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Rahul Yatra Day 56: Raises PM Modi’s ‘two or three friends’, fuel price rise, KCR and family


On the 56th day of his Bharat Jodo Yatra, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi Wednesday launched a scathing attack in Hyderabad on Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the privatisation of public sector firms and the price rise, and accused Telangana’s ruling party of acting in cahoots with the BJP to pass controversial legislation in Parliament.

“At BHEL, I met employees who told me they were scared. I met employees of Bharat Dynamics Limited. BDL manufactures some of our most advanced missiles for the protection of our country but their employees are scared. Employees of BHEL and BDL are scared that their companies would be privatised and they would lose their jobs. These two PSUs along with many others are the backbone of this country, which the Modi government wants to hand over to their two friends. There is no central government support to these PSUs, but the Modi government is ready to hand them over to Modi’s two friends,’’ Gandhi said.

Gandhi asked the crowd at Muthangi what else was being privatised by the central government. In response to a big roar from the public, he said, “Yes, Modi has two or three friends. Yes, airports, LIC, ports, telecom, gas pipelines are for sale, dekho public sab jaanti hain.’’

He said the Congress would fight “tooth and nail” against the privatisation of public sector undertakings.

Raking up the repealed farm laws, Gandhi said the Bills were aimed at stealing money from farmer’s pockets. “Farmers protested and forced the BJP government to back down. That is what I am saying, do not fear BJP. If we confront them, they will be finished,’’ he said.
Gandhi said that before becoming prime minister, Modi “made a hue and cry” when the price of an LPG cylinder hit the Rs 400 mark. “Modi used to remind in every speech about the price of an LPG cylinder, aaj kitne ka hai??’’ he said. “Now Narendra Modi does not talk about prices of LPG, diesel and petrol. This price rise has affected every section of society, on every Hindustani. It affects every trader, every businessman, and every farmer.”

Gandhi also lashed out at the Telangana Rashtra Samiti. “I am saying this again: TRS and BJP work together,’’ he said.

The Congress leader accused Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao of redesigning irritation projects so that fresh bids could be invited and Rao and his family could make money. “I do not have to give any proof that TRS and BJP are together because in Parliament I have seen that TRS has always supported the BJP in passing all the Bills. The entire Opposition was standing against the kisan Bills while on the other hand were Narendra Modi and TRS. This yatra is against the hatred and violence that BJP is spreading; to raise voice against raising unemployment and rising prices of essential commodities.”

Gandhi said Rao also did not talk about the price rise. “The lakhs of crores of rupees that are being stolen out of your pockets with the price rise is going where? This money is not disappearing, it is not being burnt; it is not evaporating, so where is the money going? I will tell you, half of the money is going into the pockets of the two or three friends of Modi. As your CM does not have enough friends, some of the money is going to his family,’’ he said.

“With the remaining money, MLAs and MPs of other parties are being purchased. It is being utilised to bring down democratically elected governments. We were elected in Madhya Pradesh but BJP used money to bring purchase our MLAs and bring down the Congress government. BJP has tried to bring down our government in Rajasthan. In every state, BJP is using taxpayer money to destroy democracy. These two (referring to TRS and BJP) do the same work,” he said. “Their ideology is the same. It is to steal money from the poor people and give money to elected politicians. Intimidate the people and silence the media.’’

Earlier, the yatra started the eighth day of its Telangana leg from Balanagar Main Road. A large number of Youth Congress, NSUI and Congress leaders accompanied Gandhi on the busy national highway 65. The yatra swelled into a 20km march as thousands of Congress supporters joined it. Actress Pooja Bhatt briefly joined the yatra, walking beside Gandhi from about 9am till the morning break at 1030am near Madinaguda. It resumed from BHEL at 4pm.

Gandhi interacted with several sanitation workers of the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation along the way. During the afternoon break, members of the farmer organisation Rythu Swarajya Vedika met Gandhi and discussed the permission granted for the environmental release and seed production of genetically modified mustard. “We shared various concerns regarding the approval process by the GEAC (Genetic Engineering Approval Committee), where the tests are designed by the applicants themselves, and approvals have been given without the completion of additional tests prescribed by the GEAC. We mentioned GM mustard being herbicide-tolerant, and glufosinate is the harmful herbicide which it is resistant to,’’ a representative told The Indian Express.

He said Gandhi assured them that he would look into the harmful effects of glufosinate and appeal to the Centre to investigate it.

Gandhi retired for the night at Koulamet near Rudraram. The yatra will resume on Thrusday morning from the Ganesh temple there.





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