Rahul Gandhi calls for unity in poll-bound Karnataka, announces ‘Yuva Nidhi’ for unemployed youth

Gandhi called on state party leaders to fight the BJP unitedly, saying the Congress will sweep the Assembly polls.

ByMahesh M Goudar

Published Mar 21, 2023 | 7:42 AMUpdatedMar 21, 2023 | 7:42 AM

Karnataka Congress Siddaramaiah Yuva Nidhi

Congress leader and Wayanad MP Rahul Gandhi announced the party’s fourth poll promise, Yuva Nidhi, for the unemployed youth in Karnataka.

Gandhi made the announcement at the Yuva Kranthi Samavesha held in Belagavi on Monday, 20 March. AICC president Mallikarjun Kharge was also with him.

Under the scheme, unemployed young graduates would be provided ₹3,000 and diploma holders ₹1,500 every month for two years, if the Congress is voted to power in the 2023 Assembly polls.

Addressing the convention, Gandhi said: “Taking into account the message of the youth that they are not getting jobs, the Congress has decided to give ₹3,000 per month to every graduate, and ₹1,500 per month to every diploma holder, for two years as unemployment allowance.”

Ten lakh jobs in five years

“We understand your (the youths’) problem and the BJP is not giving you jobs,” Gandhi, who is on a three-day visit to the poll-bound state said.

“The Congress government in the state will provide jobs to 10 lakh youths in five years, and will assure that 2.5 lakh government vacancies will be filled up,” he said on the second day of his visit.

Incidentally, the Basavaraj Bommai-led BJP government, too, has announced a similar programme, Badukuva Daari and Yuvasnehi, for the unemployed youth in the state Budget.

Under the Badukuva Daari scheme, a monthly stipend of ₹1,500 would be provided to youngsters who had to discontinue education after school due to various reasons. The stipend is for the three-month Job-Oriented Certificate Training programme.

The government also promised a one-time financial assistance of ₹2,000 to unemployed graduates, to encourage them to participate in competitive examinations, under the Yuvasnehi scheme.

The other three poll promises made by the Congress are: Gurha Jyothi, 200 units of free power per month for all households, Gruha Laxmi, ₹2,000 per month for every women head of households and Anna Bhagya, 10 kilograms of free rice for every member of Below Poverty Line (BPL) families.

Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) president DK Shivakumar had said earlier that the party would announce five poll promises.

Gandhi hits out at BJP and Adani

Launching an attack on Gautam Adani, Gandhi said the country “belongs to everyone, and not to two or three selected people, and it is not Adani’s alone”.

“Corruption is taking place because all benefits are going to just two to three people. All businesses and industries in the country are being given to him, whether it is airports, ports, roads — all are being given to Adaniji. The same thing is happening here (in Karnataka),” he alleged.

“All benefits are being given to a select few, who are the friends of the BJP government. Because of this, there is rampant corruption in the state,” the Wayanad MP said while hitting out at the government.

While thanking the people of Karnataka for supporting his ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’ and making it successful, Gandhi took a dig at the BJP-led government at the Centre.

“The yatra sent out a message that this country belongs to everyone, not just to a select two to three, not Adaniji’s alone. This country belongs to farmers, labourers, the poor and youth,” he added.

Rampant corruption in Karnataka

While addressing the gathering, Gandhi termed the Bommai-led dispensation in Karnataka the “most corrupt in the country” and a “40 percent commission government”.

Pointing out the alleged corruption charges against BJP’s Channagiri MLA’s son Prashanth Kumar MV, Gandhi said: “BJP MLA Madal Virupakshappa’s son was caught with ₹8 crore in the cash-for-contract scam, but no action has been initiated, and the Bommai government is protecting him.”

“There were scams related to the recruitment of police sub-inspectors, assistant professors, assistant engineers and to other posts. This is the most corrupt government in the whole country,” he alleged, while listing out the scams.

Gandhi also urged the BJP government to fulfil its promise of hiking the reservation of scheduled castes to 17 percent from 15 percent and that of scheduled tribes to seven percent from three percent.

Call for unity 

Gandhi urged the party leaders to fight the BJP unitedly and exuded confidence that the Congress would “sweep” the upcoming Assembly elections.

“We will fight the election together. All Congress leaders will fight together. The Congress will sweep this election, because the BJP government is a 40 percent commission government, and the people of Karnataka want to get rid of this government. They want a government that will work for the poor, downtrodden, middle-class, and small traders,” he said.

His call for unity gains significance amid speculation that many will be disappointed after the selection of candidates.

Thanks Karnataka for making Bharat Jodo Yatra successful

Gandhi thanked the people of Karnataka for making Bharat Jodo Yatra a huge success when it passed through the state.

“In the yatra, there was a clear message against hate. In the market of hate, lakhs of people have opened shops of love. This is our Hindustan,” he said.

Gandhi said he got two to three clear messages from the people of Karnataka during the yatra.

“The youth said that the state government has failed in providing jobs,” he claimed.“The letters written by the contractors’ association and school managements’ association to Prime Minister Narendra Modi complaining about the extortion have not got a response,” Gandhi alleged.

Lashing out at the BJP government, AICC president Kharge said: “Rahul Gandhi is never afraid. He never was and never will be. He boldly speaks the truth. The Modi government is trying to harass him. Let them do whatever they want. We are prepared to face anything.”

The Delhi police had visited Gandhi at his residence in New Delhi on Sunday, 19 March, over his remark that several women in Srinagar complained that they had been sexually harassed. He made the remark on 30 January, during the Bharat Jodo Yatra.

“We are like a seed. How much may anyone try to stomp us down in the dirt, we will keep rising as a tree,” Kharge responded to the Delhi police’s recent visit to Gandhi’s residence.

AICC general secretaries KC Venugopal and Randeep Singh Surjewala, who is also in charge of Karnataka’s Congress unit, KPCC chief Shivakumar, and Legislature Party leader and Leader of the Opposition Siddaramaiah were among several leaders who attended the mega rally.