Rahul on 'padyatra': Bad days for poor under Modi govt

  • Ejaz Kaiser, Hindustan Times, Dabhra, Chhattisgarh
  • Updated: Jun 16, 2015 21:40 IST

Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi upped the ante against the government over the contentious land bill on Tuesday, saying "bad days" had befallen the poor under the Modi regime's development model.

Continuing his blistering attack on the Narendra Modi-led government since his return from a political sabbatical, Gandhi told a gathering of farmers and tribal people in Chhattisgarh that “acchhe din” (good days) and “vikas” (development) were meant only for Modi and his crony capitalists.

“I met tribals and poor farmers in Chhattisgarh but couldn’t find a single person whose lands were taken away and they stand to benefit from Modi’s model of development,” Gandhi said in Dabhra on the second day of his visit to the state.

Since his return from the sabbatical on April 16, Gandhi has been unsparing in his attacks on Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his government over issues concerning farmers, landless labourers, netizens, middle-class home buyers, fishermen, ex-servicemen, Dalits and sanitation workers as part of a grand strategy to provide a new lease of life to the Congress by reaching out to a wider support base.

Responding to Prime Minister Modi's criticism of the UPA’s job guarantee scheme, MNREGA, the Amethi MP said, "If the PM gives up his suit-boot worth Rs 15 lakh and visits your villages, he will come to know the benefits that farmers and labourers get from the MNREGA scheme.”

He then took a jibe, saying Modi would prefer going to the US or Australia over the villages of Chhattisgarh. “Modi will visit you before the next election to again make speeches on acchhe din and seek your support,” Gandhi said.

On the government's plans to start bullet trains in the country, the Congress vice-president said only those wearing a suit and tie would travel on the high-speed trains. “In such bullet trains there will be no entry for farmers, tribals, labourers and the poor. This is how the Modi government works.”

Accompanied by party leaders, workers and local villagers, Gandhi undertook a 7km kisan bachao padyatra (save the farmers foot march) from Saradih village in Janjgir-Champa district. Defying SPG (special protection group) security restrictions, Gandhi mingled freely with people and heard their grievances.

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