Rajendra Prasad Mohapatra

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi took a dig at the ruling BJD in Odisha and BJP in the Centre for entering into a partnership in the State while addressing a public meeting at Salepur in Cuttack district on Sunday ahead of the 2024 elections here. 

“While Narendra Modi government is running the government at the Centre for 22-25 billionaires, Naveen Patnaik government is ruling with a handful of people in Odisha and the selected ones are getting all the benefits. BJD and BJP have got married and they are running the government in Odisha in partnership. They have given ‘PANN’ as a gift to the people of Odisha. ‘PANN’ means Pandian, Amit Shah, Narendra Modi and Naveen Patnaik. Pandian (5T Chairman VK Pandian) is running the government in Odisha,” alleged Rahul.

“They have looted the whole public property in unison. They are involved in mining scam worth Rs 9 lakh crore, land grab scam worth Rs 20,000 crore, plantation scam worth Rs 15,000 crore etc. I assure you that when Congress will come to power we will return the money to the public,” the senior Congress leader added.

Rahul announced that Congress will directly transfer Rs 2,000 per month to the bank accounts of the women in the State every month if voted to power.

“Congress government will transfer Rs 3,000 per month directly to the bank accounts of unemployed youths. We will provide 200 units of free electricity. Gas cylinders will be provided at Rs 500. The Minimum support price of Rs 3,000 per quintal of paddy will be provided to the farmers of Odisha. Congress will enlist all the poor families in India and a woman in the family will be chosen and the party will directly transfer Rs 8,5000 per month to their bank account,” said Rahul.

The senior Congress leader also guaranteed employment opportunities for the unemployed youths of India under ‘Pehli Naukri Pakki’ scheme.

Rahul assured that Congress will guarantee employment opportunities to all the unemployed youths in the country with university degrees and diploma certificates for a year.

“If anybody asks the government for employment, the government will guarantee him a job for one year in public and private sectors. We will provide the best possible training to the unemployed youths,” said Rahul.

“Narendra Modi and Naveen Patnaik made only 22 people billionaires. However, we will make crores of people lakhpatis by transferring Rs 1 lakh each to the bank accounts of crores of people per year,” said Rahul while urging people to vote for Congress in the upcoming elections.

“Congress will also waive off loans of farmers by setting up Commissions if voted to power. We will ensure minimum support price to the farmers of the country. I assure ASHA and Anganwadi workers to double their remuneration. We will also increase the MGNREGA wage amount to Rs 400. We will ensure land, forest and water rights of the tribals in the country,” he added.

Earlier Rahul was accorded a grand welcome by party workers and senior leaders at the Biju Patnaik International Airport in Bhubaneswar.

Subsequently, Rahul visited ‘Utkal Gourav’ Madhusudan Das’ birthplace at Satyabhamapur through a special helicopter. 

After visiting Madhu Babu’s birthplace and offering floral tributes to the statue of the legendary personality on the occasion of his birthday, he then went to Salepur for a public meeting as part of Congress' poll campaign for the upcoming 2024 elections in Odisha.

Responding to Rahul Gandhi’s jibe, the BJP said that people will neither accept Congress’ guarantee nor it will have any impact on voters.

“As Congress is sure about its defeat, it is easier to make such kind of announcements. However, it will neither influence people nor it will have any impact on the voters,” said Odisha BJP leader Anil Biswal.

“When leaders of their own party don’t have faith in the Congress and they are switching parties, how the people will believe the party? People of Odisha have rejected Congress from 2000. Earlier, they had given similar kinds of guarantees in Chhattisgarh. However, they failed to keep their promises despite forming the government. Money is not produced in trees. Congress leaders don’t have any kind of craze in Odisha. The party has not been involved in any kind of political activities in the State. Rahul’s address can’t influence the people of Odisha,” he added.