Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Friday promised to waive farm loans within 10 days if his party is voted to power in Odisha. He cited examples of the Congress governments in Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan who fulfilled their promise of granting loan waivers.
“As soon as the Congress government is formed here, you count till 10, not 11, only 10...Within 10 days, the Congress will waive loans of Odisha farmers,” Gandhi said while addressing a rally in Bhubaneswar.
He claimed that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his “junior partner in Odisha”, an apparent jibe at Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, of fooling the state’s farmers by not delivering on their promises to them and showering gifts on their industrialist friends instead.
Gandhi also claimed that the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh wanted to control all the institutions in India and accused it of stamping its mark on the Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance government, PTI reported.
“You currently have one institution called the RSS, mother of the BJP, which believes it is the only institution in the country,” said Gandhi. “They want to penetrate all other institutions and control them.”
Gandhi alleged that such a mindset has caused chaos everywhere in the country, including the judiciary and education sector. “We believe India should be run by its 1.2 billion people,” the Congress president said. “One set of people, one ideology should not run the country.”
Gandhi said the opposition Congress has a different view when it comes to how such institutions work. “Our party has a different view on how key institutions should be supporting the country. It respects decentralisation, independence of institutions, and constitutional advances,” he added.
The basic difference between the two parties is that the Congress takes into account people’s feedback, said Gandhi. “Ours is a dynamic process, we listen to the people,” ANI quoted him as saying. “Not like Narendra Modi, who thinks he knows everything, there is no scope of feedback.”
Gandhi said that even though he didn’t share Modi’s opinion, he did not hate the prime minister. “I realise he [Modi] disagrees with me and I disagree with him, and I will fight him and I will try and make sure that he is not the prime minister, but I don’t hate him,” he said. “I give him the right to have his opinion.”
Gandhi added that “abuses” were “the best gift” given to him by political opponents. “I look at Mr Modi and when he abuses me, I feel like giving him a hug,” the Hindustan Times quoted him as saying. “He is upset with the Congress party. I understand that also but we are not angry with him. That’s our design, we don’t hate people.”
The Congress chief also criticised Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and claimed that the Biju Janata Dal’s model to develop the state was similar to the BJP’s Gujarat model. “It’s a very simple deal between the CM candidate and industrialists who fund his campaign,” he said. “[The] CM hands the state over to key bureaucrats, who run it.”
But the Congress model was to learn from a state’s people, who knew more about it, Gandhi claimed. “When we run a state, we listen to the people,” he said. “That’s not how Modi or Naveen Patnaik think.”
The Congress President said his party’s government will prioritise generating employment. “The youth of Odisha are migrating to other states in search of work,” Gandhi said. He said his government will focus on filling the “1,31,000 government posts, 30,000 teaching positions, 1,200 lecturer posts in universities and 3,000 lecturer posts in colleges” that are lying vacant.