After Sonia Gandhi, it was son Rahul Gandhi’s turn to woo voters in Vidarbha, as the Congress vice-president lashed Prime Minister Narendra Modi, accusing him of double standards.
Addressing his first elections meeting in Vidarbha on Sunday, Gandhi said that though Modi had promised to construct a huge statue of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, he was working against the principles that the leader stood for.
Gandhi said, “Our opposition pays tribute to the great soul of the country, Mahatma Gandhi, but they work against Gandhian principles. Congress has always worshipped the philosophy, values and principles of such great souls. This is the difference between the Congress and the opposition.”
Without naming Modi, he said that an opposition leader had said that nothing had happened in the last 60 years. “Their thinking is that only one man can take the country forward. Such thinking raises a question mark on you, who have elected Congress for years. If the Congress government did anything good, it is because of you who reposed faith in the party to rule, and the credit goes to you for the good work,” he said, adding that the BJP is not talking against the Congress, but against the common man who has elected the Congress for years.
Lashing out at the Modi government for making “false” promises to the electorate, he said that Modi, in the 2014 Lok Sabha election campaign, had talked about bringing back black money stashed in foreign countries within 100 days, but was maintaining a stony silence, now that the deadline set by him had passed. He also reminded the gathering of Modi’s promise to inspire fear in Pakistan and China, if he was elected prime minister. “See what is happening on the Indo-Pak border. There is firing on the borders every day and people are dying. There is violation of the border by the Chinese army. Our Prime Minister was enjoying a swing ride with the Chinese president, but did not raise the issue with him during his visit,” he rued.
The recent hike in price of life-saving drugs was also discussed by Gandhi in his 20-minute speech. He said that while the UPA government had kept medicine prices under control, Modi in his trip to the US had met industrialists from the drug-manufacturing cartel and agreed to lift the ban on price restrictions. Gandhi said that the UPA government had kept the prices of medicines under control, but when Modi travelled to US and met 11 top industrialists from the drug-manufacturing cartel, he had agreed to enhance the drug prices and lift the ban of price restrictions.
“Now, life-saving medicines for diseases, like cancer, diabetes and blood pressure have increased drastically. This will affect the poor sections of society,” he said, pointing out that a cancer drug which was earlier available for Rs 8,000 will now be sold for Rs one lakh.
Gandhi also promised that the Congress, if voted to power, will also not just provide free drugs, but free surgeries as well. He asserted that the Rajiv Gandhi Health Insurance Scheme launched in Maharashtra was already a hit, with many from the poor sections of society were benefiting from it.
Rahul also said that the state’s new textile and industrial policy would create 30 lakh jobs in the near future. He said that farmers in Maharashtra would be provided uninterrupted electricity, and promised to give a home to each needy family in Maharashtra, if Congress is elected in the state.
He also promised that Ramtek would be developed as a world-class tourism centre, attracting international tourists. While in power, Congress had developed Bangalore as an IT hub, Pune as an automobile hub, and will now develop Ramtek as a tourist hub, Gandhi said.