Former MP Nana Patole, Wadettiwar, State Congress chief Ashok Chavan, Manikrao Thakre, Congress general secretary Ashok Gehlot and Mohan Prakash were present on the occasion. (Express photo by Prashant Nadkar)
Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday accused the Narendra Modi government of helping the rich run away with crores of rupees and leaving the poor in the lurch. Addressing a village chaupal at Nanded village in Chandrapur district of Vidarbha, Gandhi accused Prime Minister Modi of giving away Rs 35,000 crore to diamond trader Nirav Modi, which he said was equal to the amount spent by the UPA, led by the Congress, to provide employment to crores of people.
Rahul was addressing a sizeable crowd gathered for the meeting held on the occasion of his visit to the family of Dalit rice innovator late Dadaji Khobragade, who died on June 3 after prolonged illness at the age of 79.
Dadaji was awarded for developing eight varieties of rice, the most famous and popular among them the HMT.
He was a winner of National Innovation Foundation Award and Krushi Bhushan Puraskar of the Maharashtra government.
“Modiji has given away Rs 2.5 lakh crore to 15 top rich people in the country. We gave Rs 70,000 crore to country’s farmers by loan waiver in 2008. Against these Rs 2.5 lakh crore, how many jobs were created by this government,” Gandhi asked, in reply to a question on unemployment.
He said, “If they would have given Rs 5 crore to Dadaji, who had won 108 awards for his great work, he would have created jobs for 5,000 people.”
He added: “There are many such talented people around. If they are provided with funds, they would be able to create several companies, creating huge employment.”
Gandhi followed it up by promising to set up one processing unit in each district of the country. “It will facilitate direct sale of farmers’ produce and these units will provide jobs to local youths too,” he said replying to question as to what he will do if Congress came to power.
He raised the issue of rising fuel prices. “Money is being pulled out of poor people’s pockets and being paid to the rich. I will not assure you that I will put Rs 15 lakh in your pockets. But we will definitely put money into farmers’ pockets,” he added.
Referring to Gandhi’s loan waiver promise, a woman, Avisha Rokde, asked why not give good price to farmers so that the question of loan waiver doesn’t arise. Gandhi said, “If farmers are in distress, waiver is the immediate step that needs to be taken. It gives relief to farmers.”
Gandhi earlier spent five minutes with the family of Dadaji – son Mitrajit, daughter-in-law Indira and grandsons Manish, Vijay and Deepak.
“We felt both happy and sad. Happy because he came to meet us and sad because Dadaji wasn’t with us anymore,” Deepak said. “Rahul Gandhi took a round of our house and also asked us how he did his research. He said he would do his best to help the family,” Deepak told The Indian Express.
Congress MLA Vijay Wadettiwar gave a cheque for Rs 2.5 lakh on behalf of State Congress to Mitrajit. Leader of the Opposition Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil also promised to give Rs 5 lakh to the family. Former Chandrapur MP Naresh Pugalia gave a cheque for Rs 1 lakh.
Former MP Nana Patole, Wadettiwar, State Congress chief Ashok Chavan, Manikrao Thakre, Congress general secretary Ashok Gehlot and Mohan Prakash were present on the occasion.