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After Arvind Kejriwal, CM Ashok Gehlot Retorts To PM Narendra Modi's 'Revdi Culture' Remarks

It is the responsibility of a government to implement public welfare schemes, Ashok Gehlot said while addressing a gathering at the state's flag hoisting ceremony at Sawai Man Singh stadium on the occasion of 76th Independence Day.

Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot
Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot PTI Photo

Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot on Monday countered Prime Minister Narendra Modi's 'revdi culture' remark, saying welfare schemes for the people cannot be dubbed as freebies.

Citing weekly payments made to the poor and elderly in developed countries, he said it is the responsibility of the government to implement public welfare schemes. "Public welfare is the top priority of the state government. Weekly payment is made to the poor and elderly in developed countries. Everyone has the right to live.

"It is the responsibility of a government to implement public welfare schemes," Gehlot said while addressing a gathering at the state's flag hoisting ceremony at Sawai Man Singh stadium on the occasion of 76th Independence Day.

"There has been a talk about ‘revdi’ (freebie) culture but I do not consider it as such. These are public welfare schemes. In Rajasthan, one crore people are being given pensions," the senior Congress leader said.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had in his recent statements warned the people against the "revdi culture" and said this could be "very dangerous" for the development of the country.  Modi had used 'revdi' as a metaphor for freebies being promised by some parties to woo voters and said the people, especially the youth, should guard against it.

The Centre had also suggested the Supreme Court constitute an 11-member committee to look into the issue.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, in his Independence Day speech in the national capital on Monday, also asserted that free education and healthcare are not "free ki revdi" and access to these two can eliminate the country's poverty in one generation.

There BJP has been accusing Kejriwal of using freebies as bait to come to power and risking the financial health of states. In the backdrop of the case of a Dalit boy who was allegedly beaten to death by a school teacher, Gehlot also spoke about discrimination against Dalits and tribal communities.

"Those who talk about religion should also look at the discrimination happening against Dalits and Adivasis," Gehlot said. He said that Pakistan is an example for those who want to build a nation in the name of religion.

"I would like to tell those who think of building a nation in the name of religion that Pakistan is an example. Democracy was murdered and Pakistan was divided into parts. If Pakistan can divide into two parts on the basis of language then you can understand," Gehlot said.

He said that the basic spirit of the Indian Constitution has kept it united for 75 years despite people speaking different languages and having faith in different religions. "Those who talk about religion, I hope that they will pay attention to how inequality and untouchability can be eliminated.

The chief minister said that the country is progressing forward and expressed the hope that people of all religions and castes live with brotherhood and peace. He said that the government at the Centre and in states should adopt 'tolerance', which is a spirit of democracy.

"Opposition should not be treated as an enemy as this is against democratic traditions. Governments are formed and run on the basis of ideology. We hope that the same tradition is taken forward. If someone makes any mistake then we will correct it for the welfare of the country," he said.

Gehlot said that the youths are a powerhouse of the country and have a tremendous role to play but they need to channelise their energy in the right direction. "I see it on social media, there is a frenzy among youths. This neither benefits the country nor the youths. Youths are getting divided on the basis of caste and religion. They should remain away from it," he said.

The chief minister also mentioned the Prime Minister's Independence Day speech wherein he said that the Centre will work to expand health services in the country.

Gehlot said that the state government has implemented a universal health scheme and it is one of a kind state where treatment and medicines are being given for free.  He said that he hopes that the prime minister will adopt the Rajasthan model and implement it as a part of social security measures.

The chief minister paid tributes to freedom fighters. He said the country has reached here due to the sacrifices made by great leaders such as Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel and Maulana Abul Kalam Azad who fought under the leadership of Mahatma Gandhi. 

(With PTI Inputs)

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