‘PM doesn’t understand…’: Rahul Gandhi responds to Modi barb on Goa liberation
Goa election: Rahul Gandhi hit back at PM Modi for his statement that Goa could have been liberated “within hours” in 1947 when India attained Independence, but it took 15 years for the state to be freed from Portuguese rule.
PANAJI: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Friday pilloried Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his statement that Goa could have been liberated “within hours” in 1947 when India attained Independence, saying the prime minister didn’t understand the history of those times and that he was attempting to distract people from real issues like environment and employment.
“Now the fact of the matter is that freedom fighters have commented on this issue. Academics have spoken about it. The sad fact is that the PM does not understand the history of those times. He does not understand in detail what was going on post-World War II. He is coming to Goa to distract people from the real issues like environment and employment,” Rahul Gandhi said at a Press conference in south Goa’s Margao. He is scheduled to address two rallies in the region.
At an election rally in Mapusa near Panaji on Thursday, PM Modi said Goa could have been liberated “within hours” in 1947 when India attained Independence, but it took 15 years for the state to be freed from Portuguese rule because the Congress did not do anything for 15 years. Other senior Bharatiya Janata Party leaders including home minister Amit Shah have levelled the same charge as well to ask the people of Goa not to vote for Congress on February 14.
Former home minister P Chidambaram, who is overseeing the Congress campaign in Goa, also rebutted the charge. “Mr Modi and Mr Shah do not know the history of the world post World War II. They do not know the history of post-Independence India, especially the nascent years 1947-1960. They do not know how deftly Jawaharlal Nehru steered India to a position where India became a champion of peace and the acknowledged leader of the Non-Aligned Movement,” Chidambaram said, according to a news agency PTI report earlier in the day.
Nehru intervened at the right time to liberate Goa and that is why not a single voice was raised against the military action, Chidambaram said. Goa, liberated from Portuguese rule on December 19, 1961, was a part of the Union Territory of Goa, Daman and Diu till May 30, 1987, when it was carved out as a separate state.
Rahul Gandhi, who is on his third visit to the state, said PM Modi’s statement was an effort to distract people.
“He (PM Modi) cannot come to you today and say to you I gave you jobs, I gave you employment, I fixed your problems, I stole your last government. He can’t say that to you. So, he has to distract you. His role is to distract. His role is to take you away from your issues and to distract you,”.
“Goa’s youth needs employment. Goa needs to rejuvenate the tourism industry. Goa wants to talk about the future. Narendra Modi knows that his government has done nothing in the last five years so he wants to distract. At the time of the 2014 assembly elections, the PM said he would give 2 crore jobs. He said that ₹15 lakh would come to your accounts. Why doesn’t he say that today? Why doesn’t he say in his speeches that he is going to give jobs?. Why doesn’t he say he is going to double the farmers’ income? Why isn’t he saying that he is going to rid the country of corruption? Why isn’t he talking about demonetisation? Because he is a total failure,” Gandhi added.
The Congress leader accused the BJP of robbing the mandate in 2017 when it stitched a coalition and formed the government though the Congress was the single largest party
Gandhi promised to start sustainable mining in the state. “We plan to restore sustainable mining. We have studied. There is no problem in restarting it. We will start it in a sustainable legal way and we will do it as soon as we come to power,” he said.
Around 300,000 people depend directly on mining for their livelihoods in the state Mining in the state stopped in 2012, and hopes that it could be revived received a further jolt with a Supreme Court ruling in 2018. Since then, multiple attempts have been made to restart mining but to no avail. Expectedly, the promise to revive mining in the state is one that is being toted out by all parties ahead of the elections.
The Congress leader also assured other welfare schemes for the state, including 30% reservation for women in government jobs. “We have proposed a ‘Nyay’ scheme of ₹6,000 a month to needy families, 30% reservation for women in government jobs. ₹500 crore for employment generation, which is very important for people and scrapping of the coal hub,” he said.
The Congress leader refused to comment on the raging controversy over ‘hijab’, saying he would not like to “get distracted” by the ongoing issue.
“I’m not going to get into a conversation that is going to distract the people of Goa. I’m here to focus on what is important for the people of Goa. My focus here is the Goa election. I’m not going to fall into your trap of getting distracted by issue A or issue B. I’m here to have a conversation with the people of Goa. This is about the future of the people of Goa. This is about employment, this is about tourism, this is about not turning Goa into a coal hub. This is about the environment,” Gandhi said.
Gandhi has previously tweeted about the issue, saying that no student should be denied education.