Rahul slams Modi, Vijayan govts; Asserts UDF will come to power in Kerala

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(Eds: Updates with more inputs) Kochi/Alappuzha, Mar 22 (PTI) Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Monday attacked the Narendra Modi government over the fuel price hike and its economic policies, accusing it of taking money from the pockets of people instead of putting it in their hand, as launched his second leg of campaign for the April 6 assembly elections in Kerala.

He also slammed the LDF government in the state over its alleged bid to strike a deal with a US-based company on 'deep sea fishing', saying 'it shows the intention' of the CPI(M)- led dispensation.

Addressing corner meetings in Ernakulam and Alappuzha districts in support of candidates of Congress-led UDF, Gandhi expressed confidence the UDF will form the next government as it has made promises of implementing NYAY scheme, hike the welfare pension to Rs 3,000 and also increase the MSP for rubber, paddy and coconut.

He also hailed the party's candidates list for the elections, witnessing a triangular fight between the UDF, the LDF and the BJP-led NDA, saying it has injected young blood into the system.

Criticising the union government's economic policies, he claimed the country's economy 'collapsed' due to the demonetisation brought by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, his flawed GST implementation and COVID-19 pandemic.

The the way to kickstart the country's economy was to start consumption, by giving people money so that they can spend.'But the Government feels that it can be started not by consumption but by helping suppliers,' he said.

Interacting with students of St Teresa's College, an autonomous women's college in Kochi, the Wayanad MP said the government was taking money from pocket by hiking prices of petrol and diesel as it does not have money to try and run the government.

'They are not able to generate taxes, they are not able to generate money. So, they are now forcibly taking money from your pocket--from petrol and diesel-- to try and run the government,' Gandhi said.

He claimed that when the Congress-led UDF was in power in Kerala and the party-led UPA ruled the Centre, they understood how to run the country.

'First thing you need is harmony. Second thing is that you need to put money into people's hand. If those two things happen, India's economy will grow,' the former Congress president said.

He alleged the Central government did 'nothing' even after the Congress told it when economy started collapsing during the Corona pandemic to put money into people's hands immediately.

He said during the UPA rule the economy was uplifted by implementing programmes like rural job scheme, Right to Food and farm loan waiver.

'We did MGNREGA. We put money into people's hand.The economy started working. We did right to food, economy starts working. We did farm loan waiver, economy starts working.

Logic is very simple, not complex. Put money into people's hands,' he said addressing the election meetings.

Slamming the LDF government over its fishing projects, Gandhi, addressing meetings at the coastal belts of Alappuzha and Ernakulam districts, alleged that 'thousands and thousands of our fishermen brothers and sisters would have been out of business' had it signed the deal with the American company.

'That deal shows the intention of the Left Front government. After they were caught, they said, OK, we will cancel the deal,' he said, as he compared the action of the Left government with a thief who leaves the stolen goods at the home after being caught.

In a clear indication that the selection of candidates for the April 6 polls had his touch, Gandhi said ticket distribution had been different this time as many young candidates have been fielded.

Describing it as a 'silent revolution' in the Congress and the UDF, he said its results could be seen after the polls.

Amid protests by a section of Congress workers over selection of candidates in some constituencies, Gandhi said, 'we have not ignored experience'.

'We have many many excellent older leaders. We've not ignored him but we have opened door for younger face. There is a reason for this. We want new imagination for Kerala going forward', he said.

Reaching out to the voters, the Congress leader said, 'I want to tell you it is a bold step for political party to take. And we are doing it because we are believing in you'.

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