Ranchi | Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Saturday took a swipe at Prime Minister Narendra Modi saying while the Indian Air Force (IAF) was defending the country, Modi stole Rs 30,000 crore from the force and put it in businessman Anil Ambani’s pocket.
He asked chowkidars (watchmen) not to get worried over the slogan “chowkidar chor hain” as the country knows that “it was meant for Prime Minister Narendra Modi”.
Speaking at the party’s Parivartan Ulgulan Maha Rally at the Morahbadi Ground here with leaders of the Mahagathbandhan, Gandhi reiterated that Rs 30,000 crore was “wrongfully” given to Anil Ambani in the purchase of Rafale fighter planes.
Ulgulan is the term used for the movement of justice and independence launched by legendary tribal fighter Birsa Munda against the British in the 19th century.
Jharkhand Vikas Morcha (Prajatantrik) president and former chief minister Babulal Marandi, Jharkhand Mukti Morcha leader and state’s former deputy chief minister Stephen Marandi and Rashtriya Janata Dal’s former MLA Ram Chandra Singh were present at the rally.
The Congress chief stuck to his rally schedule, and did not visit ailing RJD supremo Lalu Prasad, neither did he speak to Prasad over the phone.
There was speculation over whether the Congress president would contact Prasad to break the logjam over seat-sharing among grand alliance partners in Bihar and Jharkhand ahead of the upcoming Lok Sabha polls.
Prasad has been in Ranchi’s Birsa Munda jail since December 2017 after his conviction in Rs 900-crore fodder scam cases that broke out in the early 1990s in united Bihar.
“Vaayu Sena desh ki raksha karti hain aur hamare PM uske paise chori kar ke Anil Ambani ko Rs 30,000 crore de dete hain (The IAF defends our country but the PM steals its money and gives Rs 30,000 crore to Anil Ambani),” he said taking a jab at Modi, a day after IAF Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman returned home from Pakistan captivity.
The AICC chief claimed that former France President had said ‘Modi said if Rafale deal was to be sealed then Anil Ambani should be given the (offset) contract.’
In his no holds barred attack on Modi, the Congress president further alleged that the prime minister had waived Rs 3.5 lakh crore loan of industrialists, but not that of farmers, students and shopkeepers.
“There was long thumping of desks (in the Lok Sabha) by the BJP members during the budget speech of (officiating) Finance Minister Piyush Goyal.
“I found out that the thumping erupted after the announcement of Rs 17 per family of the farmers, effectively Rs 3.5 per member of the family. But they (the Centre) waived Rs 3.5 lakh crore loan of industrialists,” said Gandhi, referring to the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Yojana in which farmers having less than or upto two hectare will be given Rs 6,000 per year.
He said if his party was voted to power, it would give minimum income guarantee to the poor by directly transferring money into their accounts.
Focusing on tribals and farmers, Rahul said the Congress party had in 2013 brought the Land Acquisition Act to protect the jal, jungle, jameen (water, forest and land) of the tribals.
“Jal, jungle and jameen are yours, and not of Ambanis or Adanis. Under the land act, until and unless 80 per cent of the farmers (land owners) say yes, the land cannot be sold, and if they say yes there will be social impact study and then the land will be sold four times the market rate,” he said.
He said the Congress protested vociferously when the Modi government tried to amend the act.
He said in Chhattisgarh the Congress government had returned unused land to original holders within ten days of forming the government as the land had not been used in the last five years.
The AICC president said farm loans were waived in Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan within 10 days of the Congress forming the government in those states.
He said, “Rs 15 lakh had been promised to the people, but what have you got in the last five years. (They) Spread hatred everywhere. We unite and connect with the people”.
The Congress president, who is visiting Ranchi after nearly five years, said he joined politics in 2004 and had never spoke a lie.
He said the Congress had given to the country MGNREGA, White Revolution, Green Revolution and Computer Revolution.
Gandhi assured the JVM president and the JMM that the Congress would fight the polls in alliance with them. Jharkhand has a total of 14 Lok Sabha seats.
In his speech, Marandi said his party would be part of the grand alliance for the Lok Sabha polls.
On his “chowkidar chor hain” slogan, Gandhi made it clear that it was directed at the prime minister and not other watchmen in the country.
“I tell them not to get worried, the entire country knows that when we say ‘chowkidar chor hain’ it is clearly meant that we are talking about Prime Minister Narendra Modi,” Gandhi said adding, “One chowkidar has defamed all chowkidars.”
Former Jharkhand police chief Rajeev Kumar joined the Congress in the presence of Gandhi.
Kumar is the third IPS officer in Jharkhand Congress after its present president Ajoy Kumar and Rameshwar Oraon.
State Congress spokesman Alok Dubey told PTI that Gandhi went straight to the airport after the rally and he neither had any schedule to meet the RJD president nor talked to him over the telephone.