Says the Congress believes in empowering all citizens

All-India Congress Committee vice-president Rahul Gandhi has come down heavily on the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), accusing the principal Opposition party of promoting a personality cult.

Addressing an election campaign rally at Attingal, near here, on Saturday evening at the end of a whirlwind tour of the State, he said the BJP believed in giving one man all power, all responsibilities. In a veiled attack on Narendra Modi, he said: “The BJP believes in the idea that knowledge comes from one person who knows everything in the universe and understands everything happening around him. It believes that one man will deliver India everything it needs.”

On the other hand, he said, the Congress believed in empowering all citizens. “Our aim is to hand over power to the people.”

Mr. Gandhi said the Congress had formulated its election manifesto based on the feedback received through interactions with people at various levels over a period of six months.

“We believe that India belongs to all of us, people of all castes, religions and from different States.”

The BJP, however, was keen on dividing the people of India and pitting Hindus against Muslims and people of different States against each other.

“They want one person to run this country.”

Pointing out that the BJP had failed to present a manifesto, he said the party did not really care for the people.

Flays Left

Rebuffing the Left parties, he said they did not believe in economic and industrial growth or creation of wealth. “They want equality but within that equality, they want to spread poverty.” A vote for the Left in Kerala, he said, was a vote for the BJP at the Centre.

Outlining the UPA’s promises to the electorate, Mr. Gandhi said it would introduce a legislation guaranteeing citizens the right to medicines and health, housing, and pension for senior citizens. The Congress would take up the challenge to take nearly 70 crore people who were now above the poverty line to the middle class level.

He said the UPA government if voted back to power, would implement an industrial corridor project linking Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Bangalore and Kolkata. Kerala, he added, would be linked to the project by creating industrial corridors connecting Kochi with Coimbatore and Thiruvananthapuram with Madurai and Sriperumbadur.

Mr. Gandhi said 2,000 women police stations would be opened across the country to ensure the security of women. KPCC president V.M. Sudheeran presided. Congress candidate in the Attingal constituency Bindu Krishna and in Thiruvananthapuram Shashi Tharoor, Health Minister V.S. Sivakumar and DCC president K. Mohankumar spoke.