In politics to make the poor dream big, says Rahul Gandhi
Addressing a huge rally here after presiding over functions aimed at improving irrigation and power supply, Gandhi sought to identify the country's oldest party with the poor.
"We want that the poorest of poor are able to realise their dreams. We want women should be able to realise their dreams. Otherwise, there is no interest in politics for us," he said to applause. This was his second rally in Rajasthan in seven days.
In his about 20-minute speech, Gandhi took a veiled dig at Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi.
He said people come and make tall claims but the Congress delivers.
Gandhi stressed that the poor and women were the power of the country.
"If the country moves forward, it will be on the basis of your dreams. If we do not allow you to see dreams, the country cannot go forward," he said.
"Our politics is politics of your dreams," he said.
He repeatedly referred to welfare legislations passed by the UPA government including on food security, rural employment guarantee and land acquisition.
The opposition, he said, were creating hurdles in their passage.
He said the opposition agreed with the Congress on the need to build infrastructure, including roads, bridges, railway lines and power plants, but not on the party's concern for the poor.
"They (opposition) say well-placed people should walk on these roads, should board planes while the common man goes hungry and keeps looking at swanky cars.
"We say the biggest dream should be seen by the poor," he said.
The son of Congress president Sonia Gandhi contended that the reasons behind poverty was not unemployment but frequent health problems and diseases.
Noting that the Congress government in Rajasthan was giving free medicines to the poor, he said the scheme will be replicated in the entire country.
Gandhi said India was a country of young but most were poor.
"They have a lot of dreams. If they want to find employment, want to start a business, the government needs to hold their hand," he said.
Gandhi did not directly refer to Modi, but Rajasthan Congress chief Chandrabhan called the Gujarat chief minister "a specialist in riots".
Chandrabhan said there were no differences between Modi and BJP veteran L.K. Advani. Both, he said, were "communal".
Gandhi earlier presided over functions to lay the foundation stone of the Parwan River Dam Project and Super Critical Power Plant in Chhabra and three units of the Chhabra Plant and a sub-critical unit at Kalisindh.
The Krishi Upaj Mandi ground, venue of Gandhi's rally, was brimming with people who had come from different parts of Baran, Jhalawar, Kota and even from areas in neighbouring Madhya Pradesh.
Many wore caps bearing photographs of the Gandhis.
Gandhi was accompanied by Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, former union minister C.P. Joshi, Corporate Affairs Minister Sachin Pilot and several other Congress leaders.