Gandhi, who was addressing a rally at Sonale village in Bhiwandi taluka, also hit out at BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi, saying he was appropriating India’s first home minister Sardar Vallabhai Patel as “theirs”. “Sardar patel had clearly written against the RSS, but still they claim Patel belongs to them,” he said.
At the rally that saw a good turnout with people also coming from neighbouring tribal Vikramgad taluka and Nashik district, Gandhi was lauded when he said BJP’s politics was to divide people on communalism and caste lines.
“Wherever they went, they triggered communalism, dividing people. Hindus and Muslims fought, people fought in the name of caste and in the name of region… Have you ever heard of Congress party dividing people,” he said, claiming his party worked for inclusion of all.
Gandhi accused the Opposition for neglecting the poor and the weak. “They will never speak of the poor, the vulnerable. When we spoke of the MNREGA (Mahatma Gandhi Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme), of Food Security Bill, they called them money-guzzling policy… Today, over 15 crore people have been lifted above poverty line.”
Bhiwandi, a powerloom town 60 kms from Mumbai, alone contributes nearly 40% of the national production from the powerloom sector and supports over 15 lakh families. At present, it is ailing due to high power tariffs. Gandhi said the chief minister had assured him that powerlooms of the town would be supported. “The CM is working on powerloom cluster development scheme,” Gandhi said.
Asking for more women representation in the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha, the Congress vice-president said his party would field more women candidates.