Questioning the rationale behind opposition to the Centre’s economic decisions by the BJP, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Thursday alleged that the party’s only intent “is to halt work” and oppose every welfare move of the UPA government.
Winding up his two-day visit to Punjab, Mr. Gandhi lashed out at the BJP-led NDA, saying they were opposing the policies of the Congress, meant to take the country forward, without basis.
“Our government brought FDI. Its meaning is giving the farmer what he deserves... his rightful share. When the BJP-led NDA government was in (power at the Centre in) Delhi, they were not opposed to FDI. We did it, they are opposing it,” he said.
“We gave MANREGA and land acquisition bill, they have opposed it. They want to stop work. Ask them what you want to do, they will not reply. What Congress wants to do, they want to stop. Because they know that if they let us work, we will change this country. But we will not stop,” said Mr. Gandhi.
The Congress leader was addressing a rally organised by the National Students Union of India (NSUI) at Punjab University campus here this afternoon.
Making a mention of Punjab, he said “what is happening to human resources in Punjab. 7 out of 10 youth have the problem of drugs.”
Gandhi also claimed that the Punjab government was not giving unemployment allowance to youth.
“We (Centre) send scholarship money for SC, ST categories. It is not utilised here (in Punjab) and is sent back” he claimed.
Appreciating presence of a large number of girl students in the crowd, Mr. Gandhi said he hoped to see a woman becoming a Chief Minister in Punjab 10-15 years down the line.
Mr. Gandhi said that he met 30 Ambassadors from Europe in Delhi two days back and many among them had expressed concern and looked worried about sluggish economic growth in many of their countries and the U.S. as well.
Quoting the diplomats, Mr. Gandhi said they were talking about Europe and discussing the world affairs and some said the economic growth had slowed down in many countries, but not in China and India.
"One diplomat had said that the last century was dominated by Saudi Arabia, because of it being rich in oil, and this century belongs to India because the country was blessed with crores of youths and human resource was its biggest asset," Mr. Gandhi said.
He said that if the 20th century was that of oil as the source of energy, also called black gold, the 21st century is that of human resources, which were the youth of a country.
Seeing good attendance of the youth at the function, in which Punjab Congress president Amarinder Singh, state's Leader of Opposition Sunil Jakhar, NSUI president Rohit Chaudhry were among others present, Mr. Gandhi urged the youth to enter politics and bring a change.
"I have been in politics for eight years. One thing I see clearly, the level and depth of participation of youth is not there. Whether in jobs, corruption, development, you are the solution and you can bring about a change," said Mr. Gandhi.
Striking a chord with the youth, he told them "you have to run this country. You have the power and the knowledge to run it. We want you to come to politics, cleanse it and change it."
Taking a dig at those parties who were sceptical about the success of holding elections to the youth bodies, Mr. Gandhi said the NSUI and Youth Congress, the student and youth wings of the Congress, were the only ones to give youth a chance to enter politics.
"Doors of politics were closed for you. We opened them in NSUI and youth Congress. Today, lakhs of youth, who do not come from any political background or have any relatives in politics, are in our organisation," he said.
When we talked of elected NSUI and youth Congress in Punjab, other parties said this cannot be done. We did it and showed to them not only in Punjab but in whole India. We did this because we wanted you to come forward and bring about a change, he said.