Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra campaigns in Kerala on Tuesday. (INCIndia Twitter)
New Delhi: Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra on Tuesday campaigned in Kerala, where Congress swept the 2019 Lok Sabha polls by winning 15 out of 20 seats.
Her campaigning coincided with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the state, who campaigned for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
The 2021 Kerala Legislative Assembly election is scheduled to be held in Kerala on April 6, 2021, to elect 140 MLAs to the 15th Kerala Legislative Assembly. The results will be declared on 2nd May.
The Congress general secretary attacked ruling Left (Communist Party of India-Marxist or CPI (M)-led Left Democratic Front or LDF) and rival Right (BJP-RSS) in Kattakada, Thiruvananthapuram; and Karunagappalli, Kollam.
Launching a scathing attack on Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, Priyanka accused him of being complicit in the scams.
“Every time a new scam emerges; the CM says he has no idea. I want to ask him, if he has no idea what is happening under his nose then who is running the government,” asked the Congress leader.
She also cornered Vijayan over alleged EMCC and Gold scams.
“In the EMCC scam, WhatApp chats from his own office were revealed. People from his office are allegedly involved in the gold scam and he says he has no idea,”
Kerala government is facing allegation of corruption in permitting US company EMCC International for fishing on Kerala coast.
The gold scam relates to seizure of 30 kilograms of gold at the Thiruvananthapuram International Airport on July 5, 2020.
The Air cargo, classified as diplomatic baggage, was addressed to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Consulate. The smuggling racket has turned into a political controversy as Pinarayi Vijayan’s principal secretary M Sivasankar was arrested in October 2020 in the case.
Priyanka also questioned Vijayan over alleged Kerala life mission project scam.
“LDF Govt used proxy funds to receive funds from a foreign agency in the Kerala life mission project scam. It appears he (Vijayan) knows nothing about this as well.”
The case relating to the Life Mission, the Kerala government’s housing project for the homeless, involves a corruption allegation into the award of the contract to build 144 apartments in at Wadakkancherry in Thrissur district.
In February this year, Kerala CM’s ex-principal secretary M Sivasankar was granted bail in gold smuggling case.
The Congress leader also accused the ruling CPI-M of pocketing flood relief money.
“In the flood fund scam, Rs. 15 crore, meant to be relief money for flood victims, was taken by members of CPI-M and put into their accounts.”
She said that the in last five years, the LDF government hasn’t done much to make Kerala stronger and “instead a lot of money has been pumped into public relations campaigns”.
The Congress leader also pointed gun at the BJP and Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).
She alleged that the BJP and RSS only talk about women when they seek their votes in elections.
“When the BJP and RSS make hollow statements about protecting women, it is a farce because they do not respect women. Except for election time when BJP and RSS want women’s votes, they spend all their time telling women what to wear, how to dress, how to work, where to go, how to go there.”
She also equated the Kerala government and BJP ruled Uttar Pradesh government in handling rape cases.
“LDF Govt’s handling of Walayar rape case is similar to U.P Govt’s handling of Hathras rape case. They tried to hide evidence, they tried to show it as a suicide, they diluted the investigation,” Priyanka alleged.
It’s notable that Walayar rape case relates to the death of two minor sisters in 2017. The older sister, aged 13, was found hanging in her room on January 13, 2017. The younger sister, aged 09, was also found in her home on March 4. The three accused were acquitted on October 25, 2020. The mother of the two minor girls has pointed to lapses in the police probe and interference at local political levels as reasons for the accused to go scot-free in the case.
The gang-rape and murder of a Dalit woman in Uttar Pradesh’s Hathras in September 2020 hit headlines when there was a sharp public outcry following allegations that the victim’s body was hurriedly cremated in the early hours of September 30. However, unlike the Kerala government, UP’s Yogi Adityanath government handed over the case to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).
The CBI on December 18, 2020 filed a charge sheet against four accused persons: Sandeep, Luvkush, Ravi and Ramu and said they gang-raped and murdered the victim.
Appealing the voters to vote for Congress, Priyanka said, “The Congress Party wants to give you hope for a better future. We have made a vision document for the people of Kerala.”
The grand-old party has prepared ‘Congress’ vision for Kerala: -NYAY Yojna’, which promises to provide Rs. 6000/month for poor, Rs. 2000/month for housewives (age-40-60 years), 5 lakh homes for homeless, MSP for rubber, coconut, paddy, and Rohit Vemula Act to end discrimination.
Priyanka also accused the LDF government of shielding the killers of Congress workers.
“Many young Congress workers have been killed, the Government has spent money to defend their killers, they lathicharged students who were raising legitimate demands, demands of correct implementation of reservation.”
The Congress is leading the United Democratic Front (UDF), which is fighting the assembly polls to win the LDF ruled state.