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Nabarangpur:  Basant Rath, Bureau Chief.Rahul Gandhi addresses rally at Umerkote

Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi Monday accused the Naveen Patnaik government of diverting money sent by the central government for welfare of tribals.  While addressing rally at Indira Gandhi stadium at Sanabharandi of Umerkote  he said though the centre sends thousands of crores under tribal sub-plan for the welfare of tribals the amount is not reaching the beneficiaries at the village level. The state government diverting it for other purposes, Gandhi said.

The state is rich   but its people are poor. The main reason is state government is giving up your wealth to a handful of mafia who loot mineral resources of Odisha and become rich, the poor and tribal people do not get any benefit. The money that the minerals in the state raise do not reach you and your money earned from mines and minerals are going to others pockets, while the state government is unable to utilise the fund run schools, hospitals and employment.

Rahul Gandhi said the Congress has always protected the interests of all sections of people, be they farmers, poor or tribals. My father Rajiv Gandhi or he himself, his family has a special bond with the tribals of the state. Raising the Niyamgiri issue he said keeping in mind the tribal community’s protest against Vedanta Group’s proposed alumina refinery plant in the Niyamgiri hill the congress stood with you and we have fought for the tribals of Niyamgiri, the gram sabha’s and the people together saved the hills he said.

Congress is continuing its fight for the rights of dalit, poor tribal people of Odisha, former prime Minister Rajeev Gandhi used to visit the place. My family has continued to share a special relation with you. So I love to visit Odisha especially these tribal pockets, Rahul Gandhi said.Rahul Gandhi addresses rally at Umerkote

He told the gathering that Railway will be soon in this tribal dominated Nabarangpur district.  Speaking on Food security bill, the Congress scion said the Centre brought the food bill to ensure a hunger-free society, it was unfortunate that Food Security Act was not implemented in the state.

Highlighting the programmes launched in the last 10 years by the Congress-led government, he said crores of people are benefiting from the employment guarantee schemes and the scheduled tribes and other forest dwellers act.  He also said the Congress gave the right to food to ensure food security to the poor and the right to information to bring transparency in governance.

Gandhi said his party has also taken measures for empowerment of women “We gave 50 percent reservation to women in panchayats. Our efforts will be to pass the women reservation bill so that 33 percent reservation is available for women in the assemblies and parliament. He further said Congress-led UPA government established medical institute like AIIIMS, top engineering institute like IIT, he said.Rahul Gandhi addresses rally at Umerkote

He criticised the Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance, saying people in the NDA say they will bring progress, but they never utter a word on farmers, poor or tribals.

He was welcomed by State Congress leaders including OPCC president Jaydev Jena and AICC general secretary BK Hariprasad,  Nabarangpur MP candidate Pradeep Majhi, district president Narayan Patro,  MLA candidates Sadan Nayak, Bhujabala Majhi, Uldhar Majhi, and Jatindra Gond, among others.