Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi with Rajasthan Congress chief Sachin Pilot and party leader Ashok Gehlot during a rally at Deoli in Tonk district (Photo - PTI)
Tonk: Launching Congress' Lok Sabha campaign in Rajasthan, Rahul Gandhi on Monday claimed that 15 crore people were pulled out of poverty by the UPA government and a "new class" of 70 crore people has emerged who are below the middle class level and his party wants to do politics for them.
"The new class of 70 crore people, who are above the poverty line but below the level of middle class, has been created in the last ten years and it includes security guards, taxi drivers etc," Gandhi said at a rally in Deoli area of the district.
"We want to do politics for them in order to bring them up to the middle class level," he said. This was Gandhi's first rally in Rajasthan after the announcement of Lok Sabha poll schedule. "We do politics to empower people... to pull out people from poverty, to give them honour, rights, education and employment," Gandhi said while promising that his party will not forget the poor.
The Congress leader attacked BJP, saying that its leaders are talking about corruption but why they could not see corruption in their own governments in Karnataka, Rajasthan and Gujarat.
"The previous BJP government in Rajasthan topped in corruption and the present government will also try to repeat those practises, but our workers will not let this happen and expose them on road and in villages," Gandhi said.
"It would be the endeavour of the BJP government in Rajasthan to discontinue schemes like free medicines, pension initiated by our government and to run a government for business and for rich but we will keep fighting for poor people because we want to help them," he said.
He said that Congress will continue to work to provide education and employment to people. "A project of industrial corridor and Dedicated Freight Corridor (DFC) was taken up by our government and we are committed to complete them, which will generate employment opportunities for lakhs of people in parts of the country," he said in his concise six-minute address.
AICC General Secretary Gurudas Kamat, PCC chief and Union minister Sachin Pilot, former chief minister Ashok Gehlot and several other senior leaders of the party were present in the rally attended by large number of people.
Promising a new leadership, Gandhi said that his party will field new and young faces in Lok Sabha, Assembly and panchayat elections in Rajasthan. "We will bring the government of young," he said.
Gandhi said that after defeat in Assembly polls in the state, the party made young leader Sachin Pilot PCC president and entrusted him with the task of preparing a young leadership. "I asked him not to give space to the (BJP) government for any wrong doing in the state," he said, while appealing the party workers to expose the BJP government whenever they found any wrongdoing.
Attacking the BJP's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi, PCC president and Union minister Sachin Pilot said that Modi is "two-faced" and engaged in "double speak".
He claimed that BJP started out with offering tea to people but was now collecting money from them in return. "In return for that five rupee tea, they are now collecting (hundreds of rupees) from every house in every village...just like their leader L K Advani had done with a promise to re-build the Ram temple in Ayodhya," he alleged.
Pilot expressed confidence of retaining 20 parliamentary seats out of total 25 and said that the party would try to increase the tally. Former chief minister Ashok Gehlot said that BJP managed to come to power by "misleading" people in the Assembly polls last year by calling free medicine as poison and repeating lies hundred times. Appreciating Rahul Gandhi, Gehlot said he has a vision like Rajiv Gandhi had for 21st century.
Commotion broke out for a brief period in women's enclosure at the Gandhi's rally venue when some miscreants apparently tried to misbehave with women. While Gehlot was addressing the gathering, a woman Congress worker started beating the miscreants with a baton. Later, they were pushed out of the enclosure. When contacted, Superintendent of Police Tonk Satyendra Singh said that the matter was not reported to the police.