KORBA, Feb 12: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Monday walked towards a crowd in Chhattisgarh’s Korba district that had many persons shouting pro-Narendra Modi slogans and shook hands with them, with the opposition party stating that “there is great strength in love”.
Gandhi’s ‘Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra’, which entered the state from Odisha last week, was passing through Dhodipara on the way to Katghora from Korba.
Sharing a video of the incident on X, the Congress said, “There is great strength in love. BJP workers stood to protest against #BharatJodoNyayYatra. But when the yatra passed by there and public leader @RahulGandhi ji met him, the scene became something like this..”
In the video, a large number of people can be seen lining the road, including a group wearing saffron scarfs and holding flags having the image of Lord Hanuman and shouting slogans like ‘Jai Shri Ram’ and ‘Modi Modi’.
On seeing them, Gandhi got off his vehicle, walked up to them and shook hands with several people in the crowd. He then got back into his vehicle and blew kisses at the crowd.
Earlier in the day, addressing a gathering in Sitamadi in Korba, Gandhi said people were distressed with unemployment and inflation under BJP rule.
Asking people to wake up, the Congress leader said masses were being robbed and misled by the ruling dispensation.
The Congress MP reiterated his party’s demand for a caste census and said it will be done with the people’s support.
The backward classes, Dalits and Adivasis (tribals) comprise 74 per cent of the country’s population, but not a single person from these communities is the owner or in the management of India’s top 200 companies that are being given “all the money of the country”, he claimed.
The BJP calls it a “Hindu Rashtra”, but 74 per cent of the population and the poor from the general country have been getting nothing, he said.
They are only for beating “thali” (steel plate), ringing “ghanta” (bell), showing mobile phones and dying in hunger, he said in an attack on the Modi government.
“Tell me, have you seen any poor person, labourer, unemployed person or small businessmen at the Ram Mandir inauguration (on January 22)? I only saw Adani ji, Ambani ji, Amitabh Bachchan, Aishwarya Rai and other big businessmen. Adani ji, Ambani ji and their families were giving big statements,” Gandhi said.
People are not getting employment and are facing the wrath of inflation, while “Adani and Ambani are making profits selling Chinese goods,” the Congress leader alleged.
“You will ask me why my speech is not shown in the media. In the media, Modi ji, Ambani ji, Adani ji and Ramdev Baba will be seen for 24 hours. Rahul Gandhi will not be seen because he talks about issues (of people),” he said.
Gandhi further asked people if they have seen those from the backward segments, Dalits and OBCs as the owners of big hospitals or universities.
“You have slept and accepted loss…chanting ‘Jai Shri Ram, Jai Shri Ram’ for 24 hours. It is good but your money is being snatched everyday and you are dying of hunger,” he said.
He further appealed to the people to not get addicted to mobile phones and urged them to focus on the real issues.
“If I had come here 100 years ago and asked about the things that get you addicted, you would have answered – liquor, cannabis and charas. Nasha means a person not paying attention to his/her own life and getting diverted to other things,” he said.
Nowadays, people and students are hooked to their mobile phones for 8-10 hours (in a day) which is the “most dangerous addiction,” Gandhi asserted.
“You people are not able to understand. You are spending 24 hours on your mobile phone. Your attention is being diverted,” he said.
Gandhi said whether people visit a temple, mosque, gurdwara or watch a mobile phone, they should ask one question to themselves everyday that how much money they are getting from the country’s funds.
“The day 10 lakh people start asking this question, the entire country will be shaken. I don’t feel good saying that you don’t understand (issues). But, indeed, your pocket is being robbed and you are being misled,” he said.
Gandhi also targeted Prime Minister Narendra Modi, claiming he was earlier in a general category caste which was included in the OBC (Other Backward Classes) list in 2000 under the then Gujarat BJP government led by Modi.
“Now you will say I am also not an OBC. I am not an OBC, but I don’t like injustice,” he added.
Gandhi also criticised the Agnipath scheme for short-term recruitment of soldiers as Agniveers in the armed forces, and claimed the Army and the country were being divided into two parts.
The Congress leader offered the microphone to a retired army man, who was with him in his jeep, and the latter then spoke on recruitment for government vacancies.
Gandhi subsequently said, “I forget that I am not Modi ji who does not commit mistakes. I am like you (people). Vacancies for the government posts should be filled as it is the public’s right to get jobs.”
The Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra entered Chhattisgarh on February 8 from neighbouring Odisha and after a break of two days resumed from Raigarh district on February 11. It passed through Raigarh and Sakti districts on Sunday and resumed from Korba on Monday. (PTI)