HOSHIARPUR: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Monday announced that if his party returned to the helm again in Punjab it will set up a cluster of food parks and the payment will be made directly to farmers for their produce.
Addressing an election rally in this town, Gandhi said Hoshiarpur is a centre of agriculture and farm tools.
“Our government will work to create a cluster of food parks and machine tools in Hoshiarpur. Whatever you grow in the food park, be it potato chips or tomato ketchup, everything can be manufactured by directly transferring your produce from farms to the food processing unit,” Gandhi said.
Taking a swipe at the BJP-led Central government, Gandhi said farmers of Punjab protested against the farm laws for one year, braving the winter and Covid-19. “Why? Because Narendra Modi wanted to give away our farmer’s toil to capitalists,” he said
“He (Modi) couldn’t give two minutes of silence in Parliament to farmers who died during the protest, didn’t give compensation as Rajasthan and Punjab governments did.”
Ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi visit to the state, Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi’s helicopter was not permitted to take off from Chandigarh owing to imposition of a ‘no-fly zone’.
Channi was supposed to fly to Hoshiarpur to attend Rahul Gandhi’s rally. However, Gandhi’s chopper was allowed to land in Hoshiarpur, some 120 km from the state capital.
“Did anyone benefit from the Goods and Service Tax (GST),” asked Gandhi, saying Charanjit Channi will run a government of small and medium traders and farmers.
“PM Modi said in every speech that he would deposit Rs 15 lakh in bank accounts and will give employment to 2 crore youth. Did anyone get it? Why does he not speak on corruption or employment? He did demonetisation, imposed GST. Who got benefitted?”
“If Channi can get fuel prices slashed, why can’t Modi do it? He won’t do it as his people benefit,” he added.
Punjab will go to the polls for its 117-member Assembly in a single phase on February 20. The votes will be counted on March 10.
The ruling Congress is facing challenges from the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), the Aam Aadmi Party and the BJP-Punjab Lok Congress alliance.