Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi on Sunday said the fight against the controversial land bill has not ended but has shifted to state assemblies, and Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “Make in India” campaign was actually “Take in India” as it has “no place for farmers and labourers”.
Addressing a well-attended rally at the Ramlila Maidan here to mark the party’s “victory” over the government on the land bill, Gandhi said Modi only listens to “people in suit-boot”.
He said Modi does not talk to farmers or the youth about their problems but only to bureaucrats and businessmen.
Gandhi referred to the working conditions at a ship-breaking facility in Alang in Gujarat — Modi’s native state — and said labourers get insulted as their “chemical-ridden bodies” are not able to burn properly after their death.
He said labourers get killed under wreckage of ships and also due to radioactive material in ships.
“When the bodies are burnt, there is so much chemical that the bodies do not burn completely. This is how a labourer is insulted,” Gandhi said.
He said the Modi government brought ordinances to change the land Act of the United Progressive Alliance government but had to finally relent and allow the ordinance to lapse.
“But I know Modi-ji. What he really thinks, he does not say. On one hand, he said the bill of the Congress will not end, on the other he told his chief ministers that we (Congress) could not do it at the Centre.
“Try to do it (make changes to the land law passed in 2013) at the state-level. The battle has not ended. It is in the state assemblies. The Congress has to fight it in every state,” he said.
Stating that the “victory” over the land bill was first of the farmers and later of the Congress, he promised to take on the government over issues concerning labourers.
Gandhi recounted that a farmer had told him that the land he tilled was like his own mother.
“He told me Narendra Modi-ji is not just snatching our land but our mother. He wants to snatch our mother and give it to someone else, please fight for us. That day I realised it is a fight (not only) for your land but for heart, prestige, future of farmers. The Congress stood for you,” he said.
The Congress leader said Modi’s ‘Make in India’ does not have “place for labourers, farmers but for only those whom he meets and talks”.
“We don’t want such India. This is not ‘Make in India’. This is Modi’s ‘take in India’,” Gandhi said.
“On the one hand, they want to snatch your land, on the other your rights. In the end, you will get nothing. His two-three chosen friends will get it in the end. We will fight your battle. And you see what we did for your land, we will do it for labourers. We will do it for MSP (minimum support price), we will do it for problems of sugarcane farmers. You build India. We will never forget you,” Gandhi added.
He said Modi wants farmers to be weak, and they were facing problems in every state.
“I want to tell the prime minister, try to understand their problem. Help them. If you do not, you will see the Congress,” he said.
Rahul Gandhi said Mahatma Gandhi wore suit-boot but later chose a life of simplicity as he mingled with the people and had only a few belongings in the end.
“Look at Modi-ji. He wears new clothes every day. He wears suit worth Rs.15 lakh. The more he goes farther from you, the better clothes he wears,” Gandhi said.