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Modi runs govt for billionaires, Patnaik for select few: Rahul Gandhi in Odisha

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Congress leader Rahul Gandhi addresses a rally for Lok Sabha polls, in Kendrapara, Odisha, Sunday, April 28, 2024

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi addresses a rally for Lok Sabha polls, in Kendrapara, Odisha, Sunday, April 28, 2024

Cuttack: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Sunday alleged that while PM Narendra Modi runs a government for billionaires from Delhi, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik leads a dispensation that works for "select people" in Odisha.

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Addressing an election rally in Cuttack's Salepur, Gandhi claimed that though the BJD and BJP were fighting the electoral battle against each other, in reality, they were working together.

"Call it a partnership or marriage, both BJD and BJP are together," he claimed.

Taking a dig at Patnaik, Gandhi said that though he was the chief minister, the BJD government in the state was being run by his aide VK Pandian.

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In an apparent reference to the PM, Gandhi said, "Uncle-ji and Naveen-babu have given Odisha PAANN, meaning Pandian, Amit Shah, Narendra Modi, Naveen Patnaik. They have looted your wealth." "Rs 9 lakh crore was looted through the mining scam. Rs 20,000 crore was looted through land grabs. The plantation scam was of 15,000 crore. As soon as the Congress government is formed here and in Delhi, we will start giving you back your money," he added.

Gandhi claimed that in a similar way, the BRS in Telangana used to work with the BJP, and his party ousted it from power.

"While Naveen-babu has given you Pandian, I will tell you what Congress will give you. If we come to power at the Centre, we will do five revolutionary works. We will make a list of all the poor families, and one woman from a family will be selected and we will transfer Rs 1 lakh annually to her bank account. It is Rs 8,500 per month," he said.

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"We will bring a scheme -- 'pehli naukri pakki'. All the unemployed youths with degrees and diplomas will get apprenticeships, we will give you the guarantee of your first job for a year. It will be in the public sector, private sector, government hospitals and offices," he added.

Gandhi said that if Congress formed the government in Odisha, it would provide Rs 2,000 per month to women, Rs 3,000 per month to unemployed youths, 200 units of free electricity and LPG at Rs 500 per cylinder.

"While uncle-ji has worked for 22 billionaires, we are going to create crores of lakhpatis," he said.

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He alleged that BJP refers to tribals as 'banabasi' or forest-dwellers instead of 'adibasi' or indigenous people.

"The tribals are not 'banabasi', they are the 'adibasi', meaning they have the first right to the land, forest and water. Modi has taken away tribal rights and given them to industries. Congress will give tribals their rights back," Gandhi said.

He said that if Congress returns to power, it will waive off farm loans.

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"Whenever there is a need, Congress will waive off crop loans," he said, adding that a legal framework for MSP for all crops will also be ensured.

"The salary of Anganwadi and ASHA workers will be doubled, while MGNREGA wage will be hiked to Rs 400 per day," he said.

Odisha will vote in the Lok Sabha elections and assembly polls simultaneously in four phases, starting on May 13.

There are 21 Lok Sabha seats in the state and a 147-member assembly.

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