The opposition thinks infrastructure development alone will change the

Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday accused the Bharatiya Janata Party of serving the interests of industrialists and ignoring the common man. The opposition was “anti-poor” and believed in running the government for the rich and a privileged few, he said.

Seeking voters’ support for the ruling Congress at two huge election rallies at Chittorgarh and Bikaner in poll-bound Rajasthan, Mr. Gandhi said there was a fundamental difference between the thinking of the Congress and the opposition: “We believe that the nation is for everyone…rich, poor, farmers, labourers, Dalits…on the other hand, they think that infrastructure development and building of airports and roads alone would change the country. They do not talk about the poor.”

Mr. Gandhi added that the UPA government had carried out more infrastructure development than the NDA one. “Roads constructed by us during [the past] five years were three times the size of roads built in the NDA regime,” he said, adding that the BJP leaders excelled in “tall claims and marketing”.

Mr. Gandhi praised the Ashok Gehlot government in the State for launching a number of flagship schemes which had benefited all sections of the population and brought about “historic development”. He referred to the establishment of an oil refinery in the Barmer district as a significant step that would generate employment for two lakh people.

Mr. Gandhi’s visit to Rajasthan coincided with a whirlwind tour of BJP leader Narendra Modi who addressed five rallies in eastern parts of the State. The Congress vice-president refrained from naming the Gujarat Chief Minister, but ridiculed State BJP president Vasundhara Raje for describing as poison the free generic medicines distributed by the Congress-led government.

“The BJP leaders are big people. They are used to consuming branded medicines. It is their marketing that is working behind the claim of free drugs being poison. Marketing is [invariably] for a branded product,” he said.

Mr. Gandhi highlighted the significance of Delhi-Mumbai industrial corridor, a major chunk of which would pass through Rajasthan, and said industries would flock to the State after its completion. The crowd cheered when Mr. Gandhi spoke about revival of cement industry in Chittorgarh as a result of the massive corridor project.

Mr. Gandhi also reminded the audience about the contribution of his father, the late Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, in bringing IT revolution to the country. “When he spoke about computerisation, the Opposition laughed at it. After the spread of computers, they now admit that it is important.”

Accusing the BJP of indulging in “divisive politics”, Mr. Gandhi said the Opposition party was only interested in grabbing power without any concern about the future: “They don’t think of tomorrow and are just concerned about the present. They don’t know how to utilise the strength of the poor.”