After land bill, Rahul takes on Modi govt over fishermen’s plight

After land bill, Rahul takes on Modi govt over fishermen'sCHAVAKKAD, Kerala: After his aggressive pitch against the land bill, Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi today reached out to the fishing community by attacking the Modi government’s decision to extend the ban on trawling, declaring “mother sea” cannot be taken away from them.

“Land is the Kisan’s mother, sea is your mother and they want to take your mother and give it to someone else,” he told a fishermen’s ‘Sangamam’ (conclave) here on the second day of his Kerala visit.

Fishermen in Kerala are on the warpath against the Centre’s decision to extend trawling ban from 45 days to 61 days to protect marine health and also certain provisions of the Meenakumari report on deep sea fishing in coastal areas of the country.

Rahul, who led the opposition assault against the Modi government over the controversial land bill, forcing it to be referred to a joint Parliamentary committee, described the farmers, fisherfolk and tribals as the “soul” of the nation and vowed to safeguard their rights.

“NDA government is not picking a fight with poor fishermen, farmers and tribals, but with the soul of the country,” Gandhi said and warned that “nobody has ever won the fight against the soul of the country.”

“I am telling you from this stage, they (Centre) should be very, very careful, about whom they are confronting,” the Congress leader asserted as he took yet another jibe at the ‘suit-boot ki sarkar’.

“We are going to fight for every single person who feels oppressed… we are not scared of Narendra Modi or his five or six friends in suits,” he said.

He said the central government thinks farmers, fishermen, tribals and small businessmen are “weak” and can be “pushed aside”. Rahul said during his visits to Telangana, Maharashtra and Punjab farmers complained about NDA government trying to take away their land.

“Why is the NDA government intent on destroying us? Why are they not giving us correct MSP (minimum support price)? Why are they not giving us bonus and why are they not supporting us during rains and hailstorms?” he asked.

“The (Central) government is trying to take away the sea from fishermen as it is taking away precious land of farmers,” he said, adding Prime Minister Narendra Modi thinks “poor people don’t make this country”.

“Land has become gold in India. They want to give the gold to their friends and not to Kisan,” Gandhi said, adding, “exactly” the same thing was being done to fishermen.

Rahul had raised the issue of trawling ban during the Budget session of Parliament too and accused the Modi government of acting against the interest of fishermen in coastal states.

He also promised to launch a national forum for fishermen in the country and said he would discuss the issue with Congress president Sonia Gandhi.

“I am going to discuss with Congress President and we are going to get a fishermen Congress union at the national level,” he said.

Rahul also visited a fisherfolk colony to see their condition and was presented a replica of a traditional country boat and a hat worn by fishermen at sea.–PTI

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