The Congress vice president took a dig at Narendra Modi for his statement at rallies asking voters to make him the "chowkidar" (watchman) of the country
Sharpening his attack on Narendra Modi, Rahul Gandhi on Sunday said the BJP leader would have “ousted” even Atal Bihari Vajpayee like party veterans Jaswant Singh and L. K. Advani had the former PM continued being in public life.
The Congress vice president took a dig at Mr. Modi for his statement at rallies asking voters to make him the “chowkidar” (watchman) of the country, saying the BJP PM candidate was a “chowkidar” only to businessmen and had ousted senior leaders and “brought in Adani.”
“He (Mr. Modi) boasts of development in Gujarat but it was not a single man who changed Gujarat. It was the hard work of labourers and farmers who made Gujarat. He wants to get the keys (control) of the country in his hands but what happened in Gujarat? People gave him keys but he brought in (businessman) Adani,” Mr. Gandhi said at a public meeting here.
“A group of Sikh farmers from Gujarat told me that their forefathers migrated from Pakistan to Gujarat and they put in their hard work and efforts to make the land allotted to them fertile. Now, Gujarat government officials have asked them to leave the State saying they were outsiders, he said, adding the same treatment was meted out to senior leaders in BJP.
“L. K. Advani and Jaswant Singh were told ‘you are outsiders go from here’ If Atal Bihari Vajyapee would be in public life today, he would also be asked the same thing,” he said. Questioning Mr. Modi’s claims on development of Gujarat, Mr. Gandhi again raised the issue of allotment of farmers’ land to industrialists.
“45,000 acre land, an area equal to Bikaner, was doled out to a businessman in Gujarat for Rs. 300 crore. One rupee for one square meter. This is toffee model because you have a toffee in one rupee. If you are surname is Adani, you can get farmers land at such a rate under toffee model,” Mr. Gandhi said
He alleged that development for BJP is “development of selected businessman”, not for people at large.
“Textile industry has been closed. Farmers lands are being snatched. If you have Rs. 11.50, you are not poor in Gujarat. This is the reality of Gujarat,” he said.
Mr. Gandhi said that the UPA government empowered the common man and the poor in the last 10 years by way of various rights, including MGNREGA, RTI and Right to Food, and lashed out at the Gujarat Chief Minister for not ensuring that people gets advantages of RTI.
“There is no Lokayukta and RTI commissioner in Gujarat because the day when they start working, the balloon of Gujarat model would collapse on ground,” Mr. Gandhi said.
Highlighting the achievements of UPA government, the Congress vice president said 15 crore people were pulled out of poverty and a “new class” of 70 crore people emerged who are above the poverty line and below the middle class level.
He promised that his party would bring this new class under middle class in next five years. “We would empower them by giving their children scholarships, loan and other helps,” he said.
“BJP people say that their government made roads and generated electricity more than the Congress government but the fact is that we have constructed three times more roads than the BJP government.
“We generated two times more power than their government. Our previous government in Rajasthan also performed well in power sector,” he claimed.
Pointing out the industrial corridor project, he said, “We have started work on roads, electricity because we want to empower people with the growth.”
“They want to make two Hindustans, one of rich people and businessmen and the other of poor people. They make people of Maharashtra fight against the people of Uttar Pradesh, they want that poor should not unite whereas our objective is to unite and empower poor so that they can get benefits of development,” he said.
Mr. Gandhi, who was addressing the meeting in a stadium here, said that Congress has worked for poor, dalit, farmers and underprivileged whereas the opposition BJP wants to run government for 5 to 6 selected businessmen. He said that his party leaders use decent language in their address unlike the rival candidates.
While election was held on 20 seats on April 17, the rest five seats in Rajasthan will go to polls on April 24.