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Ludhiana Can Compete With China if Small, Medium Enterprises Get Support: Rahul Gandhi

Demonetisation and 'wrong' GST, weapons to end small and medium enterprises, says the Congress leader in the Punjab leg of his Bharat Jodo Yatra.

Image Courtesy: PTI

Ludhiana: 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 accused the Punjab government and the Centre of not supporting them.

Gandhi, who is undertaking the Punjab leg of the Bharat Jodo Yatra, also charged that hatred, violence and fear were being spread in the country as he targeted the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

Brother is being pitted against brother, one religion against the other, one caste against the other, he said while addressing a gathering in this industrial hub.

 “Lakhs of people have opened shops in the market of hatred. You see this yatra, you will not find any hatred. If somebody falls, every one helps him without asking his religion or caste. This is the history of India. It is also the history of Punjab and the culture of Punjab. Guru Nanak ji has not only shown this to the country but to the whole world," he said while invoking the founder of Sikhism.

"There should be no place for hatred and violence in the country. It is a country of brotherhood, love and respect,” he said, while accusing the BJP-led Centre of spreading fear.

Targeting the Narendra Modi government over the issue of demonetisation, he alleged that it has hit the small and medium enterprises hard.

 “But how and who hit Ludhiana? Pradhan Mantri ji implemented demonetisation and 'wrong' GST," he charged.

"Somebody told me today that Ludhiana is like Manchester. I thought it was wrongly said. Manchester is like Ludhiana. Manchester has no future but Ludhiana certainly has,” said Gandhi while blaming the Centre's policies for the plight of the small and medium businesses here.

"The support which you (small and medium businesses) need, the bank support which you need is not given to you. But you are attacked," he said.

 “Demonetisation and 'wrong' GST are not policies. Demonetisation and 'wrong' GST are weapons to end small and medium enterprises. This is the truth,” the former Congress president charged.

He said small and medium businesses in Ludhiana have the potential to provide employment.

 “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 with China.But nobody supports you. There is no vision. Be it is the government in Punjab or the government of India,” he said.

Ludhiana is the industrial hub of Punjab with many industry verticals, including textiles, bicycles, hand tools, readymade garments etc. having a presence in the district.

Earlier in the morning, the Bharat Jodo march resumed from Doraha in Ludhiana here as part of its Punjab leg.

The yatra will take a break from Thursday afternoon till Friday in view of the Lohri festival. The yatra will again resume on January 14.

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, leader of opposition Partap Singh Bajwa, former chief minister Charanjit Singh Channi, former deputy chief minister Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa, MPs Amar Singh, Gurjit Singh Aujla, Ravneet Bittu, former MLA Gurkirat Kotli, Punjab Youth Congress chief Brinder Singh Dhillon and several other party leaders accompanied Gandhi.         

According to the schedule of the Punjab-leg of the yatra, the Gandhi-led yatra will pass through Ludhiana, Goraya, Phagwara, Jalandhar, Dasyua and Mukerian.

A rally will be held at Pathankot on January 19 before the yatra enters Jammu and Kashmir.

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.

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