Rahul Gandhi slams BJP over corruption and communalism

Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi along with party members during an election campaign rally in Sirsa on Sunday. (PTI) Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi along with party members during an election campaign rally in Sirsa on Sunday. (PTI)

Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi Sunday launched a scathing attack on opposition BJP over its “double-standard” attitude towards corruption and attempt to “divide the society on communal lines”.

Addressing an election rally here on Sunday afternoon, Gandhi, referring to re-induction of tainted former Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa into BJP, said the opposition leaders rake up the corruption issue in states other than those ruled by themselves.

“They (BJP leaders) go to Karnataka and give big speeches there. They bring (B S) Yeddyurappa, who was the Karnataka Chief Minister and remained in jail, to stage and then say they are against corruption…,” Gandhi said while canvassing for party state unit president and candidate from Sirsa Lok Sabha seat Ashok Tanwar.

“…then they go to Chhatisgarh where mining mafia rules and say we are against corruption, but they cannot see their own Chief Minister and ministers there. Then they go to Madhya Pradesh and say we are against corruption, then cannot see their corruption. Then they go to Gujarat where three cabinet ministers spent jail term, but they cannot see corruption there… Rest of the places they see corruption,” he said.

Gandhi said unlike the BJP his party took action against corrupt politicians. “Wherever we see corruption, we take action,” he said.

The Congress vice president then targeted BJP for trying to divide the people on religious lines.

He alleged that BJP’s “divisive” policy was responsible for spoiling the country’s secular fabric, while stressing that Congress’s ideology was to unite the people irrespective of caste, creed and religion.

Gandhi said wherever they (BJP leaders) go, they breed hatred among people of different religions.

“Yeh aapko aapas mein ladate hain, Hindu ko Muslim se ladayange (They make you fight each other, pit Hindus against Muslims),” he said, and referred to the attack of BJP ally Shiv Sena activists in Mumbai on migrant workers from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.

“We take everybody along, be it Sikhs, Hindu or Christians or Muslims… This is our politics. We do not play politics of hatred or politics of division, we play politics of love because we know nation grows when everybody is taken along,” he said.

Taking a dig at the hype over ‘Gujarat model’, Gandhi said it is just a “gas-filled balloon” which will burst after the Lok Sabha elections.

He said the BJP had floated ‘Shining India’ balloon in the 2004 elections which it lost and after it lost in the 2009 elections too, the party’s managers wanted to come up with something new.

“They have come with a new balloon. Earlier they used to fill it with air, this time they have filled it with gas. Name of the balloon this time is ‘Gujarat model’,” Gandhi said.

In the elections, Dalits, youths, labourers and weaker sections of the society will go and press the button, and the balloon which has been raised through marketing will burst.

Then the BJP leaders will rue how they had spent so much only to hear loud burst of the balloon, he said.

He also took up issue of Sikh farmers in Kutch region and criticised the Gujarat government led by Narendra Modi, BJP’s prime ministerial candidate.

“They were crying, they told me they had been working for the last several years, but the Gujarat government threw them out and told them they are outsiders… In Karnataka, they beat women. For us nobody is an outsider, all are insiders for us,” he said.

Dismissing Modi’s ‘Gujarat model’, Gandhi said each state should have its own model.

“Haryana has set an example how a state is run and it does not need any Gujarat model. Haryana needs only Haryana model. Every state has its own model… Congress party respects every state. We respect Haryana because we know you can run your state. Here you do not need Gujarat model.

Let Gujarat model be run in Gujarat,” he said, adding Haryana was ahead on many fronts including wheat and milk production, besides making the country proud in the field of sports.

He also slams the opposition for failing to come out with an election manifesto so far. The Congress had spoken to about 5 lakh people in its bid to find out what the country wanted and then drafted its manifesto.

“But the BJP while indulging in big talks had not come out with its manifesto even when the polling of the first phase was only a day away,” Gandhi said.

Gandhi compared BJP’s attempt to this time highlight the ‘Gujarat model’ after its ‘India Shining’ campaign to sequels of Bollywood movie ‘Dhoom’, and said “if there is ‘Dhoom’, there is a trend to make sequels”.

Listing out achievements of the Congress-led government, Gandhi said the UPA had developed corridors linking the Metros where industries would be set up and jobs created.

He said Congress had worked for the farmers and passed a land acquisition law to ensure that those whose land is acquired are suitably compensated.

Gandhi said that if the Congress-led UPA again comes to power, their thrust would be on education sector and they would open more universities and colleges, with focus on ensuring that poor students get education in these top institutions.

“If our government comes, we will give right to shelter and free medicine,” he said.

Earlier addressing a rally in Panipat, Gandhi said the Congress-led UPA government had brought the Right To Information Act, which had proved to be an important tool in fighting corruption.

“Who brought RTI, it was the Congress which brought it. It (RTI) curbed corruption,” he said, the RTI had empowered common man, who could now seek all sorts of information.

“A few days back I wrote a letter to the Prime Ministerand somebody sought information on that. I saw my letter in a newspaper. This is the power we gave (to common people),” he said.

He also attacked the BJP over the Lokpal bill and the non-passage of five other anti-corruption bills.

“There were five more bills which we brought, but these were stopped by BJP. They said these were Rahul Gandhi’s bills. But these were not Rahul Gandhi’s bills, these were your bills,” he said.

Congress candidate from Karnal Lok Sabha seat, under which Panipat falls, Arvind Sharma was present in the meeting.

Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda and Congress General Secretary Shakeel Ahmed were also present in both meeting in Panipat and Sirsa.

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At Sirsa, Gandhi praised party’s candidate Ashok Tanwar, who is seeking re-election, saying, “I know Ashok very well, he fights for your rights. You give him support, make Congress victorious and we will give you government of common people.”

Tanwar was made the party’s Haryana state unit chief a few months ago after strong backing from Gandhi.

Gandhi said Congress has a vision to enhance the living standard of about 70 crore poor people like barbers, security guards, labourers and drivers and bring them to the level of middle class.

He said the upcoming election is between two ideologies. “While Congress favours prosperity and progress whereas the other ideology is of ‘India Shining’. The people have already twice rejected the concept of India Shining in 2004 and 2009 and the same situation will now be repeated,” he said.

While referring to the issue of Minimum Support Price of wheat, he said that during the tenure of NDA, it was increased by merely Rs 60 whereas the UPA increased it by Rs 760 in nine years. Loans of farmers amounting to Rs 70,000 crore were waived and it benefited farmers of Haryana, he said.

Addressing the rally in Sirsa, Congress general secretary Ahmed, “We had given Tanwar the option to fight from Ambala, but he was keen to contest from Sirsa again. He said he has your (people’s) support and would like to serve you.”

Tanwar is up against turncoat and Haryana Janhit Congress candidate Sushil Indora, INLD’s Charanjit Singh, who recently quit as SAD MLA from Haryana to contest, besides others.

Tanwar said the fight in the upcoming polls was between those forces who wanted to divide the nation versus those who take all sections along. “I have worked with honesty and enthusiasm. I have got full support of both the central and state governments,” 38-year-old Tanwar said.

He also took a dig at the INLD, saying despite claiming it to be their stronghold they had discriminated against Sirsa in development when their party was in power.

He also made a mention of the Rs 23,500-crore nuclear power plant, which is coming up at Gorakhpur village in Fatehabad district and falls under Sirsa Lok Sabha segment.

“I am a foot soldier of the Congress, I am not here to fight polls, but to serve you… Let’s weaken those forces who want to divide the country,” he said.

Urging the people to give the UPA 300 plus seats, Tanwar said, “Give us 300 seats as we want to see Rahul Gandhi as the next Prime Minister. All sections of the society want to see him as the next PM.”