Banswara (Rajasthan): Addressing a massive rally in Mangarh Dham in Rajasthan’s Banswara district on August 9, 2023, Former Congress President Shri Rahul Gandhi praised the social security schemes of the Rajasthan government and said, “While the Congress works to unite, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) works to spread hate and divide.”
After his blistering attack on the BJP during the ‘No-Confidence Motion’ debate in the Lok Sabha, Shri Rahul Gandhi kept up his attack on the ruling party at a public rally in Rajasthan where he accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of dividing Manipur and wanting “The fire in the state to continue burning.” The Congress MP Shri Rahul Gandhi also targeted the BJP’s tribal policies, accusing it of snatching forest land and giving it to businessman - Adani.
“BJP’s thinking set fire to Manipur. People and children are being killed. Women are being raped. I spoke in Parliament that ‘Bharat Mata’ has been murdered in Manipur by BJP’s ideology. The fire has been on for the last few months. If the PM wants, he can douse that fire in two to three days by directing the Indian Army,” he said.
The massive rally, organised on the occasion of International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples, marks the beginning of the Congress’ campaign for the Assembly polls in Rajasthan. The public rally was held at Mangarh Dham in tribal-dominated Banswara. The dham, a memorial for around 1,500 tribals massacred by the British army in 1913, is located in the district on the Gujarat-Rajasthan border.
“We run a government for the poor (and) the Adivasis. We work to bring people together, while they are spreading hatred across the country. I walked from Kanyakumari to Kashmir and passed through Rajasthan for the ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’. We gave a slogan: ‘Nafrat ke bazaar mein hum mohabbat ki dukaan kholte hain (Let’s open a shop of love in the market of hate)’. That is our job,” he said. Shri Rahul Gandhi spoke of his grandmother and former Prime Minister Smt. Indira Gandhi’s “deep connection with tribals”. He recalled an incident from 45 years ago when Indiraji gave him a book titled ‘Tendu: Ek adivasi bachha’ (Tendu: a tribal child).
“One day I asked her what the word ‘Adivasi’ meant. She told me that they are the first residents of Hindustan. This land of ours, which we call ‘Bharat’ today, used to be the land of Adivasis. She said that today’s modern society should understand life from Adivasis on how to behave with water, jungle and land.”
Referring to the Mangarh massacre of November 17, 1913, when the British killed about 1,500 tribals, He said, “The original maaliks (owners) of this Hindustan were martyred here by the bullets of the English.”
He added, “The BJP has come out with a new word, ‘Vanvasi’, which means one who resides in a jungle… They say neither you are Adivasi nor were you the first residents of Hindustan… This is an insult to you, to Bharat Mata, and the entire country.”
The Congress leader claimed that the BJP and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) do not want tribals to “venture out” beyond jungles. “They want to impose the stamp of a ‘Vanvasi’ on you, which means you are a forest dweller and less than others. We are not ready to accept this. You are the maalik of this land … They call you ‘Vanvasi’, yet they snatch your jungle from you and hand it over to Adani ji,” he said, “whereas the Congress wants the tribal population to get their rights and their dreams fulfilled,” he added.
Comparing the BJP’s tribal policies with the Congress’, Shri Rahul Gandhi said, “We want you to succeed in whatever you do.”
“We gave you the rights to jungle, land and water. We gave the PESA (Panchayat Extension to Scheduled Areas Act, 1996), the Adivasi Bill…What did the BJP and RSS do? The tools we gave you, they cancelled one after the other. But you were Adivasis, are Adivasis, and will remain Adivasis. No one can change history. The reality is that this land first belonged to Adivasis and they should get rights to dream any dream in this country,” he said.
Former Congress President Shri Rahul Gandhi further promised to help all the people in need and asked them not to hesitate to reach him. “I am your soldier. I live in Delhi, but you can call me whenever you want. Ask me or our government whatever you want to...We will help you from our core of heart,” he said.
Appreciating the work of the Rajasthan government, he said that CM Chiranjeevi Health Insurance Scheme is the best insurance scheme in the country.
The Congress leader also informally launched the state government’s Indira Gandhi Smartphone Scheme by giving it to a schoolgirl. He also gave ‘Annapurna’ food packets to women as part of another scheme of the Rajasthan government.
CM Ashok Gehlot launched the mobile scheme on August 10, 2023. In the first phase of the scheme, 4 million women beneficiaries were distributed smartphones and SIM with data connectivity through telecom service providers authorized by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI).
Beneficiaries were able to choose the smartphone of their choice in the camps. For this, ` 6,800 were deposited in the e-wallet through DBT for smartphones and SIMs to the beneficiaries.
Speaking on the occasion, Chief Minister of Rajasthan Shri Ashok Gehlot said, “It is only Rahul Gandhi, who is fighting with these fascist forces, who are killing the democracy.”
He said that the Government of India only promised the development of this memorial. But the Rajasthan government will develop this Dham. The state is spending Rs. 100 crores for this work, Chief Minister added.
Chief Minister Shri Ashok Gehlot further assured that the Congress government will emerge successful in Rajasthan once again; due to its monumental work based on the ‘Work, Governance and Schemes’.
Rajasthan Pradesh Congress Committee President Shri Govind Singh Dotasra, and Party leader Shri Sachin Pilot also addressed the rally.