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Throw out 'corrupt' Naveen government: Rahul Gandhi

BS Reoprter  |  Kolkata/ Bhubaneswar 

General Secretary, today blasted the government in Orissa terming it as “corrupt and favouring the rich”. He called upon the people of the state to throw out the government in the next election.

“I urge the youths and party workers to go to villages, raise the voice of the poor, address their problems and throw out this government”, he said while addressing a public meeting here at the end of a two day visit to the state.

He accused the Naveen government of siphoning of funds meant for Centrally sponsored schemes under Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) and mid-day programme of Sarva Sikshya Abhiyaan (SSA). The benefits have not reached the beneficiaries under these schemes in the state, he said and referred to the CBI probe into irregularities in six districts and dal scam to make his point in this regard.

Stating that Orissa is not a poor state as it is endowed with huge mineral resources like iron ore and bauxite, Gandhi said, people of the state are poor as they have not benefited from the mining activities. Minerals are directly exported, which is wrong, he observed.

Comparing the problems of the Posco project in Orissa with Bhatta-Parsaul in the UP, Gandhi said, he is not against any development or project if the rights of poor people hit by the project are protected. “We do not have problem with any project. But there is problem with the end issue, compensation and rehabilitation of tribal and poor people. The poor should get benefit of the project, the locals should get employment and tribals should be comfortably rehabilitated”. He said, his party has prepared 30-point agenda for the Posco project and if these are complied, there will be no problem in implementation of the project.

Referring to his just concluded padayatra in Uttar Pradesh following allegation of forcible there, he said, the new bill, which will be tabled in the Parliament will benefit the poor and backward people who have a stake in the development. “In Orissa, I had fought for the rights of tribals in Niyamgiri and I am happy we won the battle”.

Addressing the media earlier in the day, Gandhi had described the state government as corrupt, but added the problem was more with implementation. He, however, said, the level of corruption here is not at par with the Uttar Pradesh government, which is the most corrupt state in the country.

Response to serial blasts in Mumbai yesterday, he said, it is difficult to stop every single terrorist act in the country though the Central government has taken some profound steps to improve the security environment. Due to effective vigilance and surveillance, 99 per cent of the terror attacks have been contained, but one per cent can always get through, he said.

He said, "It (terror attacks) is something we will fight and defeat. We are responding to it in a quite organized fashion".

When pointed out that there was no terror attack on the United States soil after the 9/11 strike whereas India often faced the menace, Gandhi said, the terror strikes against America has moved beyond the boundary of the US and many American soldiers have lost their lives in places like Afghanistan and Iraq.

On the Lok Pal bill, he towed the party line to say that the Prime Minister should not come under its purview when he is in office. “The Lok Pal bill is fundamental to fight corruption in the country. But the Prime Minister should not come under the purview of Lok Pal when he is office. Otherwise, it will open him to constant engagement which will affect his function and is not in the interest of the country”, he said, adding, the conduct of the Prime Minister could always be probed after he demits office.