Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi, who is on a two-day visit to Mumbai, kicked off campaigning for the 2017 civic polls, which are to be held in February next year, on Friday.
While lambasting the BJP-Shiv Sena for their poor performance at all levels of their governance, he focused largely on issues related to Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) and urged party workers to get a Congress mayor elected in the civic polls.
Targeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s flagship schemes Swacch Bharat and Smart City projects, Gandhi said that taking photographs with brooms won’t help clean Mumbai, which does not have adequate solid waste management infrastructure and Rs 100 crore cannot transform a megapolis into a smart city.
“Owing to BJP-Shiv Sena’s misrule, the BMC does not have proper plans for disposal of about 1,000 tonnes of solid waste that is generated in the city every day.
There are various issues such as high rates of electricity, shortage of water supply and poor drainage system in the city. People are disillusioned and angry with the BJP-Sena rule,” he said.
“I want you (party workers) to turn that anger into sympathy for Congress so we have a Congress mayor next election,” said the Gandhi scion, while addressing Congress party workers in Malad.
Gandhi was flanked by the entire Congress city and state leadership on the dais, including state president Ashok Chavan, city president Sanjay Nirupam, former chief ministers Prithviraj Chavan and Narayan Rane.
While expressing concerns over allocation of just Rs 100 crore to Mumbai under the Smart City project, he attempted to relate these issues with the city, apparently keeping in mind the upcoming civic elections.
“When we (Congress) were in power, we allocated about Rs 2,000 crore to cities such as Nanded under JNNURM scheme. Modi has given just Rs 100 crore to Mumbai, which makes no sense. This is one of the reasons why the BJP government has lost credibility so fast,” said Gandhi, adding that Modi government was good at marketing of various schemes but failed in the implementation.
Gandhi ensured that his speech takes cognisance of Congress’ traditional voters — urban poor, dalits and Muslims — who visibly dominated the crowd of about 3,500.
He alleged that the Modi government in its pursuit of promoting start-ups, entrepreneurs and big businesses at the cost of the poor people, labourers, hawkers.
“There is confusion among people across the country over their future as BJP has forgotten them. Congress will work for their upliftment,” Gandhi said, mocking Modi that just speeches will not bring development.