During his exchange with locals, Rahul Gandhi also committed a blunder when he said that the fishermen needed a separate fisheries ministry.
Former Congress chief Rahul Gandhi in Puducherry
Rahul Gandhi’s struggle with interpreters continued in Puducherry. On Wednesday, Gandhi was in the southern coastal state to kickstart the party’s campaign for the assembly election to be held in April-May. He also visited the fishermen community, which has a sizable number in the union territory. During an exchange there, a woman complained to Gandhi about chief minister V Narayanasamy, who was accompanying the former Congress president and was present on the stage beside him.
Speaking in Tamil, the lady said that, “He (Narayanasamy) is here. He never visited us during Cyclone?”. However, Narayanasamy, who was interpreter, explained: “During the Nivar cyclone, I came and visited the area and gave relief to them. That’s what she is saying.”
After Narayanasamy said that the lady was praising him, Rahul Gandhi said that there was only so much one can understand by asking questions. He then said, “I need one favour from you. Next time I come, I want to go with you in the fishing boat to see what you experience.” Narayanasamy had turned the complaint into a praise, but that did not go unnoticed with others taking to social media to point out the ‘deliberate’ attempt by the chief minister to sidestep the issues of the fishermen community.
During his exchange with locals, Rahul Gandhi also committed a blunder when he said that the fishermen needed a separate fisheries ministry. He said that if farmers of the land have a ministry in Delhi then why can’t farmers of the sea (fishermen) have a ministry in Delhi? “When farmers have issues, they go to the ministry that belongs to the farmers. But when fishermen have an issue, they do not have a minister to go to,” Gandhi said.
Soon after these remarks, the Bharatiya Janata Party hit back at Gandhi saying there was indeed a separate ministry for fishermen and the Congress leader was unaware of it. Union Minister of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying Minister Giriraj Singh said that Gandhi should know that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had created the new ministry on May 31, 2019.
He added that he was willing to inform Gandhi of the fisheries ministry’s work across the country, including in Puducherry. His cabinet colleague Prakash Javadekar said that the Centre has a ministry of fisheries. “…but Rahul Gandhi doesn’t know what is in India. Priyanka Gandhi: Govt. didn’t repay the UP sugarcane farmer. Brother and Sister don’t know the facts.”