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‘Aam aadmi’ Rahul in Gandhi land

Rahul Gandhi kicked off his all-India election campaign paying tributes to Mahatma Gandhi at Sevagram.

Written by Vivek Deshpande | Wardha |
April 1, 2009 8:37:29 am

Rahul Gandhi kicked off his all-India election campaign paying tributes to Mahatma Gandhi at Sevagram on Tuesday. “Even when there would be just one poor man left in this country,I,Soniaji and Manmohan Singhji will listen to his voice,” Rahul said,addressing an election rally for Congress candidate Datta Meghe,who parted ways with mentor Sharad Pawar to join the Congress.

“They (the opposition) don’t work for the poor and oppose us when we do. It’s the poor who needs the government most in this country,” he said in what sounded like a throwback to the Congress’s 2004 aam aadmi campaign to counter the BJP’s Shining India blitz.

Choosing mostly to point out the “wrongs” committed by the NDA Government,the privatisation in particular,Rahul said: “Our opponents don’t understand what the poor want. We know exactly that.” “Some foreign journalists asked me once about difference between the Congress and others. I said,we don’t divide the country on caste and religious basis like they do and unlike the Opposition,we look at India from the common man’s perspective,” he said.

Predictably,Rahul spoke of NREGS as the pro-poor scheme launched by the UPA. But nobody,apparently,had apprised him that he was speaking in a district that for years had rejected the original state scheme with zero attendance on government employment works. He also spoke of the farm loan-waiver. “When I had come here last time,I was told we needed to change some provisions. We did that to make it to cover all farmers,” he said,adding: “When elections near,nobody talks of development,poverty. Our opposition says our PM is weak. And it is they who kneeled before terrorists in Kandahar.”

Giving a certificate to the Manmohan Singh Government,Rahul said,“the PM has ushered in development at a fast pace and has,post-26/11,brought Pakistan under a lot of pressure.” Rahul also called for bringing more youth and poor in politics. “We won’t achieve real progress without that,” he said,before heading to Nanded.

It will be a tough fight for Meghe against BJP’s sitting MP Suresh Waghmare,especially since he isn’t a favourite of the district Congress. Chief Minister Ashok Chavan and state party president Manikrao Thakre were also present at the rally.

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