Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Thursday said the Congress party would not allow the country to function as two Indias, where one stands for the rich and the other for the poor, and reiterated his promise to hold a special budget for farmers and to bring in a law to prevent farmers from being jailed for non-payment of crop loan dues, if voted to power.
Seeking support for the Congress candidates from Junagadh and Porbandar seats, the Congress President said, "In the past five years, Narendra Modi has been building two Hindustans. One is for (businessmen) Anil Ambani, Mehul Choksi and Nirav Modi, where Narendra Modi will do whatever they want. The second Hindustan is of notebandi, Gabbar Singh Tax, of farmers and labourers."
He added: "On one side is truth, on the other side are lies. On one side is justice, on the other is injustice. On one side there are two Hindustans – one for the rich and the other for the poor, and on other side there is a single Hindustan. You have to decide. Do you want to form a government of farmers, labourers and small entrepreneurs or do you want to form a government for Anil Ambani. You have seen the past five years."
The meeting was held in an open farm on the outskirts of Vanthali town in Junagadh district, just moments after Prime Minister Narendra Modi finished his election address in neighbouring Amreli.
Speaking of the promise of a "special budget" for farmers, Rahul said it would be introduced alongside the national budget, and would inform farmers about the Minimum Support Price for their produce, quantum of compensation in the event of crop loss, and storage and other facilities that would be provided.
He also reiterated that the Congress intends to bring in a law that will not send farmers to jail for defaulting on their loans. "Anil Ambani took a loan of Rs 45,000 crore from banks in India. He did not return it. He did not go to jail. Nirav Modi fled with Rs 35,000 crore and did not go to jail. Vijay Mallya took Rs 10,000 crore and fled. He did not go to jail. But if a farmer in Gujarat borrows Rs 20,000 from a bank and fails to return it, he will directly be sent to jail. Do you think this is justice?" asked Rahul.
"Do you think it is fair that the richest people in India take as much as loan as they want from banks, and enjoy in London, while a farmer in India who borrows Rs 20,000 and is unable to pay is sent to jail," he asked, and the audience replied 'No'.
"As soon as our government is formed in Delhi, we will change the law and no farmer from any region in Hindustan will go to jail for not returning loaned money. Narendra Modiji, if you want to send India's farmers to jail, then you first send Anil Ambani to jail… Till then no farmer will go to jail," he added.
"We will not allow two Hindustan to be formed. If there is one flag, then there will be only one Hindustan and not two. If Anil Ambani gets justice, then the farmer will also be given justice," he remarked.
Without naming the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana, Rahul Gandhi told the gathering that PM Modi sends Rs 10,000 cr of the policy money directly in to the accounts of the 10 richest people in the country. "This is Narendra Modiji's Bima Yojana. It can be given a different name – Anil Ambani Bima Yojana," said Rahul, as the crowd cheered.
In June 2018, The Indian Express had reported that in order to implement the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY) for the Kharif 2018 season, the Gujarat government had pided the state into six clusters and appointed four insurance companies to the farmers in their respective clusters. Anil Ambani's Reliance General Insurance Company Limited was appointed for two of the six clusters. The first cluster consisted of Rajkot, Tapi, Surat, Navsari, Dang and Valsad districts and the second consisted of DevBhoomi Dwarka, Porbandar, Bhavnagar, Aravalli and Kheda districts. The other companies were Universal Sompo General Insurance Company Ltd, Bharti Axa General Insurance Company and Agriculture Insurance Company of India.
While addressing a similar election gathering in Bhuj in the evening, Rahul Gandhi took on industrialist Gautam Adani. "Gujarat is at the number one position where lands from farmers are being taken away. You yourself just now said that your lands were given to Adaniji," Rahul told the crowd, adding that the BJP government in several states including Gujarat had watered down the land acquisition bill of the UPA government. "We tried to protect your lands," he said. Rahul also mentioned how six airports were recently handed over to the Adani Group by the Modi government.
Congress candidates from Junagadh and Porbandar seats Punja Vansh and Lalit Vasoya also addressed the gathering at Vanthali that falls in the Manavadar Assembly constituency and is part of the Porbandar parliamentary seat where the sitting BJP MP is Vitthal Radadiya.
The Porbandar constituency is important because BJP candidate Ramesh Dhaduk is contesting in place of Radadiya who is ill. Apart from this, Congress MLA from Manavadar Assembly seat Jawahar Chavda recently deflected to the BJP and was appointed as a state cabinet minister. Chavda is seeking re-election as a BJP candidate for the Manavadar bypoll on April 23.
The BJP has been winning the Porbandar parliamentary seat since 1991, except once in 2009, the only time the Congress won the seat. Congress candidate Mansukh Khachariya had defeated Vitthal Radadiya at the time. Apart from Manavadar, the Porbandar seat encompasses Assembly constituencies of Gondal, Jetpur, Dhoraji, Porbandar, Kutiyana and Keshod.