Congress President Sonia Gandhi today slammed Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) chief Arvind Kejriwal, saying one was a “pracharak” and the other a “dharnebaaj”, as she asked voters to save Delhi from those who make only “hollow promises”.
“While one party has a pracharak, who only does ‘prachar’ the other just has a dharnebaaj, who is all the time busy organising dharnas. Delhi needs good governance and not false promises… BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party) and AAP can only talk big and make hollow promises.
“There is a need to be careful of those doing politics of pretension. The country is not run by mere slogans,” she said.
Addressing her first election rally for the Feb. 7 Delhi polls at Meethapur here near Badarpur, the Congress chief accused the Modi government of “weakening” the schemes initiated by the previous UPA dispensation, including on food security and land acquisition, and doing nothing to check corruption despite the “golden promises” made during the Lok Sabha polls.
She also raked up the issue of communal violence that took place in some parts of Delhi before the Assembly election dates were announced and alleged that it was being done to “capture power” in the state.
“There are some forces which cause incidents like what happened in Trilokpuri and Dilshad Garden. Such forces will have to be defeated which spread the politics of hatred,” she said as she appealed to people to strengthen secular forces.
Gandhi said that after the Assembly polls of 2013 in Delhi threw up a hung mandate, Congress had supported AAP in forming the government here, thinking they will deliver on their promise of making Delhi a better place. “But they could not run the government…and fled,” she said.
“I ask them (AAP) whether it was not their job to fight corruption and provide cheap water and electricity. And then the other party (BJP) kept on delaying elections in Delhi and continued with its rule here in the name of President’s rule,” she said.
While hailing the previous Congress-led UPA dispensation for taking many “social and revolutionary steps”, Gandhi said that the Modi government is snatching away the rights of the people by “weakening” those schemes.
Alleging that this was the “reality of their hollow promises” she said that while the UPA had brought the Food Security Act, “Modi government is trying to bring such changes in it which will limit the percentage of beneficiaries from 67 per cent to 40 per cent of the population.”
Addressing farmers, she said that those who had showed them “golden dreams” had now deprived them of even fertilisers and seeds while they were even less likely to receive proper prices for their produce.
“Why did we bring the Land Acquisition Act? We did it to ensure that no one forcibly takes away the land of farmers. What did the Modi government do? It opened the route for anybody to capture farmers’ land by bringing in the Ordinance.
“We had worked hard to give the country the RTI Act, but those who talked of a corruption-free government have kept the post of CIC Commissioner vacant and given a free hand to corrupt people,” Gandhi said as she sought to warn people against voting the BJP to power in Delhi.
She said that while Modi had made big promises, she would like to ask him “where is the black money from which every citizen was supposed to get Rs 15 lakh each”.
The Congress President also charged that both AAP and BJP have a common agenda of targeting her party. Turning her fire on BJP, she said that the party had “left Delhi on its own”.
“Why accuse just AAP, even the BJP government did not fulfil its responsibility and kept on delaying elections and left Delhi on its own.
“In this one year, law and order situation has turned worse and everything is in front of you. Especially the security issue of my sisters and problems like corruption and inflation have turned daily lives difficult for the people,” she said.
“Who is responsible for this situation… those who left you in the middle of nowhere or those who kept on imposing their rule in the name of President’s rule?” she said.
Attacking AAP for merely protesting and not fulfilling its promises, Gandhi said, “I ask the dharnewali party — should they not have taken steps to reduce corruption, should they not have introduced schemes for reducing water and electricity tariffs.
“Once again, you have got an important opportunity where you can vote for the next five years, which is important for your future and Delhi’s future,” she said while calling upon the people to vote for Congress.
Also present at the rally were former Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit, former Haryana chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda and senior Congress leaders Ajay Maken, Haroon Yusuf and Arvinder Singh Lovely.
Hooda, too, slammed both AAP and BJP as he asked voters to bring a Congress government back in Delhi.
“Kejriwal says that ‘make me CM, I will sit on dharnas’. If he is actually a good leader, he should have said ‘make me CM and I will make sure public doesn’t have to sit on dharnas’,” he said.
“Then there is BJP, which calls itself a cadre-based party. I ask them where is the cadre who is their CM candidate. Bedi has no relation to the cadre, how can it be a cadre-based party then,” he added.
“BJP’s policies are in front of you… We gave senior citizens a pension of Rs 1,500 and they have reduced it to Rs 1,200. They garnered votes on basis of mere lies,” charged Hooda.