Nagaon (Assam)/Malda/Baharampur (West Bengal), April 19: Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi Saturday took on BJP prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi for his divisive agenda and Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee on corruption during a whirlwind election tour to Assam and West Bengal.
Attacking Modi, the Gujarat chief minister, at Nagaon in Assam, Gandhi dismissed the Gujarat model of development as one that only made the rich people richer at the cost of the poor and accused the BJP of making Hindus and Muslims fight each other.
Moving over to West Bengal, he targeted Chief Minister Banerjee, demanding a Central Bureau of Investigation probe into the Saradha chit fund scandal and accusing her government of shielding scamsters.
Gandhi began his campaigning from Nagaon, charging the Bharatiya Janata Party with following the British model of dividing Hindus and Muslims.
“The British made Hindus and Muslims fight with each other. The BJP is doing the same thing.”
He told people the Gujarat model of development only makes some rich people richer at the cost of the poor.
“The Gujarat government takes land of farmers and sells it to companies at a price of Re.1 per square metre. Later, the companies sell the same land to other smaller companies at a price of Rs.800 per square metre,” Gandhi said adding that 45,000 hectares of land have already been sold in the state.
Addressing rallies at Shamsi in Malda district and Baharampur in Murshidabad, he said big scams were taking place in West Bengal.
“Bigger scams are happening in Bengal. You all know about the Saradha (chit fund) scam, 20 lakh people have suffered losses,” Gandhi said.
“The SEBI and the Enforcement Directorate have been clamouring for action but the government here is taking no action, rather, it is shielding them.”
“The scam runs into Rs.18,000 crore. This is your money. The money belongs to the poor. There is need for a CBI probe. But the state government does not want that. They know if the CBI begins probe, they will be exposed,” Gandhi said.
While Saradha promoter Sudipta Sen is already behind bars, the ED recently arrested Sen’s wife and son for alleged money laundering.
In both the rallies, Gandhi charged the Banerjee government with serving party workers rather than the masses.
“Things are being done for the Trinamool workers, but not for people of Bengal, the poor people,” he said.
He alleged that the government was appointing Trinamool workers instead of genuine candidates as primary school teachers by flouting government guidelines.
“There is teacher appointment scam involving recruitment of 35,000 primary school teachers. Without following government guidelines, Trinamool workers were absorbed in place of genuine candidates, candidates who know how to teach,” he said.
Rubbishing Banerjee’s claims that the state has been denied central funds, Gandhi said Rs.1,200 crore under the MNREGA has been provided.
“This government only talks big but doesn’t do anything for the poor,” Gandhi said as he talked about his party’s plans for industrialisation and employment generation.
On atrocities against women, he said: “You have a woman chief minister, but Bengal tops the list in the number of rapes in the country.”