Nagaon: Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi on Friday used the MGNREGA card to target Prime Minister Narendra Modi, saying that there was a difference in his own government about the welfare scheme launched by the former UPA regime.
He said Prime Minister Modi criticizes the MGNREGA, saying it was a big mistake on the part of the Congress, while his own Finance Minister Arun Jaitley praises the scheme and promises of investing more to develop it.
Addressing a rally here in Assam, he said, "In 2014, Narendra Modi became the Prime Minister. And in the Parliament he said that MGNREGA is worst ever scheme possible. He said that he will not bring an end to it but would continue with it so that the whole nation knows what big mistake the Congress Party had committed by implementing this scheme."
"Later on I met Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and asked him whether he believed what the Prime Minister was saying about MGNREGA. He told me that there was a huge contribution of this scheme towards the economic growth during the UPA regime. The money that came to the villages was because of the MGNREGA. So we will not stop this scheme and would invest more," he added.
Gandhi said that the Modi Government only makes false promises, but when it comes to show their work, it comes out with some 'fair and lovely' scheme.
The Congress vice-president also said that if the country wants to bring about change in Indian politics then it must strengthen hands of leaders in the Panchayat.
"The 73rd and the 74th amendment of the Indian Constitution transferred the power from the hands of MPs and MLAs to the leaders in the Panchayats. We want that more and more of the Panchayat leaders should come to the Vidhan Sabha and the Lok Sabha and the government carries most of the functions through them only," he said.
"During the UPA regime, we tried to provide panchayats with power as much as possible. We wanted to run the government with their help. MGNREGA, Bhojan ka adhikar, Mid-day meal scheme, Indira Awas Yojana, all these schemes were run by the government through the panchayats. I am happy that we made a lot of progress with their help," he added.
The Congress vice-president, who is presently on a two-day visit to the state, had earlier last month addressed four rallies in northern and upper Assam.
Gandhi's visit assumes significance as Assam votes in two phases on April 4 and 11 to elect a new government.