AICC general secretary Rahul Gandhi held two well-attended rallies in Vidarbha on Tuesday, emphasizing the Congress’s concern for the common man and severely criticising the former NDA regime.
“When we visit the houses of poor people in the country, the opposition calls it a charade,” he said at Wardha, 75 km from Nagpur. “That is because they do not care about the poor. I want to tell you that poor people in this country will always be heard by Soniaji, Manmohan Singhji and me.”
Rahul ridiculed the “India Shining” campaign of the BJP in the last elections. “If you go to rural areas and ask what India Shining means, no one will understand,” he said. “This kind of thinking is for rich people only. The opposition fights for more privatisation and the growth of the stock market, not for the common people.”
Praising the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme started by the UPA government, he claimed the NDA government approach had been a complete contrast. “I cannot remember any programme for the uplift of the poor during their time,” he said.
At Nanded, 250 km from Wardha, he harped on the need to give opportunities to the youth. “I’m making sincere efforts through the Youth Congress and the National Students Union of India (the Congress’s student organisation) to project underprivileged youth as leaders,” he said.
Hailing Manmohan Singh’s tenure as prime minister, Rahul said that the UPA government had done a great deal to take the country forward. “We have waived loans of farmers and provided fresh loans,” he said, insisting the UPA had fulfilled all the promises made in its last election manifesto.
Many in the audience at Nanded saw a close resemblance between Rahul and his late father, Rajiv Gandhi. “Rahul is so much like his father. His father was a thorough gentleman,” said Afzal Hussain, a local scrap dealer who waited for hours in the scorching heat for a glimpse of Rahul. “He should have been projected as prime minister,” said his companion Mazhar Jamal, also a scrap dealer. “If the Congress really wants to create youth leaders, it should have tried to put Rahul in the PM’s chair.”