With the Congress government in Puducherry losing its majority, former Congress president Rahul Gandhi addressed a public rally in the poll-bound Union territory, where he hit out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi for “not allowing the elected government to function for the last five years” and “destroying all other institutions in the country”.
The Congress leader said PM Modi was repeatedly sending a message through the office of the Lt Governor to the people of Puducherry that their votes had no value. Escalating his attack on outgoing Lt Governor Kiran Bedi, Gandhi asked whether she grew up in Puducherry. “Then on what basis does she run this place,” he asked.
“It (Puducherry) has an elected government… but the PM has not allowed the elected government of Puducherry to function for the last five years… He repeatedly told you that your vote doesn’t matter… He has done so by destroying the institution of Lt Governor just like he destroyed all other institutions in the country,” Gandhi said.
Today, an Indian person cannot get justice from the judicial system without being terrified of what will be done to them, while journalists are scared for their lives, Gandhi said. “In Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha, Bills are passed without any discussion. Elected leaders like myself are not allowed to speak in Lok Sabha. It is the one man thinking he is not the Prime Minister but the king of this country.”
The Congress leader said the Puducherry elections will be a battle for the future of the Union territory. He said what the BJP government is doing to Puducherry was exactly what it is doing to the rest of the country.
“There are so many rich people in India but he (PM) only works for three or four of them… maximum five or six of them. And he will give whatever they want,” Gandhi said. “Why? Because they control the media. And whatever they say, these media also will say,” he said.
Before addressing the public rally, Gandhi met a gathering of fishermen at Solai Nagar fishing village and appealed to them to organise and unite to make themselves heard by the BJP government at the Centre.
Addressing them along with Puducherry CM V Narayanasamy, Gandhi said the Centre was crushing all small and medium businesses to help big corporate firms, and also mentioned the new farm laws. Gandhi asked the fishermen to take him to the sea during his next visit to understand their problems at work.
‘Don’t feel hatred, I forgive’
Chennai: During an interaction with students of Bharathidasan Government College for Women in Puducherry, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi was asked how he feels about the people who killed his father and former PM Rajiv Gandhi. “It was a very difficult time for me. But I don’t hold any anger. It feels like someone cut your heart out. I don’t feel any hatred or anger. I forgive,” he said. Gandhi said his father is alive within him. “Violence cannot take away anything from you.”
The remarks come days after Tamil Nadu Governor Banwarilal Purohit’s decision to send the long-pending recommendation of the state cabinet — to release the seven convicts in the case — to the Centre sparked a controversy.
While Gandhi family never opposed the pardon plea of convicts, TNCC chief K S Alagiri said a few months ago that if they are released, a demand would arise for the release of all “murder convicts” who had spent over 25 years in prison. —ENS