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Lok Sabha elections 2019: Will give 33% quota to women in government jobs if voted to power, says Rahul Gandhi

Congress chief Rahul Gandhi reiterated his commitment to his proposal of minimum guarantee income for the poor if his party is voted to power. On his party’s alliance with the Opposition DMK, he said, “We may have minor differences. But, we have aligned for the nation’s welfare. We will not allow anyone to disturb the Tamil rights.”

lok sabha elections Updated: Mar 14, 2019 13:14 IST
MC Rajan and M Manikandan
MC Rajan and M Manikandan
Hindustan Times, Chennai
Rahul Gandhi,Lok Sabha elections 2019,2019 Lok sabha polls
Congress president Rahul Gandhi said on Wednesday that his party, if voted to power, would pass a bill to provide 33% reservation for women in Parliament and assemblies, and earmark 33% government jobs for women.(PTI Photo)

Congress president Rahul Gandhi said on Wednesday that his party, if voted to power, would pass a bill to provide 33% reservation for women in Parliament and assemblies, and earmark 33% government jobs for women.

Sporting jeans and a T-shirt, Gandhi addressed students at Stella Maris College for Women in Chennai, where he renewed his attack on the central government over the Rafale fighter jet deal. “Don’t see enough women in leadership positions. You cannot have women in power in India until attitude towards them changes,” he told the cheering crowd. In response to a question, he said he had learnt the lessons of humility and love from his mother, Sonia Gandhi.

He asked the audience not to address him as “sir”, and call him “Rahul” instead, a remark that was greeted with a thunderous applause. During his interaction, he also attacked Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government over the invalidation of high-value banknotes in November 2016, and advocated the need for dialogue to usher in peace in militancy-hit Kashmir.

On PM Modi, he said, “I don’t hate him. I learn from him. In Parliament, he was criticising my father [former PM Rajiv Gandhi], grandmother [former PM Indira Gandhi] and great grandfather [India’s first PM Jawaharlal Nehru], and the Congress...I was feeling affection for him....he was angry at not being able to see the beauty of the world. Love is the foundation of every religion, whether it is Hinduism or Islam or Christianity.”

Later, addressing a press conference in Chennai and at a rally in Nagercoil near Kanyakumari, he kept the heat on government over the Rafale fighter jet deal. “Tamil Poet Thiruvalluvar had said truth will triumph. For Narendra Modi, it is completely different. The truth will put him in jail,” the Congress president said.

The Congress has launched a spirited campaign, alleging wrongdoing in the National Democratic Alliance (NDA)’s decision to enter the government-to-government deal with France to buy 36 Rafale warplanes made by Dassault Aviation. The government refutes the charges of graft, accusing the Congress of spreading lies. “As far as the Rafale aircraft is concerned, we have no doubt about its capabilities. But, there are several questions over the way deal was finalised, which needs to be investigated properly,” Gandhi said in Chennai.

At the Nagercoil rally, he accused Modi of serving crony capitalists. “The Prime Minister wants to create two Indias. One is for the extremely rich crony capitalists, who fly in private flights and get thousands of crores [of rupees] for doing nothing. Whereas, in the other India, youth are jobless, farmers have no future and people are in severe distress,” Gandhi said.

Sharing the stage with the Congress president at the UPA rally, DMK’s MK Stalin said Rahul Gandhi will become the Prime Minister . “In your (Gandhi’s) hands the country will be safe we believe,” he said. He also charged the BJP with remote-controlling the Tamil Nadu government of the AIADMK, which has entered into a poll pact with PM Modi’s party. “The PM wants to destroy all the institutions of the nation and wants to rule all the state” he said.

Gandhi reiterated his commitment to his proposal of minimum guarantee income for the poor if his party is voted to power. On his party’s alliance with the Opposition DMK, he said, “We may have minor differences. But, we have aligned for the nation’s welfare. We will not allow anyone to disturb the Tamil rights.”

Karu Nagarajan, the general secretary of Tamil Nadu BJP, said, “The charges the Congress levels against the government in the Rafale deal are preposterous, and they display the Congress is afraid of losing the polls.”

First Published: Mar 14, 2019 00:42 IST