We built thrice as many roads as NDA, he says
All India Congress Committee vice-president Rahul Gandhi’s election speech here, in Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot’s hometown, was laced with the mention of flagship schemes of the Congress governments at the centre and in Rajasthan along with intermittent attacks at the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
Addressing the people here on Monday, Mr. Gandhi said there were a lot of hurdles before the country’s poor that prevented them from getting out of poverty and merely strengthening the infrastructure wouldn’t help their cause.
He was accompanied by Mr. Gehlot, Congress Working Committee member C.P. Joshi and Rajasthan election in-charge Gurudas Kamat, among others.
“There are two differing ideologies before you... we think that merely building roads, airports, railway lines will not get a poor person out of poverty... I think that there is wall erected before the poor man, the farmer and the government has to demolish that wall,” said Mr. Gandhi, addressing a huge gathering at the old stadium here.
“But the BJP thinks that they will build roads and airports... and the poor man himself will have to break the wall that stands before him... that’s the difference... So we give you employment guarantee schemes, schemes for senior citizens, Janani Suraksha Yojana and that’s why we are talking about the right to food... We will be giving free food to every person,” he said.
Mr. Gandhi rubbished the BJP’s claims of more roads/highways being constructed under the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) regime and said the Congress was way ahead of the Opposition in all respects.
“The BJP talks about roads, railway lines, electricity... I have two sets of data... I asked the Roadways Ministry about roads built under the NDA and the UPA... The statistics show that whatever roads [were] built in five years, we built three times of that in our five years,” said Mr. Gandhi.
“During their [BJP] government, 1500 MW power was produced... and in the last five years, Gehlotji who talks less and works more, produced more than 7000 MW electricity,” he said.
“And their leader [Vasundhara Raje] promises 24-hour electricity [in their manifesto]... We did the work and she thinks she can just give a speech promising 24-hour electricity,” said Mr. Gandhi.
He also attacked the BJP over its allegations regarding the Gehlot government’s free medicine scheme.
“It is easy to deliver speeches... BJP leaders are saying these medicines are poison... I talk to labourers and they tell me that they used to spend their earnings on medicines but Gehlotji changed all that... But according to the BJP, if the medicine is not benefiting multinational corporations then it is poison,” said Mr. Gandhi.
Before Jodhpur, Mr. Gandhi also addressed a mass gathering in Pushkar, near Ajmer in the morning.