Mandya (Karnataka): Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi on Saturday dismissed Prime Minister's remarks on the Dadri lynching incident, while accusing Modi and BJP of 'polarising the country' and having a 'strategy' to make Hindus and Muslims fight with each other.
Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi talking to media at an agricultural college in Mandya on Friday after meeting the families of farmers who committed suicide due to their crop failure. Pic/PTI
Reacting to Modi's first comments amid communal overtones in the wake of the lynching incident in Uttar Pradesh, where he pitched for communal harmony and brotherhood in the country, Rahul said, "It is nice for the Prime Minister to make such comments. But the Prime Minister has a history and the Prime Minister has a party that is behaving in a completely different way which he doesn't seem to want to stop."
Talking to reporters after visiting the families of farmers who committed suicide in this district, the leader said, "The BJP and the Prime Minister have a strategy of polarising this country. They have a strategy of making Hindus and Muslims fight with each other.
"That you can see in every election. There is a polarisation taking place. Riots are taking place. There were BJP people involved in the Dadri incident," he said.
Gandhi's remarks came in response to a question about the comments by the Prime Minister who broke his silence at an election rally in Bihar yesterday amidst the raging row over the Dadri lynching incident, wherein a 50-year-old man was lynched in Dadri over rumors of consuming beef.
In his speech, Modi had said Hindus and Muslims should decide whether to "fight each other" or "together" to overcome poverty while asking the people to ignore 'irresponsible' statements of politicians.
"The country has to stay united," Modi had asserted while he invoked President Pranab Mukherjee who underlined the need to maintain India's core values of diversity, tolerance and plurality.
During his tour, Gandhi comforted the families of farmers who committed suicide in two villages of Mandya district, known as the sugarcane belt. The area alone has seen 56 suicides in the last six months, the highest in the state, where 541 farmers have taken away their lives during the period.
The leader also interacted with select progressive farmers and students.
Gandhi attacked the BJP-led government at the Centre, particularly targeting Modi, stating that they were not being "sensitive" to the issues concerning farmers and were viewing the states ruled by the BJP and Congress differently.
"Any state that is Congress ruled, they have a different policy. When the UPA was in government, we viewed Indian farmers as Indian farmers. We did not view them as Karnataka farmers or Bihar farmers or as Jharkhand farmers," He said the reality was that there was an agrarian crisis in the country and it was very important that the farmers who "give their lives for the country" were supported.
The "sad part" was that the support that the Central government should be giving to Karnataka was "missing" and the state's demands were not "really taken seriously."
"The central government does not seem to think that agriculture or a kissan is important," Gandhi said.
Whether it is the issue of MSP or crops being destroyed by bad weather, the government did not seem to have a strategy, he said.
"This is a very unfortunate thing. Farmers are committing suicide in large numbers. The central government needs to do something about it and the Prime Minister needs to take a look at this and help kissans of this country."
Reiterating his claim of BJP government looking at states differently, Gandhi said, "If the state is controlled by them, they have a different idea. If the state is not controlled by them, then they have a different idea. It is very sad. The people who are suffering are the Indian people."
Gandhi said the issue was "how sensitive you are to the farmers. The farmers are struggling."
The UPA when in power had supported the farmers with loan waiver amounting to Rs 70,000 crore, he said.
"The Prime Minister goes everywhere. He goes to the US and other countries. He should also spend some time with the farmers of this country and farmers of Karnataka," he noted.
On being asked further about the agrarian crisis and the sudden jump in farmer suicides in the Congress-ruled Karnataka, he said they had discussed a strategy, which government would implement. When queried whether a loan waiver was being considered, Gandhi said, "We are trying to go and support kissans in Karnataka. We are going to help him. It is not just one simple thing."
Gandhi was accompanied by Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, party senior leader and in charge of Karnataka Digvijay Singh and KPCC President G Parameshwara.