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Everybody has understood MGNREGA benefits, but not Modi: Rahul

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Bandlapalli (AP): As UPA’s flagship scheme MGNREGA completed 10 years on Tuesday, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi attacked Prime Minister Narendra Modi for “failing” to understand its benefits and said the NDA government wants to “finish” a rural job guarantee scheme that has come under all-round praise.


The poor, workers, farmers, economists, the United Nations and the World Bank have understood the benefits of the scheme, he said and claimed Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley himself praised the programme in private.

“…but the Prime Minister of India has not understood this,” he said at a public meeting in this village in Ananthapur district, where then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress President Sonia Gandhi launched the programme a decade ago.

A host of Congress leaders, including Singh, Anand Sharma, Mallikarjuna Kharge, Mani Shankar Aiyar, Ambika Soni and Meira Kumar were present at the meet, which appeared to be a show of strength by the main opposition party.

The BJP government at the Centre and TDP dispensation in Andhra Pradesh want to finish off MGNREGA. On one side there are BJP, TDP governments and on the other are farmers, workers and the poor of India and Andhra, he said. “Congress would stand by the poor, labourers and together we will strive to save MGNREGA and see that the money (wages) reaches (them).”

Gandhi said a few days ago Jaitley came to invite him for his daughter’s marriage and appreciated MGNREGA. “He (Jaitley) told me it’s a very good programme. I told him ‘Why don’t you say this outside? Why say so behind closed doors. Tell India that MGNREGA is a good programme’. He just smiled and did not say anything,” Rahul said.

“Modi rises in Parliament and says he does not want to end MGNREGA. ‘Why I don’t want to close the programme…I don’t want to close because it’s a living monument of failure of Congress’,” Rahul said.

“Modiji if you don’t want to listen to us, or Manmohan Singh, at least listen to Arun Jaitley.” Funds for MGNREGA are being slashed, said Rahul, who earlier interacted with beneficiaries of the scheme, NGOs and sarpanchs in the village.

Recalling Modi’s pre-election promise of bringing back black money stashed abroad and depositing Rs 15 lakh each in the account of poor people, he said, “If you don’t want to deposit Rs 15 lakh, at least deposit MGNREGA money in Jan Dhan accounts.”

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