With a number of jute mills closing down in West Bengal leaving thousands of people jobless, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi met mill workers on Saturday and assured them he would raise their issue in Parliament.
He was accompanied by state Congress president Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, and Rajya Sabha member Pradip Bhattacharya among others.
“I am with you all whether you are a jute mill worker, a farmer or belong to the weaker section of the society. Wherever you will see weak people you will find Rahul Gandhi standing beside them,” he told the workers. “First the Left Front put the brakes on Bengal. You thought that if the Trinamool Congress comes (to power), it will press the accelerator. But the moment they came to power, they applied the brakes more forcefully."
“Unless the Congress comes to power here, the vehicle will not move forward. This is our fight, your fight and let us fight together and bring Congress to power in Bengal,” he added.
He also took a jibe at the Centre while talking to media persons. “It is not just about jute mill workers. Promises have been made and broken. I had come here to talk to jute mill workers. I will raise the issue in parliament,” said Gandhi.
Reacting to his remarks, BJP spokesperson Meenakshi Lekhi said, “He is a free bird. He is free to go on vacation wherever he wants. I mean what’s the news in it?”
The workers he interacted with said they were happy with his visit. “We were happy that a leader of his stature is concerned about the plight of the jute industry. But it was beyond our imagination that he would come to see us in our quarters,” said Ashok Hela, another worker whose home Gandhi’s visited.
But some others voiced concern. “We do not know whether he will be able to solve the crisis in the jute industry. But we are thankful that he has taken the trouble of visiting us and giving us a patient hearing,” Kripa Shankar Ram, a mill worker told HT.