Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi’s quote targetting Prime Minister Narendra Modi today turned into an instant eye-ball grabber. Gandhi alleged that because of pollution caused by ‘Modiji’s industrialist friends’, fishermen in Gujarat were forced to venture deeper into the sea than they were doing before. “I have learnt that now you have to go deeper into the sea to catch fish. Why? Because of pollution. But, who caused this? Definitely not the fishermen. It was caused by some 10- 15 industrialists who are Modiji’s friends…He took all your money and gave it to those 10-15 persons,” Gandhi alleged. Gandhi was speaking in Ahmedabad while addressing a rally today. He was addressing the fishermen at this coastal town on the first day of his two-day campaign tour of Gujarat.
Ahead of the next month’s Assembly elections in Gujarat, Congress leader expressed confidence that the party will emerge victorious in the state where it has been out of power for 22 years. He also said that his party will accept the demand that there should be an independent fisheries ministry. Gandhi asserted that if Congress returns to power at the Centre, the new government will have a fisheries ministry on the line of the agriculture ministry.
Rahul Gandhi also visited Palghar Marine Engineering Works in Porbandar, and met with manufacturers of machines and boat parts. Earlier in his speech, he said that Gujarat doesn’t just belong to 5-10 big industrialists. He added that the state belongs to the farmers, the labourers and the small-scale businessmen. He also criticised the BJP government in Gujarat for stopping the subsidy given to fishermen to buy diesel for their boats. Gandhi also claimed that the BJP-led state government, during the tenure of Narendra Modi as chief minister, gave away Rs 33,000 crore to Tata Motors for its Nano car plant. “When Congress was in power, fishermen used to get 25 percent subsidy on the purchase of diesel. That subsidy, which was just Rs 300 crore (per annum), has been abolished by the BJP government here. What kind of magic is this? They can give Rs 33,000 crore for Nano factory but they cant give Rs 300 crore to you,” he asked.
Gandhi also took a jibe at Modi’s radio programme ‘Mann ki Baat’. He promised the people that the doors of Congress government will be opened once the party comes to power in Gujarat. Rahul said he was confident that the Congress will win the upcoming elections. After which the doors of the Chief Minister’s Office and the Assembly will be opened for people so that they will be able to tell about their ‘mann ki baat’, he added. Congress leader alleged that till now, those doors were open only for the rich, and only their voice was heard.