Cong's assurances in manifesto not just commitment, but guarantee as credibility is important: Rahul in poll-bound Goa

03:31 PM Oct 30, 2021 | PTI |

Panaji: Kickstarting the Congress’s poll campaign in Goa, where Assembly elections are due early next year, Rahul Gandhi on Saturday asserted that the assurances that his party will give in its election manifesto in the state will not just be a commitment, but a ”guarantee” as not keeping the word will dent his credibility.


Addressing members of the fishermen community at Velsao beach in South Goa following his arrival in the state for his day-long visit, he said his party will prepare the poll manifesto in an open and transparent manner after holding talks with different stakeholders in the state, and its focus will be environment protection.

He also alleged that while the BJP indulges in hatred and divides people, the Congress spreads love and affection as it believes in uniting people and taking them forward.

”I am not here to waste your time or my time. Just as your time is important, my time is important…The commitment that we will make to you in manifesto is not just a commitment, but a guarantee,” he said.

”My credibility is important to me. Unlike many other leaders, when I say something here, I will make sure it happens. If I come here I say to you that we will not allow coal hub and I don’t do it, next time I come here I will have no credibility,” he said.


Gandhi said the party has fulfilled the commitments made to the farmers in Chhattisgarh on waiving their loan. ”You can go to Punjab and Karnataka, we did the same thing,” he said.

”We are going to write the Congress’s manifesto for the coming election. It is going to be written in an open and transparent way. We will have conversations with fishermen, environmentalists, workers, labourers in Goa and we will ask them what they want in Congress manifesto,” Gandhi added.

The thread that will run through the party’s manifesto will be protection of environment, of fishermen and of all the underprivileged people in the state, he said. ”I would encourage you to be involved in the discussion for the Congress manifesto. The party’s commitment is that whatever comes in the manifesto is going to be delivered. I will encourage you to be involved in conversation like this so that we are aware of what you want and we can put it in the manifesto,” he added.

When people present for the interaction raised the issue of uncontrolled construction on the beach front, Gandhi said the Congress, if voted to power in the state, will make sure that double tracking will not happen and Goa will not be converted into a coal hub.

In the 2017 Goa Assembly polls, the Congress had won the highest 17 seats in the 40-member House, restricting the main opponent BJP to 13. But, the saffron party moved swiftly to ally with regional parties and came to power. The Congress had accused the BJP of ”stealing” the mandate, a charge the saffron party rejected.

Gandhi said that through the interaction he came to know about a few issues that are disturbing the people of Goa. ”We are going to make sure that your environment is protected here and Goa does not become a coal hub,” he added.

”I love the sea here. Sometimes, when my mother is not feeling well, she comes here. She take benefit of your beautiful sea and environment…We are protecting the environment just not for the people of Goa but for all the other people,” he said.

But at the same time, there has to be a balance between development and environment, Gandhi said, adding, ”There should be a balance between big fishermen and small fishermen, balance between big hotels and home-stays. And the most important thing is that the balance has to be in favour of people of Goa and in particular people who are poorer,” he said. According to him, development must not happen for a couple of businessmen alone as they have huge amount of money to influence the system. ”The role of the government is to defend the rights of the people. A clean environment is your right, it is the duty of government to protect your rights,” he said.

Slamming the BJP, he said, ”I want to make very clear what is the difference between the BJP and the Congress is. The Congress believes in uniting India’s people and taking them forward. For us, every single Indian has the right to be given the space that he requires.” Congress’s response to the hatred spread by BJP is love and affection. So, wherever they spread anger hatred and division, we spread love and affection, he added. Gandhi alleged that there are two-three businessmen who are benefiting out of the rise in petrol and diesel prices. ”When the UPA government was in power, the international crude prices had reached USD 140 dollars per barrel. Today, it is much lower, but you pay much more for petrol and diesel. Today, India’s tax on petrol is amongst the highest in the world, that is why you are paying high prices for the petrol,” he said.

You have to ask yourself where is the money going and who are the people who are benefited with the coal hub and price of petrol, he asked those present.


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