Rahul counters PM on Nehru remark, pledges mining return in Goa

ByGerard de Souza, Panaji
Feb 12, 2022 02:31 AM IST

Elections to the 40-member Goa legislative assembly are scheduled for February 14 and counting will be on March 10. A total of 332 candidates are in the fray for the elections

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Friday slammed Prime Minister Narendra Modi over his statement that if Jawaharlal Nehru wanted, Goa could have been liberated “within hours” in 1947 when India attained Independence, and accused him of distracting the people from real issues like environment and employment.

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, who is on his third visit to the coastal state, promised to start sustainable mining in the state. (ANI)
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, who is on his third visit to the coastal state, promised to start sustainable mining in the state. (ANI)

PM Modi, while addressing an election rally at Mapusa near Panaji on Thursday, had said it took 15 years for the Congress government to liberate Goa from Portuguese rule.

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Hitting back at the PM during a press conference in Margao, Gandhi said, “PM does not understand the history of those times, he does not understand what was going on post-World War II. He is coming to Goa to distract people from real issues like the environment and employment.”

Elections to the 40-member Goa legislative assembly are scheduled for February 14 and counting will be on March 10. A total of 332 candidates are in the fray for the elections.

Gandhi, who is on his third visit to the coastal state, also promised to start sustainable mining in the state. “We plan to restore sustainable mining. We have studied. There is no problem in restarting it. We will start it in a sustainable legal way and we will do it as soon as we come to power,” he said.

Around 300,000 people depend directly on mining for their livelihoods in the state Mining in the state stopped in 2012, and hopes that it could be revived received a further jolt with a Supreme Court ruling in 2018. Since then, multiple attempts have been made to restart mining but to no avail . Expectedly, the promise to revive mining in the state is one that is being toted out by all parties ahead of the elections.

Also Read | ‘Not afraid of PM Modi, his arrogance makes me laugh’: Rahul in Uttarakhand

Asked about the raging controversy over ‘hijab’, the Congress leader refused to comment and said he would not like to “get distracted” by the ongoing issue.

“I’m not going to get into a conversation that is going to distract the people of Goa. I’m here to focus on what is important for the people of Goa. My focus here is about the Goa election. I’m not going to fall into your trap of getting distracted by issue A or issue B. I’m here to have a conversation with the people of Goa. This is about the future of the people of Goa. This is about employment, this is about tourism, this is about not turning Goa into a coal hub. This is about the environment,” Gandhi said.

Gandhi has previously tweeted about the issue, saying that no student should be denied education.

The Congress leader also assured other welfare schemes for the state, including 30% reservation for women in government jobs. “We have proposed a ‘Nyay’ scheme of 6,000 a month to needy families, 30% reservation for women in government jobs. 500 crore for employment generation, which is very important for people and scrapping of the coal hub,” he said.

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