In an apparent attack on Narendra Modi, Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi today said the opposition leaders only make tall claims and work for the rich while his party has stood by the poor and believes in helping them realise their dreams.
Addressing a rally in this town of poll-bound Rajasthan, Gandhi listed the various initiatives of the UPA government including Food Security Bill, Land Acquisition Bill and MNREGA for empowerment of the economically weaker sections.
"People come and make tall claims," he said in an apparent reference to BJP Prime Ministerial candidate Modi, who addressed a rally in the state on September 10.
"We do not believe in making tall claims. But we deliver. We want your children should see big dreams. If we do not allow you to dream, then this nation cannot move forward," he said. He said that unless people are capable of seeing the biggest of dreams for their children, he doesn't have any interest in politics.
He hit out the opposition for resisting the passage of food security bill in Parliament and MNREGA on the plea that there would be constraint of funds and accused them of working only for the elite.
"When it comes to schemes for the poor, they ask where the money will come from. But, when mines are to be allotted and land is acquired then nobody raises questions. This is the difference between them and the Congress party," he said.
"Our politics is the politics of your dreams," he said claiming that the Congress party stood only for the poor and will continue to do so.
"They want only 500-odd people should dream, travel in airplanes, move in cars. This is their thought. This is not our politics."
Referring to the old Congress slogan, "aadhi roti khayenge, Congress ko layege (will eat half chappati but ensure victory for Congress", he said after the Food Security Bill, the party has coined a new slogan - "Pet bhar ke roti khayenge, Congress ko jitayenge (We wil have a full meal and ".
Empathising with the the poor farmers, Gandhi said disease and sickness are the biggest cause of poverty as they have to frequently spend money on medicines.
"In Rajasthan, medicines are provided free of cost by the government. Not just here, this will be brought across the country," he said, with reference to UPA's plan for ushering in universal health coverage for all.
Attempting to woo the youth, Gandhi said India is a country of the youth - a majority of whom were poor. "They have a lot of dreams. If government does not hold their hand and provide them employment and food opportunities, then we will not be able to move forward," he said.
Claiming that the dreams of the poorest of the poor are being fulfilled in the 21st century, he said, "We will do this for you... The dreams of the poor will be fulfilled".
He claimed that the state government has done a lot to provide water not just for irrigation but also for drinking. "Earlier, there used to be only one crop. Now there will be two or three crops," he said.
"We respect your blood and tears that is why we have brought the Land Acquisition Bill," the Amethi MP said, while raising the pitch for the upcoming Rajasthan Assembly Elections.
Gandhi also touted the empowerment of village folk through the Panchayati Raj Act brought by the Congress. "We have given Panchayati Raj system. It is you who should decide your future. You can lead the nation," he said.
"We have passed land acquisition bill to ensure that a farmer's son can realise his dreams," Gandhi said.
He said women are the strength of the country and "it is the dream of the government to ensure empowerment of youth and women".
Gandhi also batted for devolution of power.
He said governments were run from Delhi and Jaipur today, but "we want devolution of power so that government runs from village and panchayat level for greater empowerment of people".
Claiming that lakhs of people have been given employment under the UPA rule, the Congress vice president said, "We have shown what we can do" while referring to the passage of food security bill, land acquisition bill and MNREGA programme.
"The aim of our politics is to realise the dreams of the poor people," he said.
Gandhi said he inaugurated a power plant today and told the government that the common man did not understand MegaWatts. "Rajasthan today generates thrice the electricity it did 10 years ago," he said.
"We say that India needs infrastructure. So does the Opposition. The difference is that we also raise the question of who benefits from the infrastructure. The person using the roads should have enough to eat.... The daily wage earner should look at an aeroplane and dream that his son pilots it someday," Gandhi said.
The Congress leader, however, did not name Modi or any of the BJP leaders during his address.
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