Lathi, Gujarat: Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi on Thursday tried to woo farmers during his campaign for Gujarat elections by promising them farm loan waivers if his party forms the government in the state.
Calling Gujarat chief minister Vijay Rupani a “rubber stamp", he alleged that Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Amit Shah was remote-controlling the government in the western state. “(Prime Minister Narendra) Modiji waived loans worth Rs1.25 trillion of his 5-10 industrialist friends, but Modiji and (finance minister Arun) Jaitleyji say that it is not their policy to waive loans of farmers when they ask for it," Gandhi claimed.
He was campaigning in Lathi in the Patidar-dominated Amreli district, on the second day of his two-day tour of Gujarat. “Modiji talked for 22 years about farmers, but you have not got anything, your land has been taken away, your water is diverted to industrialists, and you do not get crop insurance," he said at the election meeting. “We make this promise to you that we will frame a policy within 10 days of forming government in Gujarat to waive your loans," he said.
Gandhi said for the first time he has seen that all sections of the society in the state were “protesting", whether it was the Patidars, Dalits, anganwadi workers or farmers. “Only 5-10 persons are not protesting. They fly in chartered planes and are Modiji’s friends," he said, alleging that “some of them get Rs33,000 crore (loan) to make Nano car".
“If you ask questions, whether you are Patidar, farmer, Dalit, they will fire at you, beat you up, and will beat up women. But if 5-10 people will ask for your land, electricity, water, Modiji will immediately sign for them," he said. “Earlier Modiji used to do so. Now Amit Shah does the same. I have not taken the name of Rupaniji because he runs on remote control. Shahji can change the channel whenever he likes," Gandhi said attacking the BJP leadership.
He said the previous United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government allocated Rs35,000 crore in Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Gurantee Act (MGNREGA) and waived loans worth Rs70,000 crore of farmers of the entire country.
“The amount of money that I put in MGNREGA was given by Narendra Modiji to Tata Nano car factory. You lost your land, it was snatched from you, and given to Nano factory," he said.
Breaking its silence over Gandhi’s charge that the BJP-led Gujarat government extended undue favours of Rs33,000 crore to it for its car manufacturing facility at Sanand, Tata Motors said it got Rs584.8 crore as loan, and not grant.
The investor-friendly environment created by the Gujarat government encouraged Tata Motors to set up its manufacturing plant in Sanand, with a long-term vision to make it one of the leading automotive hubs, further enabling the state to contribute to the prosperity and growth of India, the company said in a statement.
At the election rally, Gandhi said, “You will not get Narmada water when you ask for it, but Modiji’s friends will get it immediately. They get 14 hours power supply, while you get it for a few hours." He also said that the farmers were not getting the minimum support price for their produce inspite of the “promise" by Modi to provide them a high minimum support price.