By Bizodisha Bureau, Bhubaneswar, March 15, 2019: The Congress will waive farm loans, increase minimum support price (MSP) for paddy and create jobs if it is voted to power, party president Rahul Gandhi said on Friday.

Addressing a rally in Bargarh, known as Odisha’s rice bowl, Gandhi said his party would waive loans within 10 days of coming to power. He promised an MSP of Rs 2,600 per quintal for paddy and setting up of farm-to-market infrastructure.

It was Gandhi’s fourth trip in two months to Odisha, which is holding Lok Sabha and Assembly polls simultaneously.

Chhattisgarh chief minister Bhupesh Baghel accompanied Gandhi during Baragarh rally. The Congress sees a wave of support in this region bordering Chhattisgarh, which last year elected the Congress to power, ending 15 years of BJP rule.

The Congress hopes to repeat a similar performance in Odisha, riding anti-incumbency against Naveen Patnaik who has been ruling the state for 19 years now. The ruling Biju Janata Dal holds 117 of 147 assembly seats and 20 of the 21 Lok Sabha seats in Odisha.

In February 2018, when the BJD and the BJP had turned the Bargarh bypoll into a prestige issue, the Congress, which had won this constituency for three consecutive terms, had forfeited the deposit money.

“Here Naveen Patnaik said he’d put up food-processing units, cold storage and irrigation. Where are these? It has only been two-three months since our government came to power in Chhattisgarh. We have already inaugurated a new food processing plant,” said Gandhi. “We keep our promises. What we have done in Chhattisgarh, we want to do in Odisha. And will be able to do so if you vote for the Congress.”

Taking on Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the land-acquisition Bill, Gandhi said the new Chhattisgarh government had decided to return any land acquired by the government but unused for five years. The state would also offer four times the market rate for land being acquired for industry, he said.

Lambasting Naveen Patnaik, Gandhi said: “Naveen Patnaik has turned Odisha into a centre of unemployment. In Odisha, there are 1.5 lakh vacancies in the state government, 30,000 teachers’ posts lie vacant … if the Congress comes to power, we promise to fill these.”

He accused the Patnaik administration of being corrupt.

“I talk of Modis’ corruption, let me tell you about Naveen Patnaik’s corruption,” he said, adding: “Here, there’s been a Rs 5,000-crore chit-fund scam and a Rs 50,000-crore mining scam where your money has been looted. When we come to power, we assure you the guilty will be booked.”

Leave a Reply

Be the First to Comment!

Notify of