In a blistering attack on Narendra Modi, Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi on Sunday said that though Gujarat model was created by the people of the state, BJP’s prime ministerial nominee Modi is hogging credit for it.
“Gujarat model of development was created by the people of the state. Is it that before Modi, people were sleeping and nothing was done?
“Is it that Gujarat was sleeping for 60 years and Modi came and changed the entire landscape? The textile and the diamond workers toiled. But no, everything was done by Modi.
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This is his thinking,” Rahul said here while addressing a poll rally in suburban Bandra this evening.
The rally began almost four hours behind the schedule as Rahul reached the venue at 6.45 pm.
NCP chief Sharad Pawar was scheduled to attend the rally, but was conspicuous by his absence. Instead, senior NCP minister Jayant Patil was present on the stage. Patil said Pawar could not reach the rally venue due to a helicopter snag.
Congress president Sonia Gandhi was originally scheduled to address the rally, but she called off her Maharashtra visit today citing health reasons, party sources said.
Rahul further said that UPA would reserve 25 per cent in police force and Congress-led government has set up 2,000 only-women police stations.
“The women’s reservation bill, which is held up by Opposition, will be passed if the UPA is voted to power. I know that poor people and industrialists run this city. We feel there should be partnership between the two.
“Modi says make him the chowkidar of the country. In Gujarat he gave 45,000 acres land to Adani. Earlier, there was Vajpayee-Advani partnership. Now, Advani was removed and Adani was brought on stage. Their thinking is that poor don’t have any right over the land and if they protest, they say Gujarat police will kill them,” he claimed.
“People say what has UPA done in last ten years? In the last 15 years, the UPA lifted 15 crore people above the poverty level. But they are not bothered about the poor. They say there should be an acting university in Mumbai,” Rahul said referring to Modi’s speech in Mumbai a few months back.
The Congress Vice President said that in Mumbai, Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs and Christians work together and live in harmony but… BJP wants to pit one religion against another.
“When there is fight they run away and you suffer. The poor have to be part of India’s progress. We want one India for rich and poor,” he said.
Citing difference between both the parties, Rahul said they want select industrialists to benefit.
“Modi gave 45,000 acres land, equal to Thane, to Adani at very low rates. Gujarat model is a toffee model. They don’t understand what hunger means. But we do and gave the Food Security Act. This is the difference between them and us,” he said.
Highlighting achievements of his government, Rahul said “slum regularisation is our achievement and we will guarantee that there is a roof over heads of all poor people. We will do this.”
On the issue of women’s empowerment, he said “I did not see any woman on the BJP posters, which says ‘Mahilao Ko Shakti Do’, but only Modi’s picture. Indian women are already strong. They need respect, which we will give.”
He asked the voters to support all the six candidates in Mumbai.
“Congress President was to come here but in morning, however, due to her health issues, I was asked to come,” he said. Sonia Gandhi was scheduled to address poll campaign rallies in Nandurbar and Dhule in north Maharashtra and another one in Mumbai.
Home minister Sushilkumar Shinde, who was also present on the occasion, said even in 2004 there was speculation about an imminent NDA win but the people elected the Congress-led government.
“BJP never understands what people want. This battle is between Hitler-shahi versus democracy. Due to Modi, there has been a split within BJP,” Shinde said.