Symbolism won’t help change things: Kharge

Responding to RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat’s visit to a mosque and a madrasa in Delhi on Thursday, Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha M. Mallikarjun Kharge said that just visiting a mosque or eating with Dalits won’t help or change things.

Addressing presspersons here on Friday, Mr. Kharge took a dig at Mr. Bhagwat for visiting the mosques and Dalit homes and eating with them. He said that showing such “symbolism” would neither change their fortunes nor eliminate poverty. “India is being beaten by poverty, and Mr. Bhagwat should make honest efforts towards bringing social change by eradicating the evil practice such as untouchability from society”, he said.

In 2021, India ranked 101 out of 116 in the Global Hunger Index (GHI) from 94th place in the previous year, he said.

Criticizing Prime Minister Narendra Modi for failing to address issues like inflation and unemployment, Mr. Kharge said that instead of releasing cheetahs [being brought from Namibia into Kuno National Park in Madhya Pradesh to mark his birthday on September 17]he should have focused on resolving the unemployment crisis.

Mr. Kharge accused the Modi government of systematically attacking small, medium businesses, farmers and laborers and claimed that the government was selectively favoring several industrialists.

Slamming the state government for diverting funds meant for the Special Component Plan (SCP), Mr. Kharge demanded that the BJP-led government ensure that funds earmarked under SCP for welfare of Scheduled Castes be used for schemes the money was meant for.

Mr. Kharge, who recently met Union Minister for Road Transport Nitin Gadkari seeking approval for second ring road for Kalaburagi city, said that the ministry had approved the project and a detailed project report had been prepared.

Mr. Kharge said that Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai’s announcement of revising the allocation for Kalyana Karnataka Region Development Board (KKRDB) from the present ₹3,000 crore to ₹5,000 crore in the next budgetary allocation was just eyewash.

The State government had not released the funds of ₹3,000 crore allocated to the board during the last annual budget. The KKRDB should draw a road map to spend the funds for the works on priority basis, he said.

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