Showcasing the Congress party’s efforts to empower the common masses so that they can have a life of dignity appeared to be the underlying theme of Rahul Gandhi’s speeches at two rallies in Madhya Pradesh, where he launched the party’s election campaign on Thursday.
“Respect is more important to me than progress and prosperity. I would like to ask the youth, women and tribals whether they feel they have lived a dignified life during the decade-long BJP rule in MP,” said Rahul at the first rally, in tribal-dominated Shahdol.
He dwelled on the same theme in urban Gwalior as well, saying “road construction, building of airports and bridges is important but ensuring respect to the common person is more essential”.
He said the “high-handedness” of the ruling BJP in the state amounts to disrespect for the common man.
Rahul said the Congress, if voted to power in the state, would guarantee a life of dignity to women, children, youth, tribals and other vulnerable sections of society and if it does not happen, he would personally make it happen.
Addressing a massive gathering at Mela Ground in Gwalior, he attacked the Chouhan government for “blatant corruption” in the state and said “it wouldn’t be improper to describe the BJP government in the state as a nursery of corruption as it has mastered the art of corruption”.
Welcoming Rahul to his bastion, union minister of state for power Jyotiraditya Scindia said the Congress has always devised policies for the welfare of poor, dalit, marginalised and backward classes, to empower them.
He recalled the contribution of his father Madhavrao Scindia in the development of industries, infrastructure and railways in the Gwalior and Chambal regions under the leadership of former prime minister Indira Gandhi and then Rajiv Gandhi.
Gandhi visits stampede victims
Rahul, accompanied by Jyotiraditya Scindia and other top party leaders from MP, paid a brief visit to the Datia district hospital to meet the pilgrims injured in the stampede at Ratangarh temple in the district on Sunday.
As many as 111 people were killed in the tragedy, a majority of them women and children.
Several Congress leaders had attacked the BJP government for mishandling the huge pilgrim rush at the temple. Rahul’s visit to the hospital was part of the strategy to sustain that attack.
During his brief stay at the hospital, he interacted with some of the 42 injured persons and inquired about their health and the quality of their treatment.