Sounding the bugle for the upcoming Madhya Pradesh Assembly elections, Congress president Rahul Gandhi addressed farmers at a rally in Mandsaur on Wednesday, 6 June, and promised a loan waiver within 10 days if his party comes to power.
The day Congress comes to power in Madhya Pradesh, we promise that we will waive off loans within 10 days. You will get justice within days of the Congress government coming to power. It won’t even take the eleventh day.Rahul Gandhi in Mandsaur
He was addressing a rally at Pipliya Mandi in Mandsaur district where six farmers were killed in police firing during an agitation on 6 June last year. During his speech, Gandhi also assured strict action against those responsible for the death of these farmers within 10 days if the Congress comes to power in the state.
In the entire county, farmers are demanding their rights, yelling and committing suicides, but the Modi government and BJP government in the states have little space for them.Rahul Gandhi
Sharing his “dream” for Mandsaur, Gandhi added:
My dream is that when we come here after 5-7 years and look at our phones, we find “Made in Mandsaur” written on it. Narendra Modi and Shivraj Singh Chouhan won’t be able to do this work. Kamal Nath and [Jyotiraditya] Scindia can do this.Rahul Gandhi
Notably, the rally was attended by top Congress leaders from Madhya Pradesh, including PCC chief Kamal Nath, campaign committee chief Jyotiraditya Scindia and other state leaders.
‘PM Modi Has Failed the Farmers and Youth’
The Congress president slammed the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government at the Centre and state, alleging that the party only supported “big businessmen but not farmers.”
He said the NDA government at the centre has waived Rs 2.5 lakh crore of 15 industrialists, but not even one rupee has been waived for the farmers by the Union Government or the BJP-led state governments, reported PTI.
Pointing out that the number of farmer suicides in MP has increased exponentially, Gandhi stressed that the prime focus of the Congress government will be the welfare of farmers and their families. To drive his point home, he added that the governments in Punjab and Karnataka, where the Congress is in power, have already waived farmers’ loan.
Gandhi also recalled that the previous UPA government had waived farmers' loan to the tune of Rs 70,000 crore, "which is a record".
He also accused PM Narendra Modi of failing to keep the promise of 2 crore jobs to the youth of the country. Taking a jibe at Modi's famous Rs 15 lakh promise, he asked the people whether they had got a single penny in their account.
The youth of the country trusted Narendra Modi, but he has betrayed them. He has failed the farmers of our country. Forget Rs 15 lakh, not even Rs 5 was given to anyone.Rahul Gandhi
Rahul Meets Families of Victims
The Congress president met the families of farmers who were killed in police firing during the protests last year.
Farmers had held statewide protests in Madhya Pradesh in 2017 demanding better prices for their crops. The agitation was marred by violence in many parts in the state, especially in Mandsaur, the epicentre of the protests.
Families Threatened to Not Meet Rahul: MP Cong
Earlier in the day, the Congress in Madhya Pradesh posted a tweet alleging that government officials were making calls to the families of victims of the farmers’ stir in Mandsaur, threatening them to avoid attending the Congress party president’s rally later in the day.
The family of one Abhishek Patidar, who died during the protests last year, also alleged that they were getting calls from the sub-divisional magistrate (SDM), reportedly saying:
The SDM called our other son and asked who, among us, will meet Rahul Gandhi. When my son told him that we are going, the SDM said ask us to not meet Rahul Gandhi.Parents of one of the victims
However, BJP MLA from Mandsaur Yashpal Singh Sisodia refuted Congress’ claims, accusing them of spreading rumours, reported The Times of India.
“Nearest relatives of the victims have received compensation and jobs. They are not interested to go to Rahul's rally. Congress is approaching distant relatives, asking them to attend the function," said the BJP MLA to the newspaper.
Six people – Kanhaiya Lal Patidar, Satyanarayan Dhangar, Abhishek Patidar, Bablu, Ghanshyam Dhakad and Chintaman Patidar – were killed in the police firing at Pipliya Mandi during the agitation on 6 June 2017.
Congress Out of Power in MP for 15 Years
The Congress, which has been in political wilderness for the past 15 years, is seeking to wrest power from the BJP in Madhya Pradesh, which is slated to go to polls later this year.
Senior Congress leader Mohan Parkash, on Wednesday, dubbed the BJP and the Modi government as "anti-farmer", saying it had failed to provide remunerative prices to farmers.
Farmers in Madhya Pradesh launched a 10-day “Gaon Bandh” (village shutdown) agitation from 1 June for various demands including better remunerative prices for agriculture produce and a complete loan waiver.
Rashtriya Kisan Mazdoor Mahasangh President Shivkumar Sharma 'Kakkaji' had said that BJP MP Shatrughan Sinha, former Union Finance Minister Yashwant Sinha, and former VHP leader Praveen Togadia are likely to join the farmers' stir in Mandsaur on 8 June.
(With inputs from PTI, ANI andThe Times of India)