Chandrapur (Maha), Jun 13: Stepping up his attack on Narendra Modi, Congress President Rahul Gandhi today alleged the Prime Minister's intentions were not clean and instead of addressing the problems being faced by farmers, he was helping his industrialist friends. He charged that rather than focusing on real issues like unemployment, agriculture, education and health, Modi was busy doing yoga, Swachh Bharat Mission and "making people fight among themselves".
Gandhi, who visited Nanded village in Chandrapur district in Vidarbha region today to meet the kin of late Dadaji Khobragade, the rural inventor who revolutionised rice farming, later spoke at a 'chaupal', an interactive session with the local residents there.
"Prime minister Narendra Modi is giving away thousands of crores of bank money to Nirav Modi and his other friends... How many jobs did Nirav Modi create after taking Rs 35,000 crore from the banks?" Gandhi asked.
"Had Dadaji Khobragade been given just Rs 5 crore, he would have generated 5,000 jobs. The one who has the knowledge, who works hard every day is not supported by the government... just showering awards does not help," he added.
He said the bank money should have been directed towards farmers, small businesses and researchers, which would have created more employment opportunities.
"Modi is channelising the bank money to waive loans of 15 to 20 industrialists and filling their pockets. Nirav Modi ran away with Rs 35,000 crore...This is the amount which the UPA government had put in MNEREGA. The PM did not fulfil any of his promises because his intentions are not clean," the Congress chief said.
Modi had promised two crore jobs and the youth of the country were expecting that the government money would be directed towards those who would create jobs for them. However, four years have passed and the youth is feeling cheated, Gandhi alleged.
"Today, the main issues before the country are employment, agriculture, education and health. But if you look, Modi, his focus is yoga, Swachh Bharat and making people fight among themselves, and not the major issues," Gandhi alleged.
"The leader of the country has to show the way to its people and instil a sense of trust in them...The PM or a CM can do a lot for the people if their intentions are clean," he said.
Replying to a query on farmers suicides, Gandhi said, "I want to help the people who have been long forgotten. Today, our farmers are in pain and frightened.
"We want to instil hope in them by addressing the farm loan issues and by building farm-to-market infrastructure facilities like cold storages, roadways and giving bank support," he added.
Before the public gathering, Gandhi met the kin of Khobragade and apologised for the nation's "apathy" towards his achievements. Khobragade had invented the revolutionary HMT variety of paddy, but died "largely forgotten and in penury", Gandhi alleged.
The 78-year-old rice innovator died earlier this month after a prolonged illness in Gadchiroli district. "Dadaji Khobragade, a Dalit farmer-scientist, invented the revolutionary HMT variety of paddy. But, he died largely forgotten and in penury. I visited his home in Nanded, Maharashtra, to condole with his family and to apologise for our apathy as a nation, to his achievements," Gandhi said on Twitter.
Congress general secretary Ashok Gehlot, senior leader Mohan Prakash, party's Maharashtra unit chief Ashok Chavan and Leader of Opposition in the state Assembly Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil accompanied Gandhi during the visit.
"Rahulji enquired about the various rice varieties he has developed. Rahulji was also keen to know how did their father (Khobragade) become so successful in developing so many varieties of paddy," Chavan told PTI.
The issue of patenting the rice varieties was also discussed at the meeting with his family members, he said.
"Dadaji Khobragade developed 11 varieties of rice. However, none of them has been patented. The Congress has decided to follow up this issue with the state government and the Centre," Chavan said.
Gandhi had a 20-minute meeting with Khobragade's family members, he said.
Cheques of Rs 2.5 lakh by the Congress and Rs 5 lakh by Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil was handed over to the kin of Khobragade.