July 25, 2015
Coming down heavily on Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi for interacting with the people and farmers of only non-Congress ruled states, Union Minister Nirmala Sitharaman today challenged him to visit his party ruled states to know the ground realities.
Speaking to reporters, the Minister said: “I Challenge Rahul Gandhi, who is typical in handling the situation, to go to Congress ruled States, especially Karnataka, where a
large number of farmer suicides happened during the last few months.”
At least he should have gone to Maharashtra, where the highest number of farmer suicides happened during his party rule, she said. “What solutions did he have for these suicides, which happened in Tamil Nadu and Anantpur in Andhra Pradesh ?” she asked.
Blaming Rahul for the withdrawal of a project by POSCO in Odisha, after calling himself a ‘sipahi’ when he visited tribals there, the Minister said that the tone with which he asserted that he would not allow a piece of land to be acquired by the Government appeared to be that he was against development.
After all, it was for the benefit of those very people that the land was being acquired to build bridges, roads and infrastructure, she added.
When pointed out that a cross section of the people was not happy with the performance of Narendra Modi’s one year rule, who had led people to have high expectations, the Minister said: “In fact, the impression what I get about the BJP Government is that against the terrible odds and environment it is trying to revive the economy, which was in shambles for the last 10 years.”
It was providing a transparent Government, as was evident from the auction of coal and spectrum, from which the nation received Rs.2 lakh crore, with the Supreme Court cancelling 122 blocks, she said.
“The mandate is for five years, we are just 12 months, give us time to redress the situation which had fallen to such a level,” she said.
On the ongoing stalling of the Parliament session the Minister expressed hope that the situation would come to normal. Though the Government was willing for a debate, the Opposition had backed out, as some of their leaders did not want discussions.
When asked about Union Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh’s controversial statement on farmers’ suicide, which created furore, Ms. Sitharaman said that it was being misinterpreted. He was referring to the statistics on death by the National Crime Bureau, she said.On the criticism by Opposition parties about on frequent visits by ministers to foreign countries, which had a bearing on tax payers’ money, the Minister said that Congress leaders were facing a large number of corruption charges and there was no response for these issues.
To a question on parties vying with each other to impose total prohibition in Tamil Nadu, the Minister said that it was shocking to watch a 4-year old drinking liquor.
Stating that the BJP had made it clear that it wanted total prohibition imposed in the State, the Minister said: “I feel prohibition could be a major poll plank in the coming Assembly elections.”