Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, vice-president Rahul Gandhi and former prime minister Manmohan Singh came out all guns blazing against the Modi government at a Kisan Samman rally on Sunday, organised by the party to build up on its land bill “victory” over the government.
At the rally, held at Ramlila Maidan, Rahul dubbed Make in India — Modi’s ambitious push for turning the country into a manufacturing hub — as “take in India” where, he said, only the PM’s friends would benefit.
“There is no place for farmers and labourers in Modi’s Make in India. He says there can be no Make in India without taking away your land. It is not Make in India but actually take in India. Farmers will not get anything. Only his (Modi’s) friends will benefit,” he said.
“Land is like a mother for farmers. Some farmers told me the Modi government was trying to take away their mothers from them,” he added, delivering the longest speech among the three.
An aggressive Sonia reacted sharply to Modi’s charge that the Congress was anti-development and said the party would take the land bill fight beyond Delhi as the government was trying to change land acquisition rules through state assemblies after failing to get its way in Parliament.
“I feel like laughing but also feel pity. If development means benefiting a few persons, we will definitely act as a roadblock to such development.”
Hitting back, Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said the previous UPA government was better acquainted with “take in India”.
“It happened in 2G (spectrum allocation scam), Commonwealth games, coal... Therefore, you (Congress) remember take in India,” Prasad said.
The Gandhis asked farmers to remain cautious and not trust Modi’s recent statement that the government will not change UPA’s land law. “We know what Modiji is. He does not say what he thinks. That is why on one hand, he said he will not change the Congress law and on the other hand asked his chief ministers to bring them (the changes),” Rahul said.
Addressing the farmers as bhagyavidhata (destiny makers), Sonia said Modi had no time for them and was interested only in “few industrialist friends”.
“He has also the interest, time and money for foreign trips,” she said. The Congress chief also asked the farmers to be careful. “Otherwise your struggle will go in vain and you will driven away from your land.”
Manmohan Singh accused the Modi government of stalling social schemes of the UPA government. “The present government is trying to dilute the rural job scheme and the food security programme which we brought,” he said.