Development is fine but our leaders became inaccessible, admits Rahul

At Rahul Gandhi’s rally in Ambedkar Nagar on Sunday.(Amit Mehra) At Rahul Gandhi’s rally in Ambedkar Nagar on Sunday. (Amit Mehra)

Campaigning in the national capital reached fever pitch on Sunday — just three days before polling for the Lok Sabha elections. Top leaders from the Congress, BJP and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) addressed rallies across the city in their last bid to draw voters before campaigning ends. While Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi addressed a rally, senior BJP leader L K Advani campaigned for Northwest Delhi BJP nominee Udit Raj and AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal spoke in the New Delhi constituency for his candidate, Ashish Khetan.

Almost five months after addressing a thin rally at the Virat Cinema grounds in South Delhi’s Ambedkar Nagar ahead of the 2013 Assembly elections, Rahul Gandhi addressed a rally at the same venue on Sunday. “The 15 years of Congress rule in Delhi brought massive development… big roads, flyovers, etc., but we still lost the elections. It was a message from the people of Delhi, which said that all the development is alright, but that our leaders were not as accessible as they used to be. We have heard that message very well,” Rahul said, this time addressing a rally of over 3,000 people.

After the Lok Sabha elections get over, he said the Congress party in Delhi would be re-launched as a “more pro-poor” party that involves with the “aam aadmi” more. “We made a mistake and the public also suffered. We heard our public and went on to support the government which was elected. Our public suffered at their false promises of free water and electricity. It is easy to make such false promises… that party smartly took budget clearance for three months when they should have had such schemes on for at least one year,” Rahul said, taking a dig at the 49-day AAP government in Delhi.

Without directly naming Kejriwal, Rahul said he had now run away to UP, whereas it was the Congress party that worked for the benefit of the “real aam aadmi”. He called the UPA government as the “government of the poor and helpless”.

Calling it a fight between two ideologies between the BJP and Congress, Rahul said the BJP was dependent on “one big business house and wanted to ensure the rich get richer”. He said the Congress believed in “holistic development, where the benefits percolate down to the poor”.

“With what the BJP says, it means that India wants one chowkidar (in Modi), they want that watchman to be India’s prime minister and that one man will save the country from all evil. We say that we don’t need one chowkidar but many. We want to give that right to all of you.”

Campaigning in the capital and Ghaziabad, Kejriwal said after the polls, the AAP would do whatever it could to not let gas prices escalate. “Sansad mein dharne pe baith jayenge, par gas ke daam nahi badhne denge (We will sit on dharna in Parliament but we will not let the gas prices escalate),” he said.

He was accompanied by Khetan, Shazia Ilmi and Manish Sisodia. He assured people that “his resignation was based on principles as opposed to any politics of power”. “BJP and Congress leaders keep saying I ran away after 49 days. Where have I run away? Have I run away to Pakistan? Have I run away with somebody’s daughter? I am still right here! And I am not going to run away that easily,” he said.

BJP veteran LK Advani held a rally in Kiradi village in Northwest Delhi to campaign for party’s Lok Sabha candidate, former IRS officer and Dalit rights activist Dr Udit Raj.

Arriving two hours late, Advani greeted the crowd, who had been waiting in large numbers to welcome him at Nithari Chowk located near Nangloi Jat area.

Asserting that the upliftment of Dalits, Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes was the “pratham kartavya” (primary duty) of his party, Advani said no human being should be forced to forego his identity due to lack of social acceptance.

“Udit is an intellectual but he decided to join our party because he is convinced that BJP will take care of the backward class. When Jan Sangh was formed, the principles of our freedom fighters were ingrained strongly in us. Mahatma Gandhi, Bhagat Singh, Netaji Subhash Bose, Vivekananda, Dayanand Saraswati and all others have rejected untouchability. So, it has always been our foremost guiding principle,” Advani told a cheering crowd.