Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday accused the BJP and the RSS of “suppressing” institutions meant to defend democracy in the country and alleged that Opposition members were not allowed to raise issues in Parliament. Addressing a gathering during the Bharat Jodo Yatra here, he supported Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot’s allegation that the media was not giving enough coverage to the Yatra and claimed it was being done at the behest of the central government.
“India is a democratic country and separate institutions work to defend and protect democracy. These institutions include Assemblies, Lok Sabha, Rajya Sabha, judiciary, media…. but the BJP and the RSS have suppressed all these,” Gandhi said at a corner meeting along the NH–52 at Cable Nagar here on the 91st day of his foot march.
Gandhi said they decided to take out the Yatra as opposition members were not allowed to speak in Parliament and alleged their mikes were turned off whenever they tried to raise any issue.
“They have installed their men in all these institutions. If we want to deliver a speech in Parliament whether it is on demonetisation, GST, farmers’ bill, or even on China that has occupied our land, our mike is turned off, we are not allowed to speak, we keep shouting in parliament house, the video camera does not turn to our side,” Gandhi alleged.
The Congress leader is likely to skip the winter session of Parliament, which commenced on Wednesday, due to the Yatra.
Gandhi also took a dig at Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla, who is the BJP MP from Kota.
“The Speaker is from Rajasthan and Lok Sabha T.V. likes his face too much. They keep showing his face for 24 hours, whereas whatever we say is heard by none,” the Congress leader said.
Eventually, he said, they thought they had only one way left, which was to march on roads and interact with people.
Pointing at reporters present there, Gandhi said they try to do their duty but due to the “owners (of their media house)… they cannot perform their duty properly”.
‘It is not their fault, ….their remote control is not in their hands but in the hands of owners and in the hands of the government that rules from Delhi,” Gandhi said, echoing Gehlot’s criticism of media.
Gandhi said unemployment and price rise are the biggest issues before the country and alleged that demonetisation followed by GST imposition had broken the backbone of small businessmen.
Prices of petrol and diesel always go up in India whether prices of the same are witnessing both rise and fall in the international market, he claimed.
“Where is this money going, in whose pocket… it is going to 4-5 industrialists in the country, who get all airports, railways and will get other government companies one by one,” Gandhi alleged.
“Their loans are waived in seconds but they (BJP government) cannot exempt even a loan of Rs. 50,000 of a farmer,” Gandhi said.
He asserted that his party delivers on its promises and has waived loans of 22 lakh farmers in Rajasthan.
He also accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of not fulfilling his promise to give national project status to Eastern Rajasthan Canal Project (ERCP).
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“We do what we say. Loans of 22 lakh farmers have been waived,” Gandhi said here.
The Congress government in Rajasthan had pledged to waive farmers’ loans in the last assembly elections. The BJP has accused the Congress of failing to fulfil its poll promise.
Gandhi said that eight lakh farmers get electricity free of cost in the state.
Talking about ERCP, he said, “The prime minister had twice in his speech promised to 13 districts of Rajasthan to give national project status to ERCP. He had said he will fulfil it soon. He cancelled it,” Gandhi said.
“Now when the Rajasthan government wants to build the project with its funds, the Centre is stopping the project. The state government has kept aside Rs 9,500 crore for the project,” the former Congress president said.
ERCP is an ambitious project of Rajasthan which was envisaged during the previous BJP government. It is aimed at providing drinking and irrigation water to 13 districts of the state.
The Yatra, which has so far covered over 2,400 kilometers since it started on September 7 from Tamil Nadu’s Kanyakumari, resumed at 6 am here on its 91st day on Wednesday.
Gandhi marched to Kota from Darra Station Ganesh Mandir. After walking for about 10 km in the district, he stopped at the house of party worker and former deputy pradhan Ashok Meena in Gopalpura on NH-52.
“Rahul Gandhi ji enjoyed ‘gur ki chai’. He had especially requested for it. He got homemade ‘gur ki chai’. Rahulji and Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot had the tea and both appreciated the taste,” Meena said.
The former village pradhan said he informed Gandhi about the water problem faced by farmers in the area and requested for a canal to be built. “Rahul ji asked CM Gehlot to solve the issue,” he said.
Gehlot, PCC chief Govind Singh Dotasra, and former deputy chief minister Sachin Pilot also addressed the corner meeting.
The Rahul Gandhi-led Bharat Jodo Yatra is scheduled for a night stay at Madan Mohan Malviya farmhouse scheme ground in Jagpura on Wednesday night and will resume on the 92nd day on Thursday at 6 am.
They will cover a 24-kilometre stretch to Gudli railway station in Bundi.
(This report has been published as part of the auto-generated syndicate wire feed. No editing has been done in the headline or the body by ABP Live.)