Rahul Gandhi kicks off Karnataka poll campaign, promises jobs and allowances
Senior Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Monday unveiled the party’s fourth poll promise ahead of crucial assembly elections in the state- a ₹3000 unemployment allowance for two years for those with graduation degrees.
Addressing a gathering in Belagavi called the Yuvakranti Samavesha, Gandhi also said that unemployed young people with diplomas will be given ₹1,500 every month. The other three campaign promises announced by the Congress thus far have been 10 kilograms of free rice for Below Poverty Line(BPL) cardholders, 200 units of free electricity per month, and ₹2000 to housewives under the “Gruha Lakshmi Scheme”.
Gandhi said, “I met all kinds of people during the Bharat Jodo yatra. Most of the young men and women that I interacted with told me that they suffer from unemployment. The government is not helping them find jobs, and they were desperate. Hence, we have come up with this promise, that we are calling the Congress guarantee,” Gandhi said.
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He said that while the Yuva Nidhi is aimed at protecting the interests of unemployed youth, the Congress would also actively work towards providing 10 lakh jobs if they are voted to power. “We won’t stop there. In this state, the Congress government will give employment to 10 lakh people. The 2.5 lakh vacancies in government jobs will also be filled,” Gandhi added.
Gandhi targeted the Bavaraj Bommai led BJP government on issues of corruption, and said that the Congress would form a government for the “poor, weak and small traders.” “Congress will sweep the elections in the state. Why? Because the BJP government (in Karnataka) is a 40 per cent commission government. The people of the state want to get rid of this government.”
He pointed to the case where BJP MLA Madal Virupakshappa’s son was apprehended by the Lokayukta for allegedly accepting a ₹6 crore bribe but said that no action has been taken, and the government is protecting him. The MLA has rejected allegations of corruption and called it a conspiracy. He however did resign from his post of chairman of the Karnataka Soaps and Detergents Limited(KSDL) on March 3.
Gandhi said that there were several “job scams” that had plagued the state including in the recruitment of police sub-inspectors (PSI), assistant professors, and assistant engineers. “This is the most corrupt government in the whole country. Corruption is happening because all benefits are going to just two to three people,” Gandhi said.
Gandhi said, “Whether it is airports, ports, roads, are all being given to Adani and the same thing is happening here (in Karnataka). Select few people who are BJP government’s friends, all the benefits are being given to them. Because of this, there is rampant corruption in the state.”
In a state where both the Congress, and the incumbent BJP have been beset by infighting, Gandhi said that the Congress would make it a point to fight the election united. “We will fight the election together. All Congress leaders will fight together,” he said.
Responding to the Congress’ announcement, BJP’s south Bengaluru MP Tejasvi Surya said tweeted that while Prime Minister Narendra Modi is announcing schemes to create employment, the Congress is offering money to the youth. “PM Modi will give you Start Up India, Digital India, AgroStart Ups, better highways, airports, universities. Build your future! Rahul Gandhi in Karnataka: I will give you ₹3000 per month. A clear indication of how disconnected Congress is from today’s aspirational youth,” Surya said.
Later in the day, addressing a rally in his constituency of Wayanad in Kerala, Gandhi said that he would “continue to stand for the truth no matter how many times the police are sent to my house.” This comes a day after Gandhi after the Delhi Police arrived at his residence on Sunday, seeking details of sexual assault victims he had mentioned in a speech during the Bharat Jodo Yatra in Kashmir. “Many people may be scared of the Prime Minister, BJP, RSS and the police, but I am not. It does not matter how much I am attacked, how many times police are sent to my house or how many cases are there on me, I always stand for the truth,” he said.