Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Monday assured the fisherfolk that he would stand with them to get their grievances addressed. Mr. Gandhi was interacting with the fishers at Vadackal beach in Alappuzha ahead of the 12th day of the Bharat Jodo Yatra.
In the early morning meeting, members of the local fishing community raised the issues of rising fuel prices, dwindling fish stock, climate change, lack of social welfare policies and educational opportunities with the Congress leader.
Stating that he was aware of many of the problems faced by the working class, including fishers, Mr. Gandhi said the common people were deprived of government assistance and subsidies.
“The Union government is not giving subsidies to labourers. But at the same time, they are providing all help to a few wealthy business people close to the government. Everyone should think about where the subsidy is going. Not only fishers, but workers in the cashew, coir and other sectors are also facing uncertain times. The government has reduced itself to a body creating opportunities for the rich,” he said.
After listening to a fisherman complaining about the drawbacks of welfare schemes to fishers and government support to big corporates, Mr. Gandhi pointed out that the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance while in power had provided ₹72,000 crores as debt relief to the common people. “The present government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi is maintaining friendship only with rich people. They are the only ones receiving the Central aid,” Mr. Gandhi said.
He highlighted the issue of unemployment in the country. “The government is not interested in providing quality education and jobs to the children of common people. It is hardly bothered about the welfare of small-scale entrepreneurs, farmers and labourers,” said Mr. Gandhi.
He said the Opposition United Democratic Front (UDF) in Kerala would take up the issues of the working class, including the fishing community, and strive hard to find solutions.
Mr. Gandhi also interacted with stakeholders from the tourism sector and discussed their issues and opportunities. The former Congress president, who represents the Wayanad Lok Sabha constituency, later took part in a snakeboat exhibition race on Punnamada Lake. He was seen rowing a vessel with other oarsmen.