Rahul attacks Bengal’s Left Front for lack of development

Purulia (West Bengal), April 24 (Inditop) Launching a blistering attack on the Left Front government, Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi Friday accused it of failing to provide basic facilities like health and education and not utilising central funds for welfare schemes.

“We have sent money for you from Delhi for implementing welfare programmes. But the state government did not implement them… Thousands of crores are left unutilised… Even 40 percent of the funds for the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA) were not utilised,” Gandhi said at an election rally here, about 320 km from Kolkata.

Gandhi, who came in a helicopter about an hour and a half behind schedule to this tribal-dominated district, was given a cheerful welcome by thousands of supporters of the Congress and its ally Trinamool Congress.

In an enthusiastic mood, Gandhi waved at people as he walked from the helipad to the stage on Sainik School Ground, 10 km Purulia town.

Claiming the state government had not managed to give enough work to people in Purulia, he said: “There are 400,000 NREGA cards in Purulia, but only 950 people got 100 days’ work.”

In contrast, every eligible person’s name has been fed into computers in Andhra Pradesh and 100 days’ job ensured, he said.

Describing Purulia as a backward district, Gandhi said: “The education level here is low. There are no signs of health facilities. The Maoists are active. It seems your Left (Front) government has forgotten you.”

Pointing out that people would not benefit till the state government implemented central schemes, Gandhi said: “I think you are also responsible for this. You should put pressure on the government. If the government does not work, change it.”

Gandhi said: “There is more hunger here than the rest of Hindustan. Is it not true?”

“We have to fight together. I can’t do it alone. I want to fight with you. Together we can win this battle for education and development of Purulia and against hunger,” said the leader, clad in a white kurta-pyjama.

During his brief eight-minute Hindi speech, he sought support of the Congress candidate from Purulia Shantiram Mahato.

Giving expression to his dream for future India, he said: “I feel India will not shine till every person gets education.”

Attacking the Left parties for withdrawing support to the Congress-led government on the India-US civilian nuclear deal last year, he said: “We told them we need the deal for the county’s future… for fulfilling our huge needs for electricity in future… They said no.”

Accusing the Left of lacking a futuristic outlook, Gandhi said: “They talk of the past. They don’t talk of the future. They are not interested in issues like future energy needs.”

Gandhi admitted that the country needed to fight terrorism, but the “biggest fight is against poverty” and appealed to people to choose a government in Delhi that would fight for the poor, backwards and the tribals”.

He also urged people to make Manmohan Singh the prime minister again. “When we formed the government we promised to work for the poor, the backward and tribals. We have fulfilled our promise,” he said.