Varanasi, May 10 IBNS | 4 months ago

Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi on Saturday lashed out at Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)'s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi over his much-talked about Gujarat Model.


Addressing a massive gathering here, Gandhi said: "Modiji says he has made Gujarat. But we all have seen how he gave away a huge plot of farmland to one industrialist."

"Here, let me tell you that the farmers and labourers who worked on that land work under MNREGA (Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Gurantee Act) and eat under the Right to Food Act which the Congress government brought in."

"We show you dreams, Modi shows dreams to Adani. We want you to be self-sufficient, he wants you to be dependent," he said.

"Narendra Modi gives loans to businessmen and big industrialists at just 0.1% rate of interest. But for farmers, the interest rate is 14%. What kind of growth model is this?" he asked.

Slamming the Samajwadi Party (SP) government in Uttar Pradesh, Gandhi said: "We gave crores of rupees for the development of UP, for its weaving industry. But the state government did not use that money. The entire sum just vanished."

"For the last 25 years, youth are not getting jobs in UP. The UP youth have to go to Maharashtra, Haryana and Northeast to get jobs. We will change this scenario and create infrastructure for job creation here," he said.

Making further promises, Gandhi said: "The UPA has pulled crores of people out of poverty across India. We will continue to do so even in the next term."

He also promised Right to Health for all.

"Everyone, especially the poor, will be given the Right to Health where they will no longer have to spend their money for medicines and medical treatment. The Congress government will bear the cost for them," said Gandhi.

He said the Congress will maintain a balance between industry and agriculture once it returns to power.

"We are not against industrialists. We want partnership between the poor and big industries. We do not want a system where the poor work and when it comes to distributing the wealth, all of it goes into the pockets of the industrialists," he said.

Earlier in the day, in a show of strength, Gandhi on Saturday held a massive rally in Varanasi town of Uttar Pradesh.

Gandhi started his roadshow from Gol Gadda Chauraha, passed through Peeli Kothi and Benia Bagh, where Modi was earlier denied permission to hold a rally, and headed towards Lanka.

He stood in an open jeep wearing a Nehru topi with Congress colours and logo, waved to the people and requested them to vote for party candidate Ajay Rai with folded hands.

The Gandhi scion was musically welcomed by legendary musician Ustad Bismillah Khan's family who played shehnai for him.

The streets were flooded with people waving Congress flags, party supporters shouting slogans for the party and Gandhi.

He ended his rally at Lanka Gate, Banaras Hindu University (BHU) by paying a tribute to the university founder Pandit Madan Mohan Malviya.

Pertinently, Varanasi is one of the most keenly watched seats in the ninth phase of the 2014 Lok Sabha elections where the main contest is among BJP's Narendra Modi, AAP's Arvind Kejriwal and Congress' Ajay Rai.

Saturday was the last day of campaigning in Varanasi before the polls on May 12.

(Posted on 10-05-2014)


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