Congress General Secretary Rahul Gandhi to a question why he was in Orissa said, “I am working in a political organization, particularly in youth political organization. I am here to involve youth in the political system. There is no youth organization in the country which is grooming the youth for involvement in political system. Political systems in the country are closed for youth.
My view is to bring the youth in politics that can change the present system.
There is only Youth Congress and NSUI in the country which are involving the youth into politics. This is even recognized by the opposition parties that we are leading in this direction. We are the only organization which is concerned about internal democracy and free and fair elections. This is one aspect of the problem.
The other aspect is discussions that are going on in the country.
Lokpal Bill is very important but more important is the issue of corruption. Funding of political parties is important because today political parties are not funded by the state. This is a major issue.
In Orissa you have mining. That needs to be made transparent. It involves a large number of people. I have been working in this area. As you know I have been involved in Niyamgiri. Ultimately we have to include our people in our development. As you know corruption most harm the poorest people. It harms the poor tribals and it harms the poor farmer in Uttar Pradesh.
As regards terrorism, you have seen the response of Mr Chidambaram. I think we are responding in a totally organized fashion.
As far as tribal leadership is concerned, I run Youth Congress and NSUI. Not only tribal leadership we focus on minority and dalit leadership also. If you look at our organization after the election, you will find lot of involvement of tribal leadership. As far as inclusion in Cabinet, it is the prerogative of the Prime Minister and it is not appropriate for me to interfere in that.
To a question as how the Central government treats Orissa, he said the large amount of funds now being made available by the Centre to the state, were never given to the state in the past. Funds to the tune of Rs 33,000 crores have been made available to the state. The question is not of funds because today the Centre has plenty of funds. The question is of implementation.
We have sent here Mahatama Gandhi NREGA which is dynamic and most powerful programme. It is meant for helping the poorest of the poor. If you ask the people which is the best programme where programmes are being implemented, they say Mahatama Gandhi NREGA is the best programme. It is because Mahatama Gandhi NREGA directly puts money in their pocket.
Yesterday in a Tribal Women Convention I asked the tribal women about Mahatama Gandhi NREGA. They did not know about it at all. This is the biggest programme of the government of India on which the highest amount of money is being spent yet the tribal women did not know about it. It is a national right given to the poor yet they did not know of it.
It is not only about Mahatama Gandhi NREGA it is also about general distribution of funds as well as programmes. We send funds but it is for the state government to implement but there is a problem in the implementation.
To a question on special package for poor people and corruption by officials in implementation he said, “We worked on the Bundelkhand package because we wanted to help the poor people. When we got the package sanctioned it was clear to us that there are going to be problems with the implementation particularly corruption. This is particularly endemic in UP. Bhatta-Parsaul and Tappal are about land rights but they are primarily about corruption. What is happening there is that land of the poor farmers is being sold.”
The package that has been sent by the government of India is being stolen by the administration. We raised these points in depth in UP.
You know my work about Bhatta-Parsaul, Padyatra, CMO murder where we insisted upon CBI inquiry. The UP government specializes in corruption. I have also spoken to the government about the audit of Bundelkhand package. We have done that but unless and until the government has will to implement the problem will remain.
Mahatama Gandhi NREGA is the biggest programme in the country but the women here did not know what this is? In UP corruption has become the way of the government. They act only in that manner. But we are fighting.
On the question of land acquisition of poor villagers he said, “My issue on the POSCO is the same as my issue with Bhatta-Parsaul. What is happening in UP is that transferring of land from poor people to rich people. As far infrastructure is concerned there is a road in Uttar Pradesh. We do not have any problem with that. We have a problem with compensation. We have a problem with the terms in which it is being done. It is here the same thing. We do not have problem with development. We do not have a problem with the project. We have a problem with the end negotiations. The main issue is what the people are going to get at the end of it. Are they going to be rehabilitated? Are they going to get fair deal? Is their voice going to be heard? There is a thirty point agenda which the state government has to fulfill. If the state government fulfills that thirty point agenda and we see that the tribals are relatively comfortable and happy with the outcome, then that is good. If the tribals are pushed aside and their rights are not given to them, then we have a problem with that.”
The issue is simple if the people whose land it is, are given rights and their issue is addressed with regard to compensation, then it is fine. If those people are brushed aside and they are not being listened to, we are not fine. All these issues are covered in state government thirty points.