Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi on Saturday disapproved of politics of hatred and pledged to provide free health care as well as housing facilities to the poor.
He addressed two rallies in Uttar Pradesh. The first was in Ghaziabad, while the other was in Saharanpur, where Congress candidate Imran Masood was arrested earlier in the day for threatening to chop BJP's prime minister nominee Narendra Modi into pieces.
Sharing the dais with Masood's wife, Gandhi said, "Party's local candidate used some hard words against the opposition a few months ago. But we should not allow the anger of the opposition to affect us." His visit to Saharanpur came late in the day, following reports that he had postponed the trip owing to the controversy.
Earlier, in Ghaziabad, Gandhi said the Gujarat model of development, which the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is hardselling ahead of the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, would burst. The Congress has fielded actor-turned politician Raj Babbar from the seat.
Gandhi reached out to voters by announcing the Congress' plans to introduce free medicine and health facilities, and ensure the right to housing for the poor. He showered promises on voters, stressing the need for women's reservation in Parliament and the state assemblies.
Gandhi said the Congress' agenda comprises "...provision for free medicine and health facilities, and the... right to housing for poor." He added, "We want to see at least 50% women in Parliament, state assemblies and even in industrial sector. We will complete these promises..."
Taking a dig at the BJP, he said it gave the authority to a single person, while the Congress gave importance to the people. He, however, did not name Modi, who is leading the saffron brigade's charge for the Lok Sabha elections.
Gandhi, whose party has come under attack from the BJP over a series of scams, said, "They (BJP) can't see former Karnataka chief minister (BS) Yedyurappa. When they go to Chhattisgarh, they don't see corrupt ministers. They don't see corruption in Madhya Pradesh. They don't see it in Gujarat where they have people who went to jail."
Gandhi has taken up the issue of corruption in BJP-ruled states to attack the saffron brigade ahead of the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.
He also targeted the 'India Shining' campaign launched by the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) in 2004.
"They inflated an air balloon with the name of 'India Shining' and marketed its concept for three months. People punctured it by pressing the button during elections.
"Now they have come up with a hot air balloon with the name of 'Gujarat model.' This will also come crashing down."
Claiming the Congress government lifted nearly 15 crore people out of the poverty level, Gandhi said there the United Progressive Alliance (UPA), if voted to power, would lift another 70 crore people in its third term.
"The 'Gujarat model' will fail. In UPA-III, we plan to lift another 70 crore people and shift them to middle- class category. For this, we will change the education system to provide equal opportunities. We have plans for dedicated corridors from Delhi, Mumbai and Chennai to Kolkata. Manufacturing industries will come up and people will get employment."
Gandhi also talked about the UPA's flagship schemes such as the rural job programme and the food security bill.
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