Campaigning in north and central Gujarat that will go to polls on Monday, the Nehru-Gandhi scion asserted at his rallies at Palanpur, Bhiloda and Dahod that only one person was not behind the development of the state.
“Aisa lagta hai ki Gujarati log kuch kar hi nahi rahe hain. Kisaan, majdoor, chote businessmen kuch nahi kar rahen. Sirf ek vyakti Gujarat ko agey badha raha hai. (Dr Verghese) Kurien ayen. Lekin is vyakti (Modi) ke aane se pahle kuch nahi hua (Impression is... Gujaratis are doing nothing. Farmers, labourers, small-time businessmen are not doing anything... only one person is taking Gujarat ahead. Kurien came here... but nothing happened until this gentleman arrived,” Rahul said without taking the name of Modi.
Addressing his first public meet at Palanpur in Banaskantha district, he reiterated his charge that the voice of common man is “gagged” in Gujarat. “In Gujarat, the voice of the poor and the weak is not heard. Only one man’s voice can be heard...and there are two or three corporates who are heard,” Rahul said.
He said the artisans from Palanpur were running the economy of Belgium but back home their voice remained unheard.
The Amethi MP went emotional when the agitated public spoke about how they are being lathicharged and said, “We are from Congress who can bear being lathi-charged. Two of my family members were killed by terrorists yet I am here... it doesn’t matter.”
At Bhiloda, Rahul said, “I have heard that there has been so many investments here, I do not see any in Bhiloda. Make a government of Gujaratis not of one person.”
Next at Rukhadi village in tribal-dominated Dahod district, which has been a Congress bastion, the leader said, “Youth, women, farmers, labourers are the persons behind the development of Gujarat. But he (Modi) says, he has done all this. It is like a person comes to you, holds you by hand, checks time in your wristwatch and then goes away. This is happening in Gujarat.”
He said that though Congress had enacted the Forest Rights Act 2006, but 1.5 lakh tribals of Gujarat were not given land as provided under the Act.
Taking on the BJP on the issue of corruption, Rahul said, “BJP leaders are talking of corruption but are not appointing Lokayukta in Gujarat for the last eight years. Who gave the RTI (Right To Information Act)? Congress. We introduced Lokpal Bill in Parliament but they (BJP) defeated it and now they are talking of corruption!”