Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Thursday said Ludhiana's small and medium businesses can compete with China if they are given adequate support even as he attacked the Punjab government and the Centre for not supporting them.
Gandhi, who is currently undertaking the Punjab leg of the Bharat Jodo Yatra, charged that hatred, violence and fear were being spread in the country as he sought to hit out at the BJP. “There should be no place for hatred and violence in the country. It is a country of brotherhood, love and respect,” he said while addressing a gathering in Ludhiana. He also targeted the BJP-led Centre over the issue of demonetisation, saying it hit the small and medium enterprises hard. “How Ludhiana (small and medium businesses) was hit? Prime Minister ji implemented demonetisation and wrong GST,” he alleged.
“Demonetisation and 'wrong' GST are not policies. Demonetisation and 'wrong' GST are weapons to end the small and medium enterprises. This is the truth,” said Gandhi. “The country's 'arabpatis' (billionaires) cannot give employment to the country. Ludhiana's small and medium businesses can give employment in the country. If they are strengthened and given support, Ludhiana can compete against China. This is the truth. "But nobody supports you. There is no vision. Be it is the Punjab government or the government of India,” he said.
Ludhiana is the industrial hub of Punjab. The march resumed Thursday morning from Doraha in Ludhiana here as part of its Punjab leg. The Punjab leg of the foot march began on Wednesday from Sirhind in Fatehgarh Sahib. During the yatra, Punjab Congress chief Amrinder Singh Raja Warring, former chief minister Charanjit Singh Channi, MPs Amar Singh, Gurjit Singh Aujla, former MLA Gurkirat Kotli, Punjab Youth Congress chief Brinder Singh Dhillon and several other party leaders accompanied Gandhi.
The Yatra, which started from Kanyakumari in Tamil Nadu on September 7, will conclude in Srinagar by January 30, with Gandhi hoisting the national flag in the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir. The march has so far covered Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh and Haryana.