Rahul Gandhi: Congress wants to break the thick wall of poverty

Written by PTI | Pushkar | Updated: Nov 25 2013, 23:09pm hrs
Rahul GandhiMinister of State for Corporate Affairs Sachin Pilot greets AICC Vice President Rahul Gandhi during an election rally in Pushkar on Monday. PTI
To ensure that the underprivileged reaped harvest of growth, there is need to demolish the "thick wall" of poverty, Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi said today in a speech.

"Of course India wants infrastructure like better roads, rail links and airports, but poor people also need our help and they should get the benefits and move forward," Rahul Gandhi said at a poll rally here, 10 km from Ajmer.

Taking a jibe at BJP, he said while Congress wants to help the poor by extending a supportive "hand" (Congress election symbol), the saffron party wants to break the "wall (of poverty)" by banging the head of the poor against it.

"This is the major difference between us and them," he said.

Seeking to strike an emotional chord with the downtrodden, Rahul Gandhi said Congress understands the poor from the core of the heart.

He said there is the difference between Congress and BJP's style of working and their outlook towards efforts needed to bring development and prosperity in the country.

Like Narendra Modi's style of establishing a direct connect with the audience, Rahul asked the women whether what he was saying was right or wrong.

Amid applause, pat came the reply from the crowd, "aap sahi hain" (You are correct).

Referring to various welfare schemes launched by the UPA for the uplift of the poor, Rahul cited the example of MNREGA, which provides 100 days of employment to the poor regardless of caste, creed and religion.

Attacking the opposition, Gandhi said, "When Congress spends money on the job guarantee scheme, BJP makes allegation that the money was bungled."

The Congress leader said his party has brought the Food Security Act, giving legal right to foodgrains to the poor at a very low cost.

He said Congress has promised to give 35 kg of foodgrains (wheat) to every BPL and APL family which does not pay income tax, if voted back to power in the Rajasthan Assembly polls.

"Poor in the country sleep hungry. Neither roads, nor the airports will fill their belly," he said.

Hailing Gehlot government's flagship schemes including pension, free medicines and diagnostic care to patients, Rahul Gandhi lamented that the "Leader of the Opposition (Vasundhara Raje) is terming the supply of free medicine as spreading poison."

Rejecting her charge, Rahul said, "Free medicines are giving benefit to lakhs of people in Rajasthan every day."

"We are learning from Rajasthan's model of free treatment and medicine distribution and will get it implemented soon in the country," the Congress leader said.

"I talk very straight, wherever there will be a Congress government, it will be 'aam admi ki sarkar', 'garib ki sarkar', 'mahila aur yuvaon ki sarkar'," he said.

Comparing the previous NDA government's work with the UPA I and II rule, he said, Congress-led government made three times more work than what was done by the previous regime.

Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, Union Minister Sachin Pilot, and AICC member C P Joshi also addressed the rally.