Korba (PTI): Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Monday attacked the central government claiming that resources are being diverted for select few industrialists as the majority of the population especially the impoverished were being neglected. Speaking at a public gathering in Sitamadi, Chhattisgarh, as part of his 'Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra', Gandhi urged citizens to awaken to what he described as their dwindling financial resources, claiming that they were being deceived and robbed.
Emphasising the necessity of a caste census, Gandhi highlighted the absence of representation from marginalised communities such as backward classes, Dalits, and Adivasis in the upper echelons of India's top 200 companies, which he claimed were monopolising the country's wealth.
Critiquing the BJP's vision of a "Hindu Rashtra," Gandhi asserted that the majority of the population, especially the impoverished, was being neglected, with resources mainly benefiting a select few industrialists.
He pointed out the disparity between the elite figures present at events like the Ram Mandir inauguration and the everyday struggles faced by the common people.
"Tell me, have you seen any poor, labourer, unemployed person or small businessmen at the Ram Mandir inauguration (last month)? I only saw (Gautam) Adani ji, (Mukesh) Ambani ji, Amitabh Bachahn, Aishwarya Rai and other big businessmen. Adani ji, Ambani ji and their families were giving big statements," Gandhi said.
Accusing corporate giants like Adani and Ambani of profiting from the sale of Chinese goods at the expense of the citizens' welfare, the Congress leader labelled this as economic injustice.
Gandhi lamented the media's focus on certain prominent individuals asserting that his messages addressing pertinent issues were often sidelined.
"You will ask me why my speech is not shown in the media. In the media, (Prime Minister Narendra) 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 these issues," he said.
The Congress MP asked people if they have seen the backward, Dalit and OBC persons 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 claimed.
The Congress leader also made an unusual appeal asking people to redirect their attention from mobile phones to pressing concerns and warned against the dangers of excessive screen time, which he deemed as a significant modern addiction leading to societal apathy.
"If I had come here 100 years ago and asked about the things that make you addicted, you would have answered - liquor, cannabis and charas. Nasha means a person not paying attention to his/her own life and diverted to other things.
"Nowadays, people and students are hooked to their mobile phones for 8-10 hours (in a day) which is the most dangerous addiction," Gandhi said.
Instead, Gandhi wished that people should question the allocation of funds and ask for their own share in the nation's resources, suggesting that such awareness will bring a transformative change in the country.
"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.
In a critical remark directed at Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Gandhi claimed of his inclusion in the OBC list in Gujarat in 2000, questioning the motives behind such actions.
BJP leaders including Union Home Minister Amit Shah have criticised Gandhi over his claims about the caste of the Prime Minister saying the Congress leader has a habit of telling lies publicly and repeating those thereafter.
Shah had said on Saturday that it was a Congress government in Gujarat that included Modi's caste in the list of Other Backward Classes (OBC) in 1994 and the Centre included in its OBC list in 2000 after receiving a proposal from the then state government.
Till then, the Prime Minister was holding no position of power -- not an MP, not an MLA nor even a sarpanch. He became the chief minister of Gujarat only in 2001.
Gandhi also criticised the Agnipath scheme, expressing concerns about its impact on the unity of the armed forces and the nation as a whole and later offered a microphone to a retired army man to buttress his claim.
During his address, Gandhi also stressed on the urgency of filling government job vacancies to uphold the public's right to employment opportunities, underscoring the importance of addressing this issue promptly.
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New Delhi, Mar 4: The probe into the blast at a cafe in Bengaluru has been handed over to the National Investigation Agency (NIA), sources said on Monday.
At least nine people were injured when a blast took place at Rameshwaram Cafe in Brookfield in East Bengaluru on March 1.
According to the sources, the investigation into the explosion has been handed over to the NIA.
A man wearing a cap, mask and glasses is the prime suspect in the case and is still untraceable, the sources said.