Traders, farmers and those working at Dadri Anaj Mandi (wholesale grain market) were taken by surprise when Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi made an unexpected visit to the area on Tuesday morning. After news of his visit spread in the area, more than 1,000 people gathered to listen to him.
Gandhi led an attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi and said that the PM’s vision of “cashless economy” has rendered poor “cashless.”
Dadri had shot into limelight in September last year when an angry mob attacked Mohhamed Ikhlaq and his son on suspicion of slaughtering a cow and storing the meat. Ikhlaq died in the incident, while his son was critically injured.
“Gandhi came all of sudden and we all were taken by surprise. As far as we can gauge, he wanted to inquire about the problems being faced by the poor, farmers, traders and small businessmen after the demonetisation announcement,” said Moolchand Prajapati, a trader at the Mandi.
“We told him that we had voted for Modi ji and support him. However, our businesses have suffered since the ‘notebandi’ (demonetisation). We are not able to pay salaries to our employees. He also discussed his thought on demonetisation and said that the PM is favouring big businessmen,” he added.
In his speech at Dadri, Rahul alleged that nearly Rs8 lakh crore loans were taken by about five to twenty big businessmen of the country. “It is because of this that banks in the country are not able to give loans to people. Narendra Modi ji is not able to recover the Rs8 lakh crore from these businessmen, as the same businessmen had done marketing for Modi ji and helped him to get the (PM’s) seat. So to run the banks, he has made you stand in queues. He wishes your money should be in the banks for a maximum time,” he said.
Rahul stayed at the Anaj Mandi for a little more than 20 minutes and addressed the gathering. Even the local police had not been informed about his visit and were equally surprised. The police officials arrived at the spot later.
“We told him that we cannot withdraw our money easily from banks and are unable to purchase fertilizers and seeds for the Rabi season,” a local farmer said.
The Gandhi scion also claimed that only 2 paisa out of Rs100 were ‘Nakli’ (counterfeit) and the poor were getting only Rs2,000 while the rich are withdrawing huge amounts behind the doors.
Gandhi’s remarks at Dadri came as the state goes to assembly polls early next year. The issue of demonetisation is being seen as a major agenda for political parties during the polls as it has affected lives of almost every citizen.