Lakhs of Adivasis turned up to attend Rahul Gandhi’s first visit as the Congress Vice-President to Salumbar in Udaipur, Rajasthan. “I want to crush my own dreams and make your dreams mine,” the Congress vice-president told the waiting crowd.

“The opposition says India’s development will come with huge bridges, long roads and airplanes. We agree, but there is one more thing. We say that the country’s progress is only possible the poor, the dalits, the adivasis… the people who build these bridges and these roads, are empowered,” he said.

In a speech that lasted over 25 minutes, the Mr. Gandhi said, “Our vision for this country wants everyone to shine — poor, adivasis, dalits, men, women…everyone…while the opposition wants to forget all these people, all these differences.”

A day before Mr. Gandhi made his tryst with the Adivasis of Rajasthan, BJP leader Narendra Modi had addressed his maiden political gathering in Rajasthan in Jaipur.

“I was talking to some labourers in Uttar Pradesh a few days ago and asked them to tell me something about their lives. They said they worked hard, fell sick and had to spend their income on medicines.

But in Rajasthan, Ashok Gehlotji has launched the free medicines scheme to address this issue. In the centre, we have launched schemes like Right to Food, Right to Work,” he said.

“In Niyamgiri, tribals used to worship the hills but a big businessman went and grabbed their land. This was wrong. Therefore, the UPA government has launched a revamped land acquisition act to empower poor people so that they are consulted before their land is taken,” said Mr. Gandhi.

Union ministers Girija Vyas, Sachin Pilot and CWC member C.P.Joshi were also present on the stage, along with Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and Rajasthan Congress chief Chandrabhan.


>>In “Rahul flags welfare schemes to counter Modi” (Sept. 12, 2013), the reference in the first paragraph to Kerwa forest is wrong. It should have been Kewra forest. Actually, Kerwa forest is in Madhya Pradesh. The fourth paragraph of the report referred to Rahul Gandhi’s 45-minute speech. The speech lasted only about 25 minutes.