Tribune News Service
Patiala, October 6
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday alleged that the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government was "killing" all institutions in the country to ensure his image across the world was "strong".
“BJP is killing all small businesses to ensure that his corporate friends are happy,” he said.
Gandhi was adressing the media on the third day of his 'Kheti Bachao Yatra' from Circuit House in Patiala. Gandhi, along with senior state Congress leaders, is holding a series of tractor rallies across Punjab to protest the Centre's new farm laws.
Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh announced a special session of the Punjab Assembly to discuss and oppose the three laws in the state.
“We will also take legal recourse and a session will soon be summoned,” the CM said in the presence of Gandhi.
Answering a question as to why Punjab should trust Rahul, Gandhi said that following his grandmother Indira Gandhi's defeat in the 1977 parliamentary election, he and his mother Sonia Gandhi were protected by Sikhs.
“I am indebted and thankful to them forever,” Gandhi said.
Gandhi said farmers were hit the worst and had taken to the roads to protest. The senior Congress leader alleged that the BJP had "bought" all institutions that lead to poor decisions and the Chinese intrusion.
Gandhi said the opposition was not only threatened but also arm-twisted to break thier unity.
Before his tractor rallies, Gandhi visited the Hathras victim's family on his second attempt after being dramatically stopped outside Delhi by UP police.
Gandhi said he visited the family wanted them to know that they are not alone.
"What happened in UP... I am ok if they hit me a little. BJP is already beating farmers and labourers. So if I get hit it doesn’t matter,” said Gandhi.
Gandhi said it was UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath’s prerogative to see an "international conspiracy" in the Hathras incident but he personally sees in it a major tragedy.
“Yogi Aditynath is entitled to his opinion, he can imagine what he wants, but what I saw was a lovely girl brutalised and killed, and her family threatened and subjugated,” said Rahul at a media conference here in response to a question.
Rahul said he saw a tragedy in the incident and Yogi Adityanath should also have had the decency to do so.
The Congress MP said he found it interesting that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had not uttered a word about the incident, in which a kid was raped and murdered and her whole family was under attack by the administration.
“Imagine your son or daughter being killed like this and your family being targeted for protesting and demanding justice, that is how I felt,” he said, adding that he went there not just for the Hathras victim and her family but for the sake of lakhs of Indian women who suffer, and thousands of women who are raped in the country every day.
Asked why he was not present in Parliament during voting on the Farm Bills, Rahul said he was a son too and had a son’s duty for his mother. His mother had to go for medical check-up and since his sister could not go for some family reasons, it was his responsibility to do so, he added.
“My political path would have been easy had I not been opposing the government vehemently at all things I think are wrong,” he added.
Gandhi said: "If farmers' ordinances are in farmers' interests then why Narendra Modi doesn’t face the media like I do”.
Taking a dig at the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for criticising his tractor ride on a 'gaddi’ (cushion), Gandhi quipped that the Prime Minister’s new Air India One plane, bought for more than Rs 8,000 crore, "had not just a cushion but a whole lot of luxury beds for his comfort".
“Why don’t you question them about this?” Rahul asked the media in response to a question about sitting on a 'gaddi’ on a tractor.
Rahul slammed Modi for "wasting" thousands of crores of rupees on the plane just because “his friend Donald Trump has one.”
It was strange, he said, that nobody was seeing or questioning the VVIP Boeing 777-300 ER, purchased for a whopping amount, but everyone was quick to point to the 'gaddi’ which some well-wisher had put on a tractor for him, said the Congress leader.
Gandhi said the Congress manifesto was clear in wanting to develop a farmer's market every four km.
Partap Singh Bajwa, who has been a vocal critic of the state government led by Capt Amarinder Singh, also found a place on the stage accompanied by cabinet ministers Brahm Mohindra and Vijayinder Singla.
President Ram Nath Kovind gave his assent to the Farmers' Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill; Farmers' (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill; and Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill, which were passed by the Parliament last month.
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