Rahul Gandhi takes 2014 Lok Sabha battle to Modi-land

NetIndian News Network

Ahmedabad, March 11, 2014

Rahul hits out at Modi, says India does not need a watchman
Taking the battle for the 2014 Lok Sabha elections right into Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi's homeland, Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi today launched his sharpest attack on the Gujarat Chief Minister, saying that only a handful of industrialists had benefited from his so-called model of development.
Addressing a rally at Balasinor in Kheda district of Gujarat, Mr Gandhi also took a dig at Mr Modi, saying that the country did not need a "watchman" and that what the people really needed was rights and entitlements.
The reference was to Mr Modi's statement at public meetings that, if elected, he would work as a "chowkidar" (watchman) and guard the nation's wealth against corrupt elements.
"They talk about the Gujarat model of development. When I was a seven-year-old boy, I used to go for tuitions to a place in Delhi, where there was a huge poster of Amul," he said, referring to Gujarat's famed dairy development programme.
"If anyone has built Amul, it is the women of Gujarat. Amul has been built by Sardar Patel and the cooperative movement of Gujarat, which is sustained by the women of the state," he said.
"If at all we need anyone to act as 'chowkidars', it must be crores of vigilant people," he said.
Mr Gandhi said the BJP talks about Mahatma Gandhi and Sardar Patel and about the white revolution. "They are even building a statue of Sardar Patel. It is a good thing, a statue should be built. But, before that, they should read a bit about Sardar Patel," he said.
He said that those who are now building a statue of Sardar Patel were those who had opposed the move years ago to name the Ahmedabad airport after him.
Mr Gandhi said those who had spent a lifetime in the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), the ideological parent of the BJP, should read what Sardar Patel had written about the organisation. He said Sardar Patel had said that the RSS ideology was "poisonous" and would destroy the very soul of India.
He said the BJP now wanted to destroy the Congress, the organisation built by Mahatma Gandhi and Sardar Patel and to which they had dedicated their entire lives.
Mr Gandhi accused the Gujarat government of taking away thousands of acres of land from farmers and handing it over to industrialists, but the youth of the state never got the promised jobs and other benefits.
"The poverty line in Gujarat is Rs 11, and they say the state is shining. It is not shining for the women and children and the poor of Gujarat. It is shining for a few industrialists, their houses are shining, their planes are shining and their cars are shining. But the houses of the poor are not shining," he said.
Mr Gandhi spoke about the programmes launched by the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government at the Centre. He said crores of people had got jobs under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Programme and 80 crore people would be covered under the Food Security Act. He said the government had waived farms loans worth Rs 70,000 crore and had lifted 15 crore people above the poverty line.
He said that the UPA would continue its focus on the poor, but would also help to push those lifted above the poverty line into the middle class through a variety of measures. "We want those who drive trucks, drive cars, those who sell tea, those who work as watchmen, we want them to move to the middle class," he said.
Mr Gandhi said there were two kinds of leaders. One was like Mahatma Gandhi, who went among the people, lived in their houses, talked and listened to them and understood their problems. They did this because they believed that wisdom resided among the people. Such leaders are humble and not arrogant, he said.
He said the other leader was like Hitler, who thought he did not need to talk to or listen to people, who believed he had all the answers and was arrogant -- remarks which were clearly meant to be a criticism of Mr Modi's perceived style of functioning.
Mr Gandhi said the BJP did not have any ideology, but only anger, which they wanted to pass on to the people. The Congress, he said, had "love and compassion" instead.

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