Launching the UPA’s campaign for Lok Sabha elections in Tamil Nadu, Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday slammed Prime Minister Narendra Modi for splitting India into two — one belonging to jet-setters and the other where youth have no jobs, farmers have no future and people suffer severe pain. He also promised 33 per cent reservation in government jobs for women and reforms in the goods and services tax (GST) if the party-led UPA wins the upcoming Lok Sabha polls.
During his day-long events in the state, including a rally at Nagercoil, the first after inking a pact with the DMK, and interaction with students of Stella Maris College for Women in Chennai, Mr Gandhi raised the issues of unemployment, corruption, joblessness, farmers’ plight and the BJP’s attack on institutions and Tamil culture.
He also said economic growth is directly related to the mood of the nation and one cannot expect it to happen in a negative and fearful atmosphere.
The Congress president accused Mr Modi of splitting the country into two nations — one belonging to the super rich flying around in their aircraft and making crores of rupees “for doing nothing” and the “other India wherein youth have no jobs, farmers no future, where people are in severe pain”.
Invoking Tamil pride, Mr Gandhi accused Mr Modi of remote controlling the AIADMK government, failing to bring the promised development to the state and the rest of India, and trying to destroy Tamil culture by imposing the RSS brand of polity.
Taking on the BJP over corruption, Mr Gandhi asserted that law must not be applied selectively and that if his brother-in-law Robert Vadra can be probed for any alleged irregularities so can be the Prime Minister for his alleged role in the Rafale jet deal. Mr Vadra is being probed in connection with a money laundering case related to purchase of assets abroad and a land case in Rajasthan’s Bikaner district.
Mr Gandhi said that Mr Modi had claimed he wanted to be “chowkidar and not Prime Minister”. “But asfter saying that, the chowkidar gave `30,000 crore to Ambani,” he alleged. The Prime Minister’s “entire foundation is built on lies,” he said and quoted Tamil saint poet Tiruvalluvar, Terming Mr Modi’s ambitious programmes like the “Make in India”, as “flop shows,” the Congress chief sought to woo Tamil voters by announcing that after UPA’s victory the “Made in China” labels on all products — mobile phones, shirts and so on — will then be replaced by “Made in Tamil Nadu”.
This would generate millions of jobs for the youth who are currently jobless as the UPA government would make available ample bank credit to young entrepreneurs, he said.
Mr Modi flayed Mr Modi for “making false statements” on growth and dared him to explain to the people. “How come the Prime Minister never does any press conference?” he asked in Chennai.
Observing there were not many women in leadership positions, Mr Gandhi said if his party comes to power it will reserve 33 per cent of all government jobs at the national level for women.
“One of the things that we have decided that in 2019 we are going to pass the women’s reservation bill in Lok Sabha, Vidhan Sabhas and we are also going to reserve 33 per cent of all government jobs at the national level for women,” he said.
Candidates from major political parties including the BJP and the Congress in Tamil Nadu will be contesting for 39 constituencies on April 18.