Rahul Gandhi: Congress govt will have separate farmers’ budget

Dipankar Ghose
Rahul Gandhi at a rally

Stating that the Congress's 'Nyay' minimum income scheme would act like "petrol" to kickstart the economy, Rahul Gandhi on Saturday said that if the Congress forms the government, 2019 will see the first separate agriculture budget for farmers.
The Congress chief made the comments at two rallies in Chhattisgarh's Bilaspur and Durg constituencies.

Alleging that the government put in Rs 35,000 crore in bank accounts of certain businessmen, Rahul said, "There was a question in my head: the money was going in one direction, can we change the direction? Can we take money from their pockets and give it to you? Five months ago, I called senior-most economists and think-tank members, and told that that I know Narendra Modi's promised Rs 15 lakh was a lie and it could not have been delivered, but it did raise people's hopes. I wanted them to find out that if the Government of India wants, how much money can be put into bank accounts of the country's poorest people?"

Calling the idea a "surgical strike on poverty", Rahul said, "(Former Finance minister P) Chidambaram-ji gave me a number on a piece of paper – it said Rs 72,000…. They (experts) said Rs 72,000 in a year to bank accounts of 5 crore families. When we were talking about loan waivers, Narendra Modi was asking where will the money come from. In Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan, we have shown there is enough money."

Rahul also that the country is facing its worst unemployment rate in 45 years, and put it down to demonetisation. He said when "money was taken away" from people, it reduced their spending power, which in turn affected industries, which had to downscale, and contributed to loss of work. "The Nyay scheme will give money to families again to spend in the market…factories will begin again, and the youth will get employment. In one swoop we want to restart the economy – it is a way to put petrol into the economy."

Addressing another rally in Supaul, Bihar, Rahul said that fear is nowadays writ large on the face of the "chowkidar" (PM Modi). "It is the fear of defeat, of getting exposed before the people, and of the fact that once the Rafale deal is investigated properly, the chowkidar himself will be in jail along with the likes of Anil Ambani," he said.

Rahul claimed that the Manmohan Singh government had been more generous in providing assistance to Bihar than Modi's NDA regime. According to him, during the 2008 floods in Bihar, the then UPA had extended assistance of more than Rs 100 crore. In 2017, when the state was again hit by the natural calamity, the Modi government did not give even five rupees to the state, he maintained.

PTI Inputs from Supaul (Bihar)