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Rahul castigates BJP at Rajasthan rally


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Karauli (Rajasthan), April 20 (IANS) Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi on Sunday came down heavily on the Gujarat model of development touted by the BJP and its prime ministerial aspirant Narendra Modi.

Gandhi said it is more of a "toffee model" that has benefitted only some industrialists in the western state while ignoring the interests of farmers and the poor.

The Gandhi scion was addressing an election rally in Rajasthan’s Karauli town, over 200 km from the state capital Jaipur.

Gandhi alleged that 45,000 acres of land has been given to an industrialist for a mere Rs.300 crore. "The land of the poor and the farmers was sold at Re.1 per metre … For Re.1, you get a toffee here. There, land was sold at Re.1 per metre," he said.

"(L.K.) Advani and Jaswant Singh have been sidelined and if (Atal Bihari) Vajpayeeji would have been in public life, he would also be facing similar situation."

The Congress vice president accused the BJP of copying the Congress manifesto.

"We visited people across the country and spoke with them to know what they want. On the basis of their demands and concerns, we prepared a manifesto, but all BJP did was to copy ours," said Gandhi.

He added the BJP replaced the picture of ‘haath’ (hand which is Congress party sign) with that of a ‘kamal’ (lotus which is the BJP sign) on the manifesto cover.

He added most of the promises made in the BJP’s manifesto have already been fulfilled by the Congress.

"They are saying they would provide one rank one pension. However, we have already implemented this scheme… they are saying they would build a manufacturing corridor, we have already started working on this industrial corridor," said Gandhi.

The Congress, he said, wants to give power to common men rather than a handful of industrialists.

Gandhi said: "We have taken 15 crore people out of poverty in the last 10 years."

The Congress is a party for the weak, poor and the farmers, he said.

"There is a difference between us and the opposition. We care about all, they do politics for a select few. They talk about Gujarat development, we talk about poor and downtrodden and giving rights," he added.

Taking a dig at Narendra Modi’s comment that "I (Modi) don’t want to become prime minister, want to be a chowkidar", Gandhi, without naming anyone, said: "BJP talks about chowkidar (watchman) of tijori (safe). But I have heard that chowkidars also steal. We (the Congress) want to empower all Indians."

As Rahul Gandhi spoke, partymen raised slogans in his support.

"We launched free medicines scheme in the state when we had our government here. Are you getting free medicines now under BJP government?… no … the BJP only runs government for big industrialists and not for poor or the downtrodden," he added.

"If we come to power, we want to give free medicines and also provide right to shelter to the poor," he said.

State Congress president Sachin Pilot and former chief minister Ashok Gehlot also addressed the rally.

Voting in Karauli-Dholpur and four other constituencies will take place on April 24.

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