"We will field new faces...be it (for elections to) Vidhan Sabha...Lok Sabha or Panchayats...you will see a government of new people, of the new generation," he said.
The Congress sounded the Lok Sabha poll bugle on Monday with party vice-president Rahul Gandhi addressing his first pre-poll rally in Tonk town in eastern Rajasthan.
Flanked by Rajasthan Pradesh Congress Committee (RPCC) president Sachin Pilot, State election-in charge Gurudas Kamat, former Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and Union Minister Namo Narain Meena, Mr. Gandhi promised the people a government run by the youth.
“We will field new faces be it [for elections to] the Vidhan Sabha, Lok Sabha or panchayats. You will see a government of new people, of the new generation,” Mr. Gandhi said.
Citing various welfare and governance initiatives taken by the UPA government, the AICC vice-president said the Congress believed in practising politics for the poor, for their rights and dignity. “Over the last 10 years, we have managed to pull 15 crore people out of poverty and created a new class of people, [comprising] 70 crore people, who are above the poverty line but below the middle class.”
“Who are these people? Security guards, carpenters, taxi drivers ... These are people who run this country. We want to bring them into the middle class,” Mr. Gandhi said.
He said the BJP alleged corruption in the UPA government, but overlooked massive corruption in the BJP-ruled States of Karnataka (previous regime), Rajasthan and Gujarat.
Mr. Gandhi promised the people a Pradesh Congress full of fresh faces and youthful energy.
“After the last Assembly elections in Rajasthan, which the Congress lost, we appointed a young man as the PCC president [Sachin Pilot] and the first thing I told him was to rebuild the party in Rajasthan with the young and new generation. And if the BJP does anything wrong, get out on the streets and do not give them an inch of space,” he said.
Mr. Pilot, too, assured his leader of “avenging” the Congress’s defeat in the Assembly elections. “Although we lost in the Assembly elections, I assure you Rahul ji, that we will not just avenge our defeat, but do it with principle,” he said.
“This [BJP] government practices politics of communalism, of pitting brother against brother. Last time they were in power, the streets of Rajasthan ran red with blood [referring to the Gujjar agitation],” he said.
Attacking the BJP and its prime Ministerial candidate, Mr. Pilot said the party started out with offering tea to the people, but was now collecting money from them in return. “In return for that five-Rupee tea, they are now collecting [hundreds of rupees] from every house in every village, just like (L.K.) Advani had done with a promise to rebuild the Ram temple in Ayodhya.”
The rally saw the former Chief Minister, Ashok Gehlot, make his first major public appearance after the Assembly poll debacle of the party in the Assembly polls last December.
Also present on the occasion was Mr. Gehlot’s son Vaibhav, who is likely to make his political debut in the coming parliamentary elections.