Sirmaur, Himachal Pradesh:
Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra on Thursday said promising return of old pension scheme by her party was not an election “jumla” as she accused the BJP of questioning the financial viability of the move while waiving loans of big industrialists.
Addressing a rally on the last day of campaigning for the assembly polls, she also slammed Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other BJP leaders for their remarks that the Congress cannot give a stable government and asserted that her party gave the most stable governments since the Independence.
“Who created instability? Who made the governments fall by buying MLAs?” she asked.
Priyanka Gandhi also took on the BJP on the issue of unemployment and asked why 63,000 vacant government posts had not been filled during its five-year tenure.
When the first cabinet meeting takes place of a Congress government in Himachal Pradesh, one lakh jobs would be provided to youth and old pension scheme will be back.
“Himachal Pradesh was made by government employees, you must be respected,” the Congress general secretary said.
The old pension scheme is not an “election jumla” and it has already been implemented in Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan, she said.
“The BJP leaders say it is not financially viable. You can waive loans of big industrialist friends but you don’t have money for the government employees. Where does the money come for waiving those loans, it comes from the people” she said, hitting out at the ruling party.
Priyanka Gandhi claimed there are 30 lakh youth in the state and 15 lakh of them are vacant, but despite that thousands of posts remain.
“Their (BJP) intentions are not good. Don’t get mislead by them. Listen to their election campaign closely, they do not talk about reducing prices, providing jobs,” she said and lauded the work done by previous chief ministers belonging to the Congress such as Yashwant Parmar and Virbhadra Singh.
“The Congress wants to work for the people. In five years, it will make efforts to give five lakh jobs,” she said.
“If the BJP’s intention was to create jobs, PSUs would not have been sold, small businesses would not have been forced to shut down or government posts kept vacant,” Priyanka Gandhi said.
She urged the people to vote according to their own experience, say “Jai Ram ji ki” to Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur and not be misled. ‘Jai Ram ji ki is a farewell greeting often used in north India.
Hitting out at the prime minister’s remarks at a rally in Himachal Pradesh while pitching for another term for the BJP that changing medicines frequently neither helps in curing the ailment nor benefits anyone, Ms Gandhi said “all this talk is nonsense”.
Towards the end of her speech, Priyanka Gandhi shouted the slogan “Bharat Mata Ki Jai” and asked people to protect the country and their state.
“Members of my family gave life for this country. Thousands from Himachal have given life for this country at the borders,” she said.
Earlier, in a Facebook post in Hindi, Priyanka Gandhi had alleged that the BJP has “snatched” the economic security of the elderly by doing away with the old pension scheme. She repeated that her party will bring it back in Himachal Pradesh and Gujarat if it forms governments there.
Priyanka Gandhi said the Congress believes that the employees who have contributed to nation-building should get a pension so that they don’t have to depend on anyone in old age.
This is the right of every employee and keeping this in mind, the Congress governments of Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan have implemented the old pension scheme, the Congress general secretary said.
“By abolishing the old pension scheme, the BJP snatched the financial security of the elderly in the country. The people who serve the country throughout their life, where should they go in old age? How would they make ends meet” she asked in her post.
“When a person joins a government job, he thinks that when he retires, he will not have to face financial insecurity and he will continue to be supported through his pension. But the BJP only knows how to snatch. Our soldiers who protect the country at the borders while risking their lives, their economic security is also being snatched away one by one,” she alleged.
The Congress is determined that the old pension scheme will be implemented in Himachal Pradesh and Gujarat as soon as it comes to power in the two states, she said.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)
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