Addressing the country’s distressed farmers directly from outside the Parliament, Congress chief Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday said he will not let Prime minister Narendra Modi sleep until all farm loans are waived.
In a stinging attack on what he described as crony capitalism, Rahul said the government has turned a blind eye to the loans given to 15 top industrialists of the country, including Reliance’s Anil Ambani, but made no effort to alleviate the woes of the farmers in the last four years.
“We promised to waive loans in 10 days. In two states, we did it within six hours and we would do it in the third state very soon,” he told reporters outside the Parliament. He was referring to the Congress’ newly-formed governments in Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh fulfilling promises made ahead of the assembly polls and waiving loans on Monday. A Congress government, led by Ashok Gehlot, was also sworn-in in Rajasthan.
Rahul said the recent win of the Congress in Rajasthan, MP and Chhattisgarh is the victory of the poor, the farmers, the youth, labour and small shopkeepers.
“Modi ji has been prime minister for 4.5 years, but has not waived a single rupee of farmers’ loans. I want to tell you that the Congress party and other opposition parties will unite till all farm loans are waived. We will stand up and fight against them, we will not retract a single inch, we will not let him (PM) sleep at night, till the time Indian farmers’ loans are waived. I want to give this message and tell the farmers that this country is yours and not of 15-20 industrialists. That injustice being done to you, despite the hard work and toil that help provide food to the country. Your voice does not reach and we will help do it. We have done it in three states and you remember that we will exert pressure on Narendra Modi to waive farm loans,” he said.
Issuing a challenge to the prime minister, Rahul said, “If the Modi government does not waive farm loans, we guarantee to waive farm loans if voted to power in 2019.” He said a united opposition will exert “such pressure on Modi that not a single farmer will be left out.” “The Congress and other opposition parties are behind you. You don’t worry. Your work is being done,” he told the farmers.
He also claimed that the loans of friends of Modi and BJP president Amit Shah had been waived. Alleging that Rs 3.5 lakh crore was waived for 15 people, including for Anil Ambani, he said poor people and small shopkeepers were on one side and the group of industrialists on the other. He assured the people that the Congress and all other opposition parties would stand by them.
Raising the issue of alleged corruption in the Rafale fighter jet deal, he accused the BJP of running away from a debate in Parliament. “We will force a JPC on the Rafale issue. Why are they (government and BJP) running away from a debate in Parliament,” he said.