Rahul mocks Budget 'peanuts', promises farm loan waiver

Rahul mocks Budget 'peanuts', promises farm loan waiver

Congress President Rahul Gandhi, Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath, Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel and alliance leaders during 'Jan Akanksha Rally' at Gandhi Maidan in Patna on February 3, 2019. PT

Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Sunday promised to waive loans of marginal farmers if the party came to power in May 2019, as he  launched a vitriolic attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi for doling out peanuts to farmers in the interim Budget presented on February 1.

Rahul hit out at Modi for granting Rs 17 per day to a farmer, while providing benefits to the tune of several thousand crores to his friends in corporate world.

“Modi ji can help Anil Ambani with Rs 30,000 crore, Mehul Choksi with Rs 35,000 crore and Vijay Mallya with Rs 10,000 crore. But he doesn’t care two hoots for farmers. In the interim Budget, he promised farmers Rs 6,000 per year, which essentially means Rs 17 per day. If a farmer has a five-member family, each member will be entitled to Rs 3.5 per day,” Rahul said, striking an emotional chord with the audience at Patna’s historic Gandhi Maidan.

He was addressing the Jan Akanksha (public expectation) rally organised by the Congress and attended by other Mahagathbandhan leaders. 

The Congress chief had earlier promised Minimum Income Guarantee (MIG) for everyone if the Congress-led alliance came to power. “Unlike Modi ji and Amit Shah, we do not make promises which can’t be fulfilled. Apart from minimum income guarantee, we will waive loans of marginal farmers, just like we did in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh. And thirdly, the day we are voted to power, Patna University will be granted central university status,” said Rahul amid loud cheers from youth.

The central university status is likely to become a major poll issue in Bihar as Modi had turned down the plea of Chief Minister Nitish Kumar who literally begged for it with folded hands before Modi during the varsity centenary celebrations in 2017.

Flanked by the chief ministers of Madhya Pardesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh, Rahul highlighted how the UPA government had given Bihar an IIT, IIM and two central universities (one at Champaran and the other at Bodh Gaya).

“Besides, RTI, RTE (Right to Education) and MNREGA were revolutionary steps. We ensured economic empowerment of poor and downtrodden through MNREGA, while Modi, through demonetisation, replaced Rs 500 and 1,000 notes with Rs 2,000 notes. Demonetisation was one of the biggest scams,” the Congress chief was unsparing in his diatribe against Narendra Modi.

Leader of the Opposition Tejashwi Yadav, former chief minister Jitan Ram Manjhi and former JD (U) president Sharad Yadav also spoke on the occasion.