done in the last 70 years) or handed over assets of the country to big industrialists,' she said.

Addressing another rally in the Kurud assembly constituency in Dhamtari district, the Congress's star campaigner accused the BJP of snatching assets of the poor, middle class people, farmers and labourers wherever it is in power.

“They (the Centre) have been selling the country's assets to big industrialists at throwaway prices. Railway, ports, airports...which were in your (people) hands earlier, today it is whose hands (to which people replied Adani)? Who is this Adani? Is he a poor farmer or labourer? What does he make? There were big industrialists like Tata and Birla and today also they operate and you know what they manufacture... tell me what Adani and Ambani ji make? 'Can anyone tell how many labourers work (in their facilities) and how many jobs they give to people. You can't tell anything,” she said.

The Congress leader asked the gathering to pressure the government to write off loans of farmers and not of industrialists.

'Tell them to stop waiving loans of industrialists and write off loans of farmers and give pension to all. Do they have courage? They don't have courage. Because they are not running the government... it is Adani who is running the government (at Centre). Wherever the BJP is in power, assets of the poor, middle class, labourers and farmers are being snatched and handed over to industrialists,” she alleged.

Gandhi-Vadra asserted the Congress ideology is deeply rooted in India's freedom struggle and the party believes people are the supreme authority in the country.

“The foundation of our ideology is embedded in the freedom struggle in which not only political leaders but also your grandfathers and grandmothers participated. Their ideology was based on truth. There should be truth in social and political life. There should be a place for truth in the country,' she maintained.

Gandhi-Vadra remarked that no political leader is above the people of the country.

'If anyone makes people fight among themselves on the basis of caste or religion, then it is against our ideology...our ideology says people are supreme in the country. No leader can be above people. No leader can become the centre of power. We believe power, strength and assets of the country should be in the hands of people,” she said.

Balod and Kurud are among the 70 constituencies that will vote on November 17 in the second and final phase of elections to the 90-member state assembly. Polling in 20 assembly segments was held in the first phase on Tuesday. PTI TKP NSK RSY

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