Rahul, Sonia tear into ‘anti-farmer’ ModiCongress leader Deepender Singh Hooda (L) presents a plough to party V-P Rahul Gandhi as party chief Sonia Gandhi (2R) and former PM Dr Manmohan Singh (R) look on in New Delhi. Manas Ranjan Bhui

Rahul, Sonia tear into ‘anti-farmer’ Modi

Politics right, left & Centre: On Super Sunday, Cong attacks govt on land Bill; BJP hits back; change of guard in CPM20 Apr 2015 | 1:39 AM

New Delhi: Down and out after successive electoral losses since May last, the Congress today rose to its revival with party vice president Rahul Gandhi and party president Sonia Gandhi tearing into Prime Minister Narendra Modi for pushing what they called his “pro-industry” and “anti-farmer” policies.

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Aditi Tandon

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, April 19

Down and out after successive electoral losses since May last, the Congress today rose to its revival with party vice president Rahul Gandhi and party president Sonia Gandhi tearing into Prime Minister Narendra Modi for pushing what they called his “pro-industry” and “anti-farmer” policies.

The two were addressing a gathering of over one lakh farmers at the party’s Kisan Khet Mazdoor Rally here to protest the Centre’s land ordinance. Heavy visitation from across India — Haryana, Punjab, Rajasthan, UP, Telangana and NE — and signaled a resurrection of sorts for poll-battered Congress.

As remarkable energy gripped the Ramlila ground, Rahul and Sonia seized the moment to declare war on the controversial land ordinance. Rahul, in his maiden speech post a long political break, aggressively attacked Modi accusing him of weakening the land law to pay back corporates who had loaned him money to win Lok Sabha elections.

Sonia cited anti-farmer stance of the BJP to say “enough is enough”. She also powered her 15-minute address with political punches before signing off in style with Modi’s trademark slogan: “Jai Hind”. Earlier, Sonia delivered a strong anti-land ordinance message to the BJP giving a clarion call of struggle to the farmers.

“Aapse hame nai urja mili hai…hum satta se bahar bhale hi hon par aapki ladai ladenge…Kisan ki awaaz naa dabi hai…naa dabegi (We have today found a new energy from you and will fight your battles…Farmers’ voices will not be muzzled),” she said.

Rahul’s was a sharper attack as he took on Modi throughout his 20-minute speech — first slamming him for describing India as a “pile of crap” during the recent foreign visits.

“I was hurt when Modi said he was clearing the mess left behind from 50 years. He can’t see your sweat and tears. These words don’t behove of a PM,” Rahul said striking an emotional connect with the farmers whom he described as India’s foundation. He then recalled UPA’s 2013 land Bill asking why BJP leaders who happily passed the law then had since retracted.

“I’ll tell you why…How did Modi win elections? He took loans from corporates and now wants to pay back using your land. That’s why he has diluted the land Bill. He wants to replicate the Gujarat model so he can acquire land easily to oblige industrialists,” Rahul said as Congress workers applauded. The Gandhi scion’s final jolt for Modi came when he mocked the so-called Modi model as “hollow inside-sparkling outside”.

“The Modi model is all about weakening the foundations and embellishing the façade; then marketing it to the world as the finest … Modi’s ‘Make in India’ won’t succeed at farmers’ cost. We want growth but also jobs for your children,” Rahul said telling farmers of his Australian visit where he saw owners of the finest diamond mine doing menial jobs as warehouse workers or computer operators once their land was acquired.

“Your land is more precious than gold. We will fight to secure it and win,” Rahul said recalling his anti land acquisition campaigns in Niyamgiri, Vidharbha, Bhatta Parsaul and Bundelkhand and signaling an India-wide travel to rally against the ordinance.

Throughout the event today, crowds responded enthusiastically to Congress leaders’ anti-government jibes especially when Sonia Gandhi was centre stage. She took the farmers by storm with her catchy anti-BJP one-liners in chaste Hindi.

Some of these were — “BJP sarkar aapke zakhm par namak chidakne ka kaam kar rahi hain” (BJP is rubbing salt on your wounds); Inki kathni aur karni mein farak hai (they say something and do something else); “Inki berukhi to dekhiye…kisaan atmahatya kar raha hai aur yeh nam-matra madad de rahe hai” (look at their apathy – farmers are dying and they are offering lip service); “Kya inhone zameen adhigrahan adhadesh laane se pehle aapse puchha? Nahi, bilkul nahi…” (Did they ask you before bringing the land ordinance; No, never).

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