Rahul Gandhi: "These elections are to protect tribal rights to jungle and jobs"

If the BJP is not stopped, the public sector will be destroyed, said the Congress leader, campaigning in Madhya Pradesh

Congress leader holds up the Constitution of India as he speaks of safeguarding the rights of the tribes of India enshrined in it, at a rally in Madhya Pradesh on 6 May 2024 (photo: PTI)
Congress leader holds up the Constitution of India as he speaks of safeguarding the rights of the tribes of India enshrined in it, at a rally in Madhya Pradesh on 6 May 2024 (photo: PTI)


Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Monday, 6 May, alleged Prime Minister Narendra Modi has made up his mind to alter and scrap the Constitution, a move he said will deprive the tribespeople of India and other sections of society of their guaranteed rights and destroy the public sector.

Addressing a campaign rally at Segaon, under the Khargone Lok Sabha constituency in Madhya Pradesh, Gandhi said loans given to farmers will be waived and the daily allowance under the MGNREGA scheme will be raised from Rs 250 to Rs 400 soon, once the INDIA bloc forms a government at the Centre.

"These elections are being fought to save the Constitution and reservations extended to the poor and to protect their rights to the land, the jungles and to jobs. But Modi-ji has made up his mind to change and scrap it (the Constitution of India)," he said.

Khargone (a seat reserved for the Scheduled Tribes) will vote on 13 May, in the fourth phase of polling.

After coming to power, the opposition alliance will enact a law to ensure that farmers get the minimum support price (MSP) for their produce, the Congress leader also promised.

Highlighting that tampering with the Constitution would mean the rights of the Adivasi and poor people would cease to exist, Gandhi said: "Your (rights on) land, water, forests and reservations will end. The public sector will be finished and the rule of 20–25 rich people will kick in. Arabpatis (billionaires) like (Gautam) Adani want your land, water and jungle, which will be snatched and handed over to them (if the BJP gets a third term)."

Land for airports, power stations and infrastructure have already been given to 22–25 multi-billionaires by Modi, he alleged.

"Modi has failed to provide employment in the last 10 years," Gandhi said.

Tribespeople are migrating to other states for jobs.
While your loans are not written off, loans worth Rs 16 lakh crore to 22 rich people have been waived.

Modi has waived loans to men like Adani and given the cumulative 24-year spending under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) to such people, but he has not waived the debt of the poor and farmers, the Congress leader alleged.

"Narendra Modi has made 22 people multi-billionaires. We are going to make crores of people lakhpatis," Gandhi promised.

The INDIA bloc government will deposit Rs 1 lakh into the accounts of poor women to make them lakhpatis, he promised.

"Under the Mahalaxmi Yojana, a poor woman will be given Rs 1 lakh (annually) until her family comes out of poverty, which means she will get Rs 8,500 per month," Gandhi added.

He also underlined the disparity in taxes paid by the common people and the super-rich. "The amount you pay in tax, Adani also pays the same (amount) in tax. People of the country are not reaping the benefits of the tax they pay," he said.

Gandhi also raised the 2016 demonetisation of high-value currencies and the GST rollout to attack the Modi government.

"Narendra Modiji has promised 2 crore jobs to the youth (annually). But small-scale industries and factories have shut down due to the wrong Goods and Services Tax and the notebandi (demonetisation), whereas people like Adani profited (due to these measures)," he said.

Gandhi highlighted that unemployment across the country is currently the highest in the last 45 years.

He also reiterated that the BJP is disrespecting tribal people by calling them "vanvasi" (forest dwellers) instead of 'Adivasis'.

"Adivasi means you are the first master and the real owner of Hindustan," he said, highlighting various initiatives like the Forest Land Rights Act implemented by the previous Congress-led UPA government. He said:

They are destroying your jungles to turn you into labourers

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