In poll-bound Kerala, Rahul sharpens attack on Centre

RSTV Bureau
Thiruvananthapuram: Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi with Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy (L) and others at KPCC extended executive meeting in Thiruvananthapuram on Wednesday, February 10, 2016. Photo - PTI

Thiruvananthapuram: Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi with Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy (L) and others at KPCC extended executive meeting in Thiruvananthapuram on Wednesday, February 10, 2016.
Photo – PTI

Day after he flayed the incumbent Modi government over the issues of agrarian crises, rise in food prices, Dalit scholar’s suicide in HCU, Rahul Gandhi asked his party leaders and workers in Kerala to shed their differences and be united for the upcoming assembly polls. Congress party vice president is on a two-day visit to the poll-bound state since Tuesday.

Expressing confidence that Congress-led UDF will retain power, Rahul Gandhi warned that only enemy is within.

“CPI (M) cannot defeat Congress; Congress can defeat Congress party… Senior leaders in the state are exceptionally talented. What one does not have, others have. They together are much more powerful than alone,” he said.

Beside facing tough challenge from the Left front-led LDF, the ruling party is marred with twin issues of bar bribery case and the alleged solar scam.

Exhorting to maintain the intra-party unison, Gandhi said, “It is not the time to fight. Now, it is the time to be together… For one or two months, hold hands and join together and let Congress rule return to power”.

At the same time, he was asked by his party workers and leaders not to have any truck with the Left front in West Bengal. While the two are bitter rivals in Kerala, CPI (M) leadership is reaching out to Congress in West Bengal for a tie-up in the assembly polls. Left front has gone considerably weak in a state it ruled over three decades after rout in 2011 assembly polls and 2015 Lok Sabha polls.

“Their fight against communalism is not sincere” KPCC President VM Sudheeran said alleging that “CPI-M is a party of opportunists”.

Attacking the bitter rival, the state Congress leader alleged that CPI (M) follows a policy of politics of violence and their insincerity of forming a third front in Bihar polls ended up dividing the “secular votes” and helped “BJP to win some of the seats”.

Meanwhile, Rahul Gandhi flogged no-barred attack against BJP-led government at the Centre while addressing party’s “Jana Raksha Yatra” at Thiruvananthapuram on Tuesday. Taking his attack to the Prime Minister, the Congress party vice president said that PM Modi came to power in 2014 elections by “tremendous promises” to the people and youth in the country, “but failed to keep his promises”.

Praising Chandy government’s tenure, he claimed that Chief Minister Oommen Chandy “delivered many of the things he promised”.

“One of the major achievements of the state government is the Kochi metro, which when completed would be affordable to vast majority of the people, unlike the Bullet train visualised by Modi which will be affordable only to a few,” he said adding, “long before PM Modi used the word startup, Chandy had opened the startup village at Kochi in Kerala”.

Gandhi also claimed that Oommen Chandy government focussed on the poor giving rice at Rs one a kg to 94 lakh families who benefited from the subsidies.

On the other hand, he attacked the NDA government over the issue of rise in the prices of essential commodities, citing dal price had touched over Rs 200 per kg, agrarian distress and the spate of suicides by the debt-ridden farmers.

“Farmers are being ignored and they were committing suicide… whether they are rubber, coconut, cardamom farmers of Kerala or farmers from other states, they do not see any future,” Rahul Gandhi said accusing the BJP-led NDA government of “destroying” major UPA welfare programmes, including National Rural Employment Guarantee scheme (MNREGA) and Right to Information (RTI) and Food Safety.

Continuing his criticism of the Central government, he took on Union HRD minister Smriti Irani over the suicide by Dalit scholar at the Hyderabad Central University (HCU) last month.

“The minister had the audacity to say Rohith (deceased scholar) was not a Dalit. Madam minister, the issue in Hyderabad is not whether he was a Dalit or not. It is a student was crushed. The issue is why Rohit, an Indian student, was not allowed to say and do what he believes in,” he said.