Palanpur: In an apparent attempt to invoke the Gujarati pride in the poll bound state, Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi took potshots at Chief Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday, saying the BJP stalwart is pursuing his personal agenda at the expense of the common people.
“Here you toil hard and sweat it out… But it is only one man who takes the credit in Gujarat…What is your strength?.. Strength of Gujarati small businessman who run the economy of Belgium… Small artisans of Gujarat…You run Belgium… But your voice is not heard here,” Gandhi said in a veiled attack on Modi.
He was addressing an election rally in diamond polishing hub of Palanpur.
The voting for the final phase in Gujarat will be held on December 17.
Reiterating his earlier charge that the voice of common man is “gagged” in Gujarat, the Amethi MP said, “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”.
In an apparent reference to Modi, the Congress leader said “He thinks whatever happens in Gujarat, he does it. Whatever progress takes place here is done by him only”.
This is the second time that Rahul is electioneering in Gujarat.
“The duty of a politician is to understand people’s dreams…. And keep his dreams aside…In Gujarat, only one man’s dream prevails…Your dreams are never even asked about …” he added.
Recalling that former prime minister Rajeev Gandhi ushered in “revolution” by bringing in mobile phone.
“You have a mobile phone. Who brought it? Rajivji… What happened…A revolution came and your voice started getting heard…Who was standing with Rajivji…Sam Pitroda from Gujarat,” he added.
“Tell me how much water do you get? How much water do farmers get here…Do youths get employment?,” Rahul asked to which the public replied in negative.
“Voice of adivasis, farmers and labourers is not allowed to be raised,” he alleged.
Taking on the Gujarat government for not appointing Lokayukta, Rahul said the government was purposefully not responding to RTI applications and thus corruption is going unnoticed.
“When it comes to corruption, we brought RTI. Common man should get to know what happened here. The state government here says people of Gujarat should not get it (RTI). Many RTI applications are pending here…Jan Lokpal Bill was stalled by the BJP in Parliament and here we don’t have a Lokayukta,” Rahul said.
Trying to strike a chord on Vallabh Bhai Patel, Rahul said, “When we moved ahead to fulfil the dream of Sardar Patel that no one should remain hungry in India by introducing Right to Food Security Bill, they (BJP) obstructed (it) in Parliament… They are trying to snatch away the voice of poor”.
Modi often invokes the first Union Home Minister of the country, who hailed from Gujarat, in his speeches.
Alleging that basic issues in Gujarat concerning the common man stand unresolved, Rahul took a dig at Modi over the Nano car project.
“You know for every Nano car you pay Rs 60,000….But you get nitrate in water here,” he said.
Accusing the state government of, “purposefully delaying allotment of land to tribals”, alloted by Congress, till elections get over, Rahul said, “About 1.5 lakh adivasis have not got their land”.
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First Published: Thursday, December 13, 2012, 21:04