The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is spreading violence, hatred and fear in the country, Gandhi said, adding that the media, which is concentrated in the hands of few industrialists, too is spreading fear and hatred.
“In Parliament, if you raise issues like China, demonetisation, your mic is switched off,” the Congress leader claimed.
Turning off his microphone twice, Gandhi said, “We started this Bharat Jodo Yatra because the media may not be in a position to highlight us. And see what happened with us in Parliament.”
Addressing a meeting in Nanded district of central Maharashtra on the 63rd day of his Bharat Jodo Yatra, he also said that projects like Tata- Airbus military aircraft venture and Vendanta-Foxconn semiconductor plant were taken away from the state and given to Gujarat because of the Assembly elections in the neighbouring state.
“These projects will be given to two-three industrialists who are the prime minister’s friends, and the country’s wealth is accumulating in their hands. Ports, infrastructure, telecom, agriculture sectors have been given to these people,” Gandhi alleged.
Referring to his encounters with locals during the day, he said a young boy told him about the lack of practical education in the country due to which there are no job opportunities, while a little girl told him that her parents love her brother more than they love her.
“Gender discrimination is not good, and a country which doesn’t respect women, doesn’t progress. The young boy understands what the top bureaucrats in the education ministry do not,” he said.
Big industrial houses do not generate employment, the Congress leader said, adding that Public Sector Units and small businesses create jobs but these are being destroyed by the Union government.
The youth of the country want to join the Army to serve the country, but the “Modi government has given them four years to serve the country,” he said, referring to the Agnipath scheme.
“China has taken our land but the prime minister denies, then why are negotiations taking place between the two armies,” the Congress leader asked.
Earlier, while interacting with various delegations which met him in the afternoon, Gandhi alleged that demonetisation — withdrawal of the Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 denomination notes six years ago — was not only a mistake but also a part of the BJP’s strategy to keep power and money in the pockets of a few.
It unleashed an “economic tsunami” and the country is still bearing its brunt, he said.
The Goods and Services Tax was imposed on the country because the BJP wanted to finish off the MSME sector, he claimed.
This was the Congress leader’s third day in Maharashtra. His foot-march entered the state on Monday night.
On Wednesday, he and his associates walked from Shankarnagar area in Biloli to Naigaon and proceeded to Krushnoor.
On the way, Gandhi interacted with Koli community leaders who came from Mumbai and discussed issues such as encroachments and Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) violations.
He also met members of cooperative societies and a delegation of unorganized sector workers.
He also spoke about the NYAY scheme promised by the Congress before 2019 polls which guaranteed a minimum annual income of Rs 72,000 for every poor family.
Congress has always believed that co-operative system is an instrument of planned economic development and given the agriculture sector and cooperatives high priority in five-year plans, he said.
The lack of support to the cooperatives from the government was a major reason for the sector being on the verge of collapse, he said.
Gandhi and his associates walked for 24 km on Wednesday, concluding the day at Vajirgaon Phata.
The foot-march began on September 7 from Kanyakumari and will cover 3,750 km to reach Srinagar. “There is a difference between walking on the road and travelling in vehicles. If you want to listen to people, there is no use of travelling in vehicles,” the Congress leader said.
Former Union minister Shivraj Patil walked with Rahul Gandhi for some time during the day. Former MPs Hussain Dalwai and Sanjay Nirupam also joined Gandhi during the Yatra.
(With PTI inputs)
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