Mandi: Kick-starting the Congress parties re-election campaign for Himachal Pradesh, national vice-president, Rahul Gandhi said that Himachal Pradesh had preformed much better than Gujarat on many social indicator parameters and the much touted Gujarat model of development was a failure. He was addressing a public meeting at Paddal Ground here today.
Presenting comparative figures of development of the Prime Minister’s home state and the congress ruled Himachal Pradesh, Rahul Gandhi said that Himachal state had given unemployment allowance of Rs.1000 to the unemployed whereas it was not being given in Gujarat. Congress led Himachal government opened or upgraded as many as 15000 schools whereas the Gujarat government closed 13,000 schools during last five years. HP government opened four medical colleges, 57 degree colleges as opposite to Gujarat where just 25 degree colleges have been opened and no medical college during last five years.
He criticised the Gujarat model of development which he termed as befooling the people of Gujarat in name of development. He said that the financial assistance for housing for different categories was Rs 1.30 lakh to poor in Himachal whereas in Gujarat it was merely Rs 70,000. Social security pension was Rs.700 per month in Himachal and mere Rs.450 in Gujarat.
He said that Himachal Pradesh had provided employment to around 70,000 youth in government sector besides strengthening health and educational institutions in the state.
He said that the NDA played with the sentiments of youth in name of employment as it promised to provide two crore jobs per year to them, whereas the Modi government has failed in providing any employment as promised. He also said that the Modi government failed to protect the interest of farmers as hundreds of farmers were committing suicide in the country. Loan waiver policies of the Union government also made mockery of farmers in the name of waiving off loans.
Rahul Gandhi Backs Virbhadra Singh For Another Term As Chief Minister
Gandhi declared that chief minister, Virbhadra Singh would lead the party in the coming assembly elections and urged the people to make him CM for the seventh time. The ‘Vijay Se Vikas’ rally kickstarted the parties poll campaign.
He came down heavy on the policies of the Union government and blamed Narendra Modi for decline in Gross Domestic Product (GDP). He said that the fall in GDP by 2 percent speaks in volumes about mismanagement of the economic reforms. Not only this, he also attacked NDA Government for imposing Goods and Service Tax (GST) on people of the country creating trouble for all sections of the society. He said that services became more expensive and the decision was taken into haste ignoring small and marginal traders.
Instead of one tax throughout the country, the NDA has imposed five different type of taxes completely derailing the economy with imposition of 28 percent tax from the very onset. This was the biggest blow on the Indian economy, he said.
He also criticised the Union government on demonetisation of currency, adding that it was imposed on the people which caught them unaware.
Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh in his address credited the development of this hill state to Gandhi family, right from Jawahar Lal Nehru to Rajiv Gandhi.
The Chief Minister said that the government provided land for AIIMS as demanded by the Union Health Ministry, but the BJP state leaders claimed that Union Government sanctioned AIIMS and gave funds for it.
“I want to make it clear that it was the responsibility of the central government’s to provide state share for undertaking development and the funds provided for AIIMS was not from anyone’s personal pocket, it was the funds from ‘Bharat Sarkar’ from the states share which the state government deserve and have full right to ask for, said the Chief Minister adding that the Central Government can boast of funds provided to Union territories which were under the direct control of the Union government but it can’t claim the share of states as its own. No matter which ever government was at the helm of affairs in the centre, it becomes the moral duty of the Union government to release the funds earmarked for the states”.
Though I respect Prime Minister Narendra Modi, but he can’t impose such policies on people of the country which were autocratic in nature, said the Chief Minister. He also termed the steps of demonetisation and GST as detrimental to Indian economy.
Those who spoke on the occasion included HP Congress party in charge Sushil Kumar Shinde, MP Anand Sharma, HPCC President Sukhwinder Sukhu, ministers Kaul Singh Thakur and Mukesh Agnihotri.
A senior journalist who has spent more than a decade in the profession, working for Amar Ujala and Aapka Faisla.