Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi, who was on a day’s visit today to Madhya Pradesh that is in poll mode, poured vitriol on the BJP from political platforms and also endeavoured to show that he had not lost the common touch by visiting those injured in Sunday’s Ratangarh stampede even as saffron party bigwigs criticised his words and questioned his intellect.
While Mr Gandhi accused the BJP of not speaking of the poor, the hungry and the unemployed, his BJP counterpart Prabhat Jha said that his words constituted the confused speech of a muddle-headed person.
The heaviest criticism came from firebrand sadhvi and former chief minister Uma Bharti who said, “The words of the Yuvraj (crown prince) are not true. Starvation deaths occurred in this state prior to 2003.”
Addressing the Congress’ ‘Satta Parivartan’ (Change of Guard) Rally in the citadel town Gwalior, Mr Gandhi placed the BJP in the crosshairs and alleged that it does not comprehend the fact that India is not merely a country of roads, bridges, railway lines and aircraft, but comprises people.
“My heart hurts when the common man goes sans food and there are no jobs. The Opposition pokes fun of me whenever I speak of advancement of youth but until more youths enter Assemblies and Parliament, the country will not progress,” he said.
The saffron party does not wish that youths enter legislative bodies, the Parliamentarian said while adding that more youths would have to become members of Parliament, assemblies and panchayats in order to cleanse politics.
Only then would “development” take place, he aaserted. “Madhya Pradesh is a school nay a university of corruption. (Minister of State for Power) Jyotiraditya Scindia was telling me that memoranda of understanding worth Rs one lakh crore were inked by the BJP regime, which is habituated to signing MoU that remain on paper. Factories were closed in Madhya Pradesh,” Mr Gandhi alleged.
Referring to the cheering crowd, he claimed that the shouting being heard was the sound of the state’s youth and would be audible to the BJP on November 25 (Assembly election voting day).
The sound was “asking” when youth would get employment. There is no paucity in the youth and there is a need to “oust” the present regime. he added.
“We wish to bring the common man’s government to the state. Whoever runs the Congress regime in Madhya Pradesh, the poor will get ‘izzat’ (respect) and we will fight for your development. “More important than development is izzat. This regime does not show reverence for the public. That is the truth. Respect to the elderly and women and giving them a hearing is the meaning of government,” Mr Gandhi said.