Narendra Modi would have ousted even Atal Bihari Vajpayee: Rahul Gandhi

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Karauli (Raj), Apr 20: Sharpening his attack on Narendra Modi, Rahul Gandhi today said the BJP leader would have “ousted” even Atal Bihari Vajpayee like party veterans Jaswant Singh and L K Advani had the former PM continued being in public life.

The Congress Vice President took a dig at Modi for his statement at rallies asking voters to make him the “chowkidar” (watchman) of the country, saying the BJP PM candidate was a “chowkidar” only to businessmen and had ousted senior leaders and “brought in Adani”.

“He (Modi) boasts of development in Gujarat but it was not a single man who changed Gujarat. It was the hard work of labourers and farmers who made Gujarat.

“He wants to get the keys (control) of the country in his hands but what happened in Gujarat? People gave him keys but he brought in (businessman) Adani,” Gandhi said at a public meeting here.

“A group of Sikh farmers from Gujarat told me that their forefathers migrated from Pakistan to Gujarat and they put in their hard work and efforts to make the land allotted to them fertile.

Now, Gujarat government officials have asked them to leave the state saying they were outsiders, he said, adding the same treatment was meted out to senior leaders in BJP.

“L K Advani and Jaswant Singh were told ‘you are outsiders go from here’. If Atal Bihari Vajyapee would be in public life today, he would also be asked the same thing,” he said.

Questioning Modi’s claims on development of Gujarat, Gandhi again raised the issue of allotment of farmers’ land to industrialists.

“45,000 acre land, an area equal to Bikaner, was doled out to a businessman in Gujarat for Rs 300 crore. One rupee for one square meter. This is toffee model because you have a toffee in one rupee. If you are surname is Adani, you can get farmers land at such a rate under toffee model,” Gandhi said

He alleged that development for BJP is “development of selected businessman”, not for people at large.

“Textile industry has been closed.Farmers lands are being snatched.If you have Rs. 11.50, you are not poor in Gujarat. This is the reality of Gujarat,” he said.

Gandhi said that the UPA government empowered the common man and the poor in the last ten years by way of various rights including MGNREGA, RTI and Right to Food, and lashed out at the Gujarat Chief Minister for not ensuring that people gets advantages of RTI.

“There is no Lokayukta and RTI commissioner in Gujarat because the day when they start working, the balloon of Gujarat model would collapse on ground,” Gandhi said.

Highlighting the achievements of UPA government, the Congress vice president said 15 crore people were pulled out of poverty and a “new class” of 70 crore people emerged who are above the poverty line and below the middle class level.

He promised that his party would bring this new class under middle class in next five years.

“We would empower them by giving their children scholarships, loan and other helps,” he said.

“BJP people say that their government made roads and generated electricity more than the Congress government but the fact is that we have constructed three times more roads than the BJP government.

“We generated two times more power than their government. Our previous government in Rajasthan also performed well in power sector,” he claimed.

Pointing out the the industrial corridor project, he said, “We have started work on roads, electricity because we want to empower people with the growth.”

“They want to make two Hindustans, one of rich people and businessmen and the other of poor people. They make people of Maharashtra fight against the people of Uttar Pradesh, they want that poor should not unite whereas our objective is to unite and empower poor so that they can get benefits of development,” he said.

Gandhi, who was addressing the meeting in a stadium here, said that Congress has worked for poor, dalit, farmers and underprivileged whereas the opposition BJP wants to run government for 5-6 selected businessmen.

The Congress Vice President said that his party leaders use decent language in their address unlike the rival candidates.

While election was held on 20 seats on April 17, the rest five setas in Rajasthan wil go to polls on April 24.

Gandhi said the UPA government gave rights and guarantees to people after discussing their issues with them. “It was not the Prime Minister, or Congress president or I who took the decision to bring MGNREGA.”

“We discussed with you to know about your problems and requirements, after that we decided to bring such rights and programmes,” he said, adding, that Congress now wants to give free medicines across the country on the pattern of the scheme launched by previous Ashok Gehlot government in Rajasthan.

He alleged that free medicine scheme in Rajasthan was not functioning properly under BJP rule, and alleged that the new government in Rajasthan wants to work for a few companies.

“The government in Rajasthan wants to work for a selected company hence they are not interested for the free medicines scheme,” he alleged.

Congress was decimated in Rajasthan assembly election in December with BJP winning 162 out of 200 seats. This was Congress’ worst performance in the state.

On BJP’s promise to empower women, Gandhi said, “Women already have power what we need is to give them proper honour.

“BJP in its posters having picture of Narendra Modi says that they want to empower women but where is their empowerment? Their workers beat a woman in the name of moral policing in Karnataka.

“Their minister in Chhattisgarh admits that 20,000 women have gone missing in the state. Gujarat chief minister gets telephones of a woman taped.

This is the reality, and they talk of women empowerment.”

Karauli-Dholpur is among the five constituencies which will go to polls on April 24.