Targeting Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath in his bastion, Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra on Sunday alleged that his government has been working against the teachings of Saint Gorakhnath and made a flurry of poll promises, including farm loan waiver and purchasing wheat and paddy at Rs 2,500 per quintal from farmers.
IMAGE: Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and Chhattisgarh CM Bhupesh Baghel during Congress Pratigya Rally, ahead of UP Assembly election 2022, in Gorakhpur, on Sunday, October 31, 2021. Photograph: PTI Photo
“You take any section of society be it Dalits, weavers or Brahmins, everybody has been exploited. The administration of Yogi Adityanath ji is working completely against the ‘vichaar‘ (thoughts) of Guru Gorakhnath,” she said at a rally, taking a swipe at the Bharatiya Janata Party leader who is also the head of the prominent Mutt Gorakhpur named after Saint Gorakhnath.
Urging the people to bring a change, Priyanka Gandhi said it is time that they question their faith in leaders who have ‘played with their feelings in the name of religion and caste’.
Criticising the central government on privatisation, she alleged that the roads, airports and railways made by the Congress were being sold.
“They ask what has been done in 70 years, I say that the hardwork of 70 years has been done away within seven years,” she said,
The Congress general secretary also reached out to farmers and members of the fishing community.
“If the Congress is voted to power, then fisheries will be given the status of agriculture, and it will get all the facilities like agriculture.
“The rights of people of the Nishad community will be restored in sand mining and fisheries. Apart from this, a university named after Guru Machendranath will also be set up,” she said.
“The entire loans of the farmers will be waived. Wheat and paddy will be purchased at Rs 2,500 per quintal, while sugarcane will be purchased at Rs 400 per quintal. The problem of stray cattle will be resolved on the lines of Chhattisgarh, and a complete solution will be evolved,” she said.
The central government had recently fixed the minimum support price for wheat at Rs 2,015 per quintal, while the MSP of paddy (common) was Rs 1,940 per quintal.
The Congress general secretary added that government jobs will be given to 20 lakh youths, while contractual workers will be regularised.
The Anganwadi workers will get an honorarium of Rs 10,000, and women will get three free cylinders in a year, she promised.
“Apart from this, if voted to power, our government will bear the cost of treatment of any illness up to Rs 10 lakh,” she said.
She also said that Rs 25,000 will be given to families who have lost their livelihood due to COVID-19.
She reiterated that the party will give 40 per cent tickets to women for the UP Assembly elections.
The girls who passed class 12th will get a smartphone, while the girls who have cleared undergraduate courses will get a scooty, Priyanka Gandhi said, adding that when ‘you travel in government buses, it will be free of cost’.
Hitting out at Chief Minister Adityanath, who has been a five-time MP from Gorakhpur, the Congress general secretary said that the health scenario in the district is dismal.
“As elections are approaching, we are hearing that AIIMS will be made functional. But nothing happened for five years. So how do you expect that it will be done now?” she said.
Congress leader and Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel also lashed out at CM Adityanath.
“This is the land of Lord Budhha, the land of Kabir. Here emotion, love, compassion and brotherhood is present.
“The Nath sect (to which Yogi Adityanath belongs to) has the tradition of embracing the deprived sections of the society, poor, farmers and the labourers.
“But, Yogi Adityanath ji, what happened to you? You are running bulldozers on the houses of the poor. Are you Yogi Adityanath or Bulldozer Nath?” he said.
The Congress is facing a Herculean task to improve the party’s tally in politically crucial Uttar Pradesh, where it had won only seven seats out of 403 in the last assembly election.
Earlier this month, the Congress general secretary held a rally in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Varanasi Lok Sabha constituency.
“Time has come to question the faith which we have reposed in our leaders, who made so many promises but have not fulfilled even one.
“Time has come for a change in the state. If you do not become aware and do not raise questions, then UP will not be able to come out of this ‘khaai’ (ravine). The truth is that they have played with your feelings in the name of religion and caste. For a leader, the biggest religion is that of ‘sewa’ (service),” she said on Sunday.
The Congress leader also took a dig at Union Home Minister Amit Shah for his reported assertion that criminals can’t be seen even with binoculars in UP under the Yogi Adityanath government.
When Shah was making the point, Union Minister of State for Home Ajay Mishra, whose son has been arrested in connection with farmers’ killing in Lakhimpur Kheri, was standing by his side, she said.
“Amit Shah should use spectacles instead of binoculars to see the reality in the state, and act sternly against his deputy,” she said.
The Congress general secretary was also critical of the previous state governments.
Priyanka Gandhi alleged the sugar mills, which were established by the Congress, were closed by the Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samaj Party governments.
“Today they say that the Congress has joined hands with the BJP. I want to ask them where were they when people were struggling. In times of crisis, only the Congress fights. And today, from this dais, I am saying that I will die, but will never join hands with the BJP,” she said.
Trying to corner the government on the issue of price rise, she said, “Since the BJP government has come to power at the Centre, the income of many families has decreased.
“The farmer is earning Rs 27 a day, while the billionaire friends of the prime minister are earning Rs 1,000 crore in a day,” she alleged.
“When we see our prime minister going to Italy in Rs 8,000-crore aircraft, we get a feeling that may be the honour of our country is getting enhanced. But, the reality is absolutely different from this,” she said.