Cong holds online protest, seeks help from Centre for poor

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Mumbai, May 28 (PTI) Maharashtra Congress chief Balasaheb Thorat on Thursday led the partys online SpeakUpIndia agitation in the state, seeking monetary help from the Centre for the economically weak, in line with the Nyay scheme earlier proposed by party leader Rahul Gandhi.

State Congress leaders took to social media platforms -- like YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram -- to ask the Centre to provide Rs 10,000 initially to a poor family and then Rs 7,500 per month for next six months.

The agitation was held following instructions of the partys central leadership, Thorat said.

He said giving the money to the poor, who are worst hit by the financial crisis triggered by the coronavirus- enforced lockdown, will enable them to make purchases, and ultimately help revive the economy.

Ahead of the Lok Sabha elections last year, Gandhi had proposed the Nyay (justice) scheme.

Under the scheme, he had proposed that a certain amount of money will be paid to the poor per month to enable them to make purchases.

The purchasing power of the poor will in turn help increase production by factories, which will further lead to creation of jobs and subsequently, remonetise the economy, Gandhi had said.

'The common man is the worst hit by the coronavirus crisis. The one who struggles to make ends meet is left with no income source, said Thorat, who is also Maharashtras revenue minister.

What we are remembering the most at this juncture is the Nyay scheme Rahulji had proposed. We must give some amount of money to the poor, if we want to give momentum to the economy. Hence, the Centre must extend monetary assistance to the poor, in line with the proposed scheme, Thorat said as he took part in the protest via Facebook live.

The minister also picked holes in the Centres Rs 20 lakh crore special economic stimulus, alleging that it is not about spending money, but more about giving loans.

The package is of no use to the poor who need monetary help to be able to make purchases, Thorat said.

He also praised Congress men for helping migrant workers in the state, following instructions by party president Sonia Gandhi.

Another Congress leader and Maharashtra minister Nitin Raut seconded Thorat.

Raut also demanded the Centre to take care of the ticket expenses of migrant labourers and provide financial assistance, and not loan, to the MSMEs.

The working days under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) should also be increased to 200, he demanded.

Maharashtra Congress ministers Aslam Shaikh, Satej Patil and Varsha Gaikwad and state party spokesperson Sachin Sawant were also among the leaders who took part in the agitation.

Sunny Valika, a Congress worker from Navi Mumbai, said the agitation was novel in a true sense and helped the youth who use social media extensively to flag the issues pertaining the poor.

'We cannot move outside due to the lockdown. Hence, it was a great idea to agitate from where we are, maintaining social distancing and at the same time, take up the cause of the poor, Valika said. PTI ENM GK GK