Sharpening his attack on the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi on Thursday said there was only one thing it did better than the Congress — corruption — and branded the opposition party as “masters” in it.
“One can see this in the BJP-ruled States like Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and others. They are the masters in corruption and they are way ahead of us. We surrender on this issue before them,” he said at a poll meeting here.
Mr. Gandhi also hit out at the BJP for not standing up for the rights of the poor, saying the opposition party while opposing various social sector schemes for welfare of the poor had said they were “a waste of money”. In his attempt to woo tribals here, the Congress leader claimed that the Congress always stood up for the rights of not just the poor, but also for tribals and Dalits. He said the Congress thought about the welfare and development of the poor.
Mr. Gandhi said elections were important, but people needed to distinguish between two parties and their ideologies.
He said the wall of poverty, that stood before the poor, needs to be broken for them to progress fast and promised that the Congress would break this wall to take them forward. Mr. Gandhi said, “Elections here are important but here the fight is not between two parties. It is the fight between two thoughts.”
Admitting that electricity, roads and infrastructure were important to move forward, he said the Congress had constructed three times more roads and generated five times more power than the previous BJP regime. But simultaneously, he said, his party moved beyond that to remove the wall of poverty that existed before the poor.
“We say roads should be constructed and railway lines laid. We go beyond that. We say that our tribals, Dalits and poor cannot benefit only by construction of roads and railway lines. They need more…That is why we bring different schemes of employment and talk of Food Security and Right to Education. If this wall is not broken, you cannot move forward,” he said.
Mr. Gandhi said the Congress provided 100 days’ of guaranteed employment for the poor, irrespective of where they came from and which caste, creed or religion they belonged to.
“...When we did this, what did the Opposition say? They said money is being wasted. When your land is taken away, they don’t say the poor man’s land is being snatched. Then they say land has to be taken. When it is a matter of the poor, they keep quiet. They talk of big things. But when it comes to holding the hand of the poor, they keep silent. They don’t utter a single word for the poor,” he said, seeking to strike an emotional chord with the audience.