Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi on Friday criticised the BJP’s divisive politics while maintaining that his party was trying to unite people. Addressing a gathering at the Nehru Maidan here, Mr. Gandhi, who referred to the BJP as “our Opposition party”, said it is practising “politics of anger”. “Hindus are pitted against Mulims, Karnataka’s people are made to fight with Maharashtra people… Maharashtrians are told to drive away people of Uttar Pradesh.”

“In your place Mangalore, they beat women,” he said, referring to the complaint of a woman Congress councillor, who had alleged that youth belonging to the BJP had molested her. He said the party will fight against those practising politics of anger.

Obviously referring to the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi, he said: “He says Congress has to be wiped out of this country.” But the Congress was not a party “but a thought — an old thought … that in India all are one”.

He declared, “You cannot destroy a thought.” He said if the United Progressive Alliance is given power for the third time, the party will take the nation on a new path of development by partnering with Karnataka where too the Congress is ruling.

The UPA wanted to empower 70 crore poor people by raising them to the status of middle class and providing their children education, shelter and other facilities.

Promising 33 per cent reservation for women in houses of people’s representatives, he said the BJP wanted to give power to one chowkidar (guard), but the Congress believes that “there are thousands of chowkidars; we need to give power to them”.

Touch of nostalgia

Bellary Staff Correspondent reports:

Mr. Gandhi, while attending a rally here on Friday, became nostalgic. He spoke about the relationship the party and his family had with Bellary. “My grandmother Indira Gandhi and my father Rajiv Gandhi had visited Bellary earlier. My mother, Sonia Gandhi, got elected from the Bellary parliamentary constituency.”