Koraput: Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi who is campaigning in Odisha tried to strike a chord with the tribal population in the state as he targeted the BJP, criticising it of speaking about development while ignoring the state of the poor and the tribals. "The opposition speaks about development, but they never talk about the poor, the farmers or the tribals," said Rahul in Korapat.
He went on to attack the Naveen Patnaik-led-BJD government accusing it of giving away money meant for people to industrialists. He said, "Odisha is a rich state but its people are poor because the government is giving away money meant for the people to industrialists,"
Addressing a rally in tribal-dominated Semiliguda, Rahul accused the state government of hijacking the credit for the work done through the welfare programmes of UPA government claiming that the state was ruled by "mine mafia" and not by the people's representatives.
"The state government is run by the mine mafia and not by leaders. Valuable minerals worth thousands of crore rupees are looted and state government is aware about it," he alleged.
"Though the Centre sends thousands of crores for the welfare of tribals, the amount is not reaching the beneficiaries at the village level. The state government is diverting central funds and taking credit without any justification," he said.
While a handful of mafia loot mineral resources of Odisha and become rich, the poor and tribal people do not get any benefit, Gandhi said.
In contrast, the Centre has set up a large number of institutes, medical colleges and hospitals for the betterment of the people, he said.
Highlighting the Congress party's concern for the poor and tribal people, Rahul Gandhi said his family had long-standing bond with the tribals and "I love to be in the midst of tribal people."
Recalling that Rajiv Gandhi had also visited the area, Gandhi said he would continue to fight for the cause of tribals
The Congress vice president claimed that it was he who stood by the agitating tribals of Kalahandi and saved Niyamgiri Hills.
Strongly opposing displacement of people for various projects without offering adequate compensation, Gandhi said Congress would strive for safeguarding the interests of the poor and underprivileged.
Hitting out at the state government, Rahul accused it of being insensitive towards the poor and said it was unfortunate that Food Security Act was not implemented in the state.
He also raised corruption issues like chit fund scam and alleged that the ruling BJD leaders were behind the ponzi companies which duped the poor and innocent investors in the state.
(With inputs from PTI)