NEET is anti-poor, states can decide on it if I.N.D.I.A. bloc voted to power: Rahul Gandhi

'We are going to leave the decision to the state; on whether you want to do NEET or not to do NEET,' Rahul said.
Last Updated : 12 April 2024, 15:37 IST
Last Updated : 12 April 2024, 15:37 IST

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Tirunelveli (Tamil Nadu): Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Friday assured a legislation to provide apprenticeship to young people and filling 30 lakh vacant government jobs.

Addressing his first Lok Sabha election rally in Tamil Nadu, Rahul Gandhi dubbed the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test anti-poor. "I know, the people of Tamil Nadu have a big issue with NEET. We are going to leave the decision to the state; on whether you want to do NEET or not to do NEET. NEET is an anti-poor exam and we are more than happy to allow you (Tamil Nadu) to take a decision on whether or not to take the exam."

Picking from ally DMK's campaign themes, the Congress leader said when Tamil Nadu sought flood relief, it is 'refused,' by the Centre. The ruling DMK has been consistently focusing on the Rs 37,000 crore flood relief sought by Tamil Nadu alleging that the Union government did not give even a single paisa.

The Centre labels Tamil Nadu's request for flood relief as 'Pitchai,' a plea made to seek 'alms,' Gandhi alleged. DMK and Congress have been alleging that BJP leader Nirmala Sitharaman belittled flood relief as 'pitchai.' When fishermen seek assistance they get nothing from the Centre and similar is the plight of Tamil farmers, who are forced to go to Jantar Mantar in Delhi to fight for their rights, he claimed.

Outlining the features of Congress party's 2024 LS polls manifesto, he said if the I.N.D.I.A. bloc is voted to power at the Centre, 'drastic action' will be taken to provide employment opportunities to the young people.

There are 30 lakh vacant jobs in the government and these jobs will be provided to young people, he said and added that in order to benefit all the graduates and diploma holders a law--Right to Apprenticeship-- will be passed in the Parliament.

Slamming the BJP, Gandhi alleged the Saffron party MPs openly stated that 'they are going to change the Constitution' if they retained power at the Centre.

While the rest of the world earlier looked at India as a beacon of democracy; now it is of the view that India's democracy is no longer a democracy, the former Congress president alleged.

Attacking PM Modi, he said: 'The only thing Modi cares about is 'having a monopoly on finances and the communication system (seen as reference to media) of this country.'

He said the nation today faced an ideological battle. On the one side is the ideology of social justice, freedom and equality, championed by icons such as reformist leader Periyar E V Ramasamy and on the other side are the ideas of RSS and PM Narendra Modi and his government.

Gandhi alleged Modi stood for 'one nation, one leader and one language.' He alleged all India's institutions and agencies have been 'stuffed full of RSS people.'

The ED, CBI and Income Tax departments are used as 'political weapons' and election commissioners are being chosen by the Prime Minister.

The Congress party's bank accounts were frozen and two months before polls, Chief Ministers (Jharkhand's Hemanth Soren and Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal) are arrested and opposition leaders are threatened.

The whole idea of the BJP is to make sure that three or four of India's richest people benefit. The Congress leader reiterated that the MSMEs were destroyed by a 'flawed' GST and demonetisation.

Referring to the farmers protest, Gandhi assured legal guarantee to MSP. 'Modi has given huge loan waivers to the richest people in the country. We are going to give the farmers of India a farm loan waiver.'

For the poorest of women living in poverty, one woman from each of such families, will be provided Rs 1 lakh every year if the I.N.D.I.A. alliance is voted to power. 'We are going to wipe out poverty from India forever.' Fifty per cent reservation for women in government jobs and immediate implementation of reservation for women in Lok Sabha and other legislative bodies and not like PM Modi's 'after 10 years' assurance was among the Congress leader's promises.

Gandhi said he really loved visiting Tamil Nadu and loved the people of the state. He praised Tamil people, their culture, history and language as the 'biggest teacher.'

Whenever he wanted to understand India, he did that through the prism of Tamil Nadu; its history and tradition, its relationship with the rest of the world and its influence.

Hailing leaders of Tamil Nadu including Periyar, CN Annadurai, Kamaraj and M Karunanidhi as giants, he said: "You have shown the rest of the country how to walk on the path of social justice." Hence, when it was decided by the Congress party to conduct the Bharat Jodo Yatra it was launched in Tamil Nadu, he said.

"This is an ideological battle; a battle for your history, tradition, culture and way of life. I am going to stand and Congress party is going to stand with Tamil people to protect your language, culture and your history. Tamil language is no less than any other language and an attack on Tamil language is an attack on Tamil people, nothing less. There can be no India without Tamil, Bengali and other languages Indian people speak and the fight is all about guarding all the Indian languages."

Further, he said, "This election is being fought to save Indian democracy and it is being fought to protect the Indian Constitution. I am confident we are going to win this fight."

Published 12 April 2024, 15:37 IST

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