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Rahul Gandhi sounds poll bugle in Kerala, slams BJP, Left government


The Congress on Tuesday sounded the poll bugle in Kerala with the party organising a mammoth rally in which leader Rahul Gandhi launched a scathing attack on Kerala’s ruling LDF and BJP government at the Centre over various issues including the contentious farm laws and the rise in fuel prices.

The Wayanad MP also asked why the BJP was not attacking the CPI(M)-led government and “going soft on cases against the CM’s office.”

Highlighting his visits to Kerala, Gandhi said he was used to a “different type of politics” in north India and coming to Kerala was “very refreshing” as people are interested in “issues”.

Turning to the rising fuel prices, the Congress leader flayed the central and state governments over the hike despite low oil price in the international market and claimed both the governments are giving the money to the richest in the country.

He hit out at the Left government and Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan over the continuing protest by a section of PSC rank holders in front of the state secretariat and claimed jobs were available in Kerala only for CPI(M) workers.

While the first two farm laws destroy the country’s agriculture sector, the third one denies justice to the farmers, he alleged after inaugurating a massive rally here, marking the culmination of the 22-day-long Aishwarya Yatra, led by leader of opposition in the state assembly Ramesh Chennithala.

“The first one destroys the farmers market. The second one is to allow the richest to procure as much as grain and unlimited hoarding. These two laws allow them to control the price of grains and vegetables,” he alleged.

“They (government) have only one aim: the farmer does not get the right price for their produce. That everybody, the middle class, farmers labourers have to pay more,” he said.

“And that’s why lakhs of lakhs of farmers are protesting. What did the PM say? That they are terrorists,” Gandhi alleged.

Targeting the central and state governments over the rising fuel prices, the Wayanad MP said: “The price of oil in the international market is down. But in India, the price of petrol and diesel are going up. Thousands of crores of rupees are being taken from your pocket every day.”

“Where is this money going? To whom is this money being given. This is being given to the richest people in this country,” Gandhi said.

Turning to the BJP, he asked why it was not attacking the CPI(M)-led government and “going soft on cases against the CM’s office.”

“I fight the BJP and the ideology of RSS everyday. The BJP attacks every step of mine. Right now, they are watching this speech, and thinking how they can attack me.

I don’t understand, why are they going soft on cases against the CM’s office. Why is it taking so long.”

“Why is the CBI and the ED not attacking the government. I am confused. I know when you fight the BJP, they attack you 24 hours a day,” Gandhi said.

Gandhi said the chief minister was not ready to discuss matters with the protesters who are on a “hunger strike” demanding jobs but would have held talks if they belonged to the Left parties.

Later he visited the protesting rank holders in front of the state secretariat and listened to their grievances.

Gandhi told the gathering that “if you are a young Keralite, you will have to fight for the job”.

Gandhi, while speaking at the concluding rally of the ‘Aishwarya Yatra’, said he learnt a lot from Kerala and understood a bit about the “wisdom of the people” here.

“For the first 15 years, I was a member of Parliament in the north. So I had got used to a different type of politics. And for me coming to Kerala was very refreshing.

Because suddenly I found that people are interested in issues and not just superficially but going into detail in issues,” Gandhi said.

Gandhi told the gathering that while talking to some students in the US recently, he said he “really enjoys” going to Kerala because “the way you do politics.”

“Recently, I was talking to some students in the United States and I said that I really enjoy going to Kerala and really I love going to Wayanad. It’s not just the affection, because affection of course is there, but it’s the way you do your politics.”

Elaborating on the Assembly campaign plans of his party, Gandhi said the Congress was readying up a people’s manifesto and the party leaders were meeting thousands of people asking them what they want.

“Our manifesto will include cashless treatment. Insurance to everyone and there will be no nothing that will destroy the livelihood of fishermen. There will be nothing to destroy the lives of farmers like PM Modi. There will be no line which will say everything is for our organisation,” he said.

The meeting at Shanghumugham here was attended by thousands of party workers belonging to the Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF).

Various UDF leaders including P K Kunhalikutty, P J Joseph, Congress leaders Tariq Anwar, K C Venugopal, Mullappally Ramachandran, Oommen Chandy and M M Hassan among others addressed the meeting.

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