Cong will hike wages of tea workers in 6 hours of coming to

·6-min read

power in Assam, not to implement CAA : Rahul (Updating story) Lahowal/Chabua/Doomdana (Assam), Mar 19 (PTI) Congress leader Rahul Gandhi Friday assuring the carrying out of its '5 guarantees' said that the CAA will not be implemented and daily wages of tea workers in Assam will be hiked to Rs 365 within six hours of the party being voted to power in the state.

Gandhi gave the assurances to people from all walks of life - college students, tea workers and at a poll rally on the first day of his visit to the poll-bound state for campaigning.

Congress will ensure in Assam assembly that the Citizenship Ammendment Act is not implemented in the state.

'In the other states we will stop it (CAA) after we come to power at the national level,' he told students of Lahowal College in Dibrugarh district, tea garden workers in Chabua and at a poll rally in Doomdooma.

Assam had witnessed violent agitations in December 2019 when the Act was passed.

'We will increase the daily wages of tea workers to Rs 365 from the existing Rs 167 within six hours of coming to power,' Gandhi said in an interaction with workers at Dinjoy Tea Estate at Chabua and also at a subsequent election rally.

'Mera naam Narendra Modi nahi hain aur main jhoot nahi bolta (My name is not Narendra Modi and I don't tell lies). Let anybody say what they want but I guarantee that you will get Rs 365 as soon as the government is formed.

'I understand that tea garden owners might find this difficult, but let me assure them that this will be done with the help of the government,' the Congress leader said.

Gandhi had lunch with the tea workers in Dinjoy tea estate. He also visited the manager's bungalow where his great grandfather, the country's first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru had spent a night in 1936 with his classmate and the then tea garden manager, a Mr Hill.

Asked by the college students about BJP mixing religion and politics, he said that the saffron party does not use religion but hatred to create divisions among different sections of society.

'No religion has asked to use hatred. Where is it written in Hinduism that there should be 'nafrat' (hatred)? It is BJP that spreads hatred to divide the society and wherever they do that Congress goes there to promote love, brotherhood and harmony,' he said.

In an apparent reference to the RSS, the Congress leader said that there is one force in Nagpur that is trying to control the entire country but the youths should resist it with love and confidence as they are the future of democracy.

'The BJP wants to control Assam from Nagpur.But a Congress chief minister will listen to the people of the state and not to anybody from outside,' he said.

Twenty years ago Assam was hit by violence but after Congress came to power it ensured peace and development. 'BJP ka kaam hai todna, hamaara kaam hain jodna (BJP's work is to divide but our job is to unite people),' he said.

Stating that there is a direct relation between hatred and unemployment, the Congress leader said 'If hatred increases unemployment will increase and vice versa. Can two sections fighting against each other do business together? For business and employment oppurtunities to thrive there should be harmony and brotherhood'.

Gandhi said the ensuing elections in the state is not any 'ordinary election'. BJP has attacked the culture, history and language of Assam as according to it there should be only one thought, one language, one culture. 'But our country is diverse and the Congress will protect all'.

He also accused BJP of selling off Assam's resources to outsiders like the Guwahati airport to the Adanis and the tea companies.

The Congress leader alleged that at present the country has a 'Hum do, Hamare do ka Sarkar' (a government of two persons with two others) - one in the Parliament (apparently Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah) and two outside (Adani and Ambani likely).

'Assam's resources and wealth must go into the pockets of the Assamese. The state must be managed in the interest of the people here,' he said.

The Congress government, he said, had laid the foundation for future growth, employment and development by initiating several schemes, including the MGNREGA and Food Security.

'Can you name the schemes started by the BJP? We had promised in Chattisgarh to waive off farm loans and we did it.

We have a record of not making promises in the air. We give guarantees', he asserted.

The Congress has given 5 guarantees in Assam and they include five lakh government jobs in five years to youths, up to 200 units of free electricity per household and Rs 2000 per month to housewives other than those mentioned by him, Gandhi said.

Asked by the students about rising unemployment, Gandhi said that the priority of the Congress government will be to first fill up the vacant posts and focus on particular sectors like health and education for the creation of new jobs in these areas.

'Modi talks about entrepreneurship. but how many businesses have opened in India in the last six years and how many youths have got jobs?' he asked.

When a student questioned him about privatisation of education, Gandhi said that this is a 'big problem' created by BJP. 'Education should not be commercialised as it is a fundamental right and we (Cong) are against this.

'There are certain places for privatisation but not in education and health where public sector has a role. We are fighting against the BJP on this', he said.

Gandhi alleged that the biggest sale is taking place in the agricultural sector and its privatisation is being done through the farm laws.

To another question on why protesting students are being sent to jail, Gandhi said 'The rulers are scared of the confidence of the youth. They are scared that if more become confident they cannot control. So the youth are sent to jail'.

When another student pointed out that Prime Minister Narendra Modi does not visit Assam during floods but only during elections, the Congress leader quipped, 'What can you give him during floods? So why will he visit you? But now you can give him votes, so he is visiting you.

'You can ensure that he does not come at all and stays at home by your vote. You have to save India's democracy as you are the future of democracy. More youths should enter politics and actively participate in fighting against the wrongs', he added.

Gandhi is on a two-day visit to the poll-bound north eastern state from Friday. He will campaign in upper Assam and release the party's manifesto in Guwahati on Saturday, Congress sources said. PTI DG KK KK