Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi Monday accused the Narendra Modi government of going against the interests of fishermen in coastal states, saying a ban by the 'suit-boot ki sarkar' was not allowing them to do fishing but foreign trawlers were allowed to do, a charge denied by the government.
Demanding that the government withdraws this ban and lets fishermen do fishing, he accused the Modi government of harming interests of the weak and all those who earn their livelihood in the country.
Union shipping minister Nitin Gadkari, however, denied the allegation, saying there was no ban on fishing and no foreign trawlers were allowed by the government.
Highlighting the issue, Rahul said, while government has extended the ban on fishing, it has allowed foreign trawlers to come in at the expense of Indian fishermen which is affecting them.
"There is a very big issue in the coastal states. As usual, our government is going against the interests of farmers, fishermen, labourers. Now they have extended the fishing ban and they are allowing foreign trawlers to come in at the expense of our fishermen."
"This is affecting fishermen in all the coastal states. The government should withdraw this ban and let our fishermen do their work," he told reporters outside Parliament.
"The 'suit-boot ki sarkar' is not only harming farmers, it is harming every single person who is weak in this country. Every single person who works for his livelihood - fishermen, farmers, labourers, they are all being damaged by this government," he said.
Rahul also said that earlier the Modi government was against farmers and labourers and now they are after fishermen.
"They are extracting money from the weak...and are trying to oppress them," the Congress leader said.
When asked about the allegation of ban on fishing, Gadkari told reporters, "The allegation is wrong. The government has taken no such decision (to ban fishing). No foreign trawlers have come in. There is no such incident and no complaint has come before the ministry."
Rahul had opposed NDA government's Land Acquisition Bill saying it would hurt the interest of farmers and farm labourers.