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Rahul Gandhi promises waiver of farm loans if Congress is voted to power in Gujarat

Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi addressing a public meeting on the last day of a three-day tour of election-bound Gujarat, on September 27, 2017.
Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi addressing a public meeting on the last day of a three-day tour of election-bound Gujarat, on September 27, 2017.
Continuing his relentless attack on the Narendra Modi government at the Centre and the BJP regime in Gujarat, Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi today promised that his party would waive the loans of farmers in the state if it is voted to power in the coming legislative assembly elections.
 
Addressing a public meeting at Chotila near here on the last day of his three-day tour of the Saurashtra region of Gujarat, Mr. Gandhi said the decision on waiver of agricultural loans would be taken within days of forming the Government.
 
Elections are due to be held in November or December in the state, where the Congress has been out of power for more than two decades.
 
Mr. Gandhi told the gathering, consisting mainly of farmers, that the Congress would protect the interests of the farmers, labourers and small shopkeepers and traders, unlike the Modi government that, he alleged, is concerned about 15 top industrial groups.
 
On the last day of his tour in the Saurashtra region, Mr. Gandhi travelled through Surendranagar and Rajkot districts, stopping at various points to address party workers and small gatherings of people. He visited temples at Chotila and spent some time at Khodaldham at Kagvad, a prominent shrine of the influential Patidar community.
 
Mr. Gandhi also addresed a gathering of businessmen and entrepreneurs here, at which he attacked the Modi government over the manner in which it had hastily implemented the Goods and Service Tax (GST) from July this year as well as the decision to demonetise Rs. 1000 and Rs. 500 banknotes on November 8 last year.
 
He said the two measures had had a "catastrophic effect" on small and medium enterprises, while demonetisation had helped "the country's biggest thieves" to turn their black money into white.
 
He said the Congress, if voted to power, would ensure that small and medium businesses received a fair share of financing from banks unlike the present times when the bulk of loans are given to big corporates and then turn into non-performing assets (NPAs).
 
He also spoke about how privatisation was affecting the delivery of services such as education and healthcare to ordinary people, with the Government reducing its expenditure in these sectors and neglecting its role of adding to the supply of such facilities across the country.
 
Mr. Gandhi dwelt at length on the crisis on the jobs front, with the Government able to create only about 450 jobs a day against the 30,000 new jobseekers who enter the market every day. He said China, in comparison, was able to create 40,000 jobs a day.
 
He felt that jobs can be created only by supporting the small and medium scale enterprises. "There is anger building up in the country, and if we don't act quickly, it will go out of control," he said. 
 
 
Rahul Gandhi visits Khodiyar Mata Temple on last day of Navsarjan Yatra
Mr. Gandhi said both demonetisation and GST were examples of decisions taken without proper planning and consideration of the possible consequences. He said GST also suffered from a multiplicity of rates and other structural problems. He said GST had shaved off 2% of the country's GDP.
 
The Congress Vice-President said that the BJP and Mr. Modi's problem was that they did not listen to people and take the advice of experts. Even now, if they start listening to the people, half the problems in GST can be solved, he remarked.
 
"They think they know everything, that the people don't know anything. We listen. Our speeches may not be that great, but we are experts in listening. We can understand your problems quickly," he said.
 
He said the Congress always tried to hear all sides and then strike a balance among all of them.
 
When a member of the audience said the Congress must work for a "Modi-free" India, Mr. Gandhi said, "That is too violent. That is not our approach. We don't hate anybody."
 
He went on to say that Mr. Modi's election in 2014 was partly also the result of the Congress' shortcomings during the ten years of the UPA government.
 
"We had given a vision to the people for 2004-2014. But by 2012, our vision had started failing. I admit that," he said, adding that some arrogance had also crept in among some Congress leaders. 
 
Mr. Gandhi said the Congress had learnt from its mistakes and would try to fulfil the expectations of the people, both at the national level and in Gujarat. He also felt that the people had much higher expectations from the Congress than they had from other parties. "When we fail, you punish us. That is good because we learn from that experience," he said.
 
"I don't hate anyone. I don't doubt that Mr. Modi tries to work for India every day. It is unfortunate that he does not listen to anyone. You cannot function as the Prime Minister of India if you don't listen to people," he said. "He does not trust anyone."
 
 
NNN
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