Prime Minister Modi gave away land to China to salvage his image, says Rahul Gandhi
Keeping up his tirade against Narendra Modi, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday accused the Prime Minister of being obsessed with his image for which he ignores important issues concerning India.
Addressing a press conference in Patiala on the concluding day of his Kheti Bachao Yatra in Punjab in support of the farmers protesting the recent farm laws, Gandhi said, “Modi is not interested in India’s people. He is only concerned about protecting and promoting his image. China has taken over 1,200 square kilometres of Indian territory but Modi didn’t acknowledge it as it would have dented his image.”
He said the media is also to blame for helping Modi promote his image. “Why don’t you question him at press conferences?” Gandhi asked the media.
Rejecting the suggestion that the Modi-led government is able to take unilateral decisions because of a weak Opposition, Gandhi said: “Give me a free press and other key institutions and this (Narendra Modi) government will not last long.”
“In India, that entire framework has been controlled and captured by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government, the entire architecture designed for giving voice to the people has been captured,” he said.
He claimed that the BJP government has captured “the soul of the country”, which is what the Congress is fighting against. “This fight will become more aggressive, going forward. The whole country is being thrashed. It’s not a big deal if they pushed me. I’ll take lathis, but I’ll keep fighting for the people,” he said on the police action while he was on the way to meet the Hathras gangrape victim’s family.
“The government may have captured the institutions but it can’t control farmers, youth and small traders, whose interests it is destroying. I work among these people, who are the hardest hit by Modi’s policies. I am patient, and will wait till the people of India see the truth,” he said.
“I will fight and stop them,” he declared, pointing out that if the minimum support price (MSP) goes, Punjab, Haryana, and other agricultural states such as Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan will have no future left.
Gandhi claimed that the new farm laws will destroy MSP and the public distribution system (PDS) for the poor. “The danger is real and can’t be negated just because Modi & Co are making fun of me,” he said.
‘FOOD SECURITY SYSTEM NEEDS REFORMS’
Calling the existing food security system a fortress for farmers, Gandhi said that it needed reforms, which is what the Congress manifesto had promised.
In response to a question on the BJP leadership making fun of his protests in Punjab and Haryana, he shrugged it off, saying they had done that in February too when he had first warned about Covid-19. “The truth is there for all to see. Six months on, everyone will know the truth of what he is saying on farm laws, too.”
Taking a dig at Modi’s statement in March-end that India aims to win the war against Covid-19 in 21 days, the Congress leader said, “You can see for yourself who talks more sense Modi or me. You (media) can decide who is joking.”
In reply to the BJP’s claims that the farm laws just like demonetisation and the goods and services tax (GST) were achievements of the Modi government, Rahul said: “If the farm laws are an achievement, why are farmers not celebrating, why are they not letting off firecrackers with joy?”
“If Modi was so sure that these laws were beneficial to farmers, why didn’t he face a debate in Parliament? Why did he push the laws during Covid times when farmers can’t come out on the roads? Why didn’t he hold a press conference or come and meet farmers in Punjab?” Gandhi added.
Asked why he was not present in Parliament during voting on the farm bills, he said he was a son too. His mother (Sonia Gandhi) had to go for a medical check-up and since his sister could not for family reasons, it was his responsibility to do so, he said.
‘WHY IS PM SILENT ON HATHRAS?’
Gandhi accused Modi of not speaking out after the alleged gangrape of the 19-year-old Dalit woman in Uttar Pradesh’s Hathras district in September.
He said he visited the victim’s family last week because he wanted them to know that they were not alone in seeking justice for their daughter. He said he told the woman’s family that he was not only there for them and their daughter but also for “lakhs of women in the country who face unruly behaviour every day.”