Poll plank: Rahul promises minimum income for poor
Raipur: Congress chief Rahul Gandhi Monday announced what promises to be the party's big pitch in this election - a guaranteed minimum income for the poor across the country, much like the system of social security in the US. The idea takes forward the UPA government's MNREGA, the rural employment guarantee scheme that ensured 100 days' job to every person.
"We cannot build a new India while millions of our brothers and sisters suffer the scourge of poverty. If voted to power in 2019, the Congress is committed to a minimum income guarantee for every poor person, to help eradicate poverty and hunger. This is our vision and our promise," he told a farmers rally in Raipur.
Gandhi said that no government in the world had taken such a step.
He also attacked Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the BJP alleging that they had no money to waive loans of farmers but had no hesitation when it came to waiving loans of industrialists.
He said the new Congress government decided in 24 hours to waive farmers' loans in Chhattisgarh, something the BJP could not do in 15 years.
"Whenever we spoke of loan waiver, the BJP said they don't have money. In Madhya Pradesh, Shivraj Chouhan said he does not have money. In Delhi, Prime Minister Modi said he does not have money. They don't have money for farmers' loan waiver, but they can waive loans of India's 15 richest industrialists," Gandhi said.
"What BJP could not do in 15 years, we did in 24 hours. There is no lack of money," he said.
Criticising the Prime Minister, Gandhi said Modi was creating an India of Nirav Modi, Mehul Choksi and Vijay Mallya.
"He is taking money from the Indian Air Force and putting it in the pocket of an industrialist," he said referring to the controversial Rafale deal.
"We do not want two Indias that the BJP is trying to create - one for the industrialists where they get everything and another for poor farmers which has nothing for them except listening to 'Mann ki Baat'," he said, referring to Modi's monthly radio programme.
The Congress President added that the BJP tried to dilute the Congress' land acquisition bill which guaranteed four times the price of land to farmers compared to the market price and also ensured that if industrialists did not start work in five years, the land would be returned to farmers.