Rahul Gandhi hardsells food and land bills in poll-bound Rajasthan

Rahul Gandhi launched a veiled attack on the BJP for pursuing the Hindutva agenda.

Written by Manoj C G | Udaipur | Published: September 11, 2013 2:44:22 am

A day after Narendra Modi trained his guns at him and at the Nehru-Gandhi family,it was Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi’s turn on Wednesday to hit back. He launched a veiled attack on the BJP for pursuing the Hindutva agenda,rubbished its developmental models and said the opposition can criticise the Congress as much as they want but they won’t get anywhere with it.

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Kickstarting the Congress’s campaign for the assembly polls in Rajasthan by addressing a massive rally in this tribal-dominated hamlet on the outskirts of Udaipur,Rahul subtly rephrased the “gareebi hatao” slogan given by his grandmother Indira Gandhi in the 1970s and improvised the “I too have a dream” statement of his father Rajiv Gandhi as he sought to hardsell the food and land acquisition Bills along with UPA I’s MNREGA and forest rights Act. Manmohan roots for Rahul Gandhi as PM candidate

“Our dream is the country’s dream… Your fight is our fight. I want to crush my dreams and make your dreams mine,” he said.

Referring to the food Bill,MNREGA and Rajasthan government’s free medicine scheme,he said the new slogan should be “Poori roti khayenge,100 din kaam karenge,dawai khayenge and Congress ko layenge.” The time has come to rephrase the earlier slogan,“aadi roti khayenge,Congress ko layenge”,he said.

During his 25-minute speech,Rahul did not name the BJP even once,constantly referring to it as the “opposition”. While he did not mention about the Muzaffarnagar violence or the revival of the Ram Temple agenda by the Sangh Parivar,he did take potshots at the BJP.

“We say Hindustan is like a bouquet which has many flowers of different varieties. We want all the flowers to shine — be it Adivasi,Hindu,Muslim or Sikh or whichever community they belong to. We want all of them to shine. This is our thinking,” he said.

“But the opposition thinking is that leave all of them. Leave the Adivasis,leave the different sections,forget about all of them. This is the difference between them and us.”

The Congress chose the venue of the rally carefully to sound the poll bugle. The region is a tribal-dominated belt and is a party stronghold. Out of the 28 Assembly seats in Udaipur division,the party had won 21 last time. It also holds all the four Lok Sabha seats from the region.

Besides,the region borders Gujarat and the party is leaving no stone unturned to ensure that the tribal belt does not shift its loyalties under Modi’s influence. Congress sources said the rally was organised after the BJP announced its plans to get Modi to address a rally in Jaipur.

The rally was also a unity show with all the top Rajasthan leaders — Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot,C P Joshi,state Congress chief Chandrabhan and Union ministers Girija Vyas,Sis Ram Ola and Sachin Pilot in attendance.

Rahul played according to the script when it came to wooing the tribals. He said the opposition’s idea of growth and development is building of infrastructure — be it roads,flyover or airports. “We agree. Roads should be built,rail should come and flyovers should be constructed,but along with infrastructure,the common man,the poor,the Adivasi and the Dalit who are hungry and impoverished should be helped. We think that the country will only progress when the labourers and people who actually build the infrastructure have sufficient food to eat,” he said.

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