Bhopal: Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Monday said his party would waive off farm loans across the country if it came to power next year.
Addressing party workers in Bhopal after a 13-km-long roadshow, Gandhi said, “When the rich secure loans and refuse to pay, the government calls it Non Performing Assets (NPAs) but if a farmer fails to repay his Rs 5,000 loan, he is branded a defaulter.” The Congress president also alleged that the Modi government had waived off Rs 1.5 lakh crore NPAs of 15 leading industrialists.
“People like Vijay Mallya, Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi aren’t called thieves but if a farmer fails to clear debt, he is called a thief. I want to ask what is his fault when he works tirelessly and grows food for the country?” Gandhi said, asking the Centre to either recover the NPAs from the rich or waive off farm loan dues.
“I have made it clear and asked farmers to be prepared as once the Congress comes to power, we will waive off dues and I don’t care what the economists say. If Rs 1.5 lakh crore of 15 chosen corporates could be waived off then the same should apply to farm loans,” he said amid applause from the crowd.
Attacking Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, Gandhi said, “If Sachin Tendulkar was called the run machine, CM Shivraj is ‘ghoshna’ (announcement) machine.” He added that as soon as Chouhan addresses a meeting, he starts making declarations and has over 21,000 announcements to his credit.
“Still, the state is number one in corruption, unemployment, malnutrition, rapes and on many other accounts,” Gandhi said, adding that if the Congress came to power, it would bring the perpetrators of the Vyapam and e-tendering scams to book.
He also accused the BJP of failing to generate employment, saying Congress leaders such as Kamal Nath and Jyotiraditya Scindia would work towards bringing jobs to the state. He also promised to set up manufacturing units once in power. “I promise that when we come to power, you will see mobile handsets with Made in MP or Made in Bhopal tags.”
Gandhi continued his attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the Rafale 'scam' and demonetisation, while questioning his silence on the rising petrol and diesel prices. He claimed that during the UPA rule, fuel prices were moderate despite high international crude oil rates.
Slamming the Goods and Services Tax (GST) for being anti-MSME, Gandhi said the Gabbar Singh Tax, as he calls it, will end once the Congress wins and the real GST will make a comeback.
Gandhi also spoke to his party workers on issues such as ticket distribution, plans for women’s safety and Vyapam among others, as he said he could feel strong undercurrents of change in the state.