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Sonia targets Naveen govt on plight of farmers, tribals, women in Odisha


Odisha Sun Times Bureau

Baleswar, Apr 11:

Congress president Sonia Gandhi today tore into the BJD government in Odisha on the one count where it is at its most vulnerable: the plight of farmers, tribals and the poor in the state.

Sonia Gandhi
Sonia Gandhi

Addressing a rally here this afternoon, Gandhi accused the Naveen Patnaik government of gross apathy towards the farmers . “Over 4, 000 farmers have been forced to commit suicide because of the anti-farmer policies of the government. The UPA government has consistently raised the minimum support price (MSP), but the benefits have not reached the farmers in Odisha because of the apathy of the state government here,” she said.

The Congress chief also targeted the BJD government for not implementing the Food Security Act, enacted by the UPA government, in the state and its failure to ensure that the benefits of the Forest Rights Act reach the forest dwellers.

Sonia made the customary reference to the abundant natural resources of Odisha to make the point about the grinding poverty that the people of the state have been wallowing in.

Gandhi also took the Naveen Patnaik government to task for the series of scams in the state and made particular mention of the chit fund and MGNREGA scams in which ‘thousands of crores’ of public money has been swindled by these companies.

“While the Centre has allocated thousands of crores to the state, the BJD has looted the money. There was a scam of Rs 500 crore in six districts of the state in the implementation of MGNREGA,” she said.

The Congress president pointed to the growing atrocities against women in the state and blamed the BJD government for depriving women of their rights.

Turning her attention to the BJP, Gandhi said its only aim was to grab power and spread communalism across the country.  “Our principal opponent BJP’s only agenda is to oppose the Congress. It has no vision for the country and the people. Its only aim is to grab ‘Kurshi’. While Congress party takes everyone along for the all-round prosperity of the country, it spreads communalism and divides the society,” she said.

Sonia rounded off with a long list of achievements that she said the UPA had to its credit during its 10-year old reign including the Forest Rights Act and the Food Security Act. She promised to add a Right to Health if the Congress is voted back to power.