Chotila/Kagvad: Seizing on BJP leader Yashwant Sinha's critical remarks on the state of the economy, Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi today mounted an attack on the central government and alleged that it was not listening to the common man.
Addressing a gathering near Chotila in Surendranagar district on the last day of his three-day visit to poll-bound Gujarat, Gandhi said that even BJP leaders know that the country "is in deep trouble".
"Today, I read an article written by Yashwant Sinha, who is a senior BJP leader. He wrote that Modiji and (finance minister) Jaitleyji have destroyed the Indian economy. This is not my view. This is the opinion of a BJP leader," Gandhi said during his campaign tour in Narendra Modi's home state.
"He (Sinha) even wrote that though BJP leaders know that our country is in deep trouble, no one is ready to speak up as they are afraid of Modiji," he added. On his way from Chotila to Kagvad, Gandhi addressed people at some places and promised that Congress would waive all farm loans within 10 days of assuming power after the elections, which are due later this year.
Gandhi, who had kicked off the tour after offering prayers at Dwarkadhish temple on Monday, resumed his road-show this morning by trekking up the famous Chotila temple in Surendranagar district.
During his hectic road-show, which saw him covering vast streches of politically crucial Saurasthra region, Gandhi wooed the influential Patidar community, which has been pressing for reservation in jobs and education. On his arrival, the Patel quota agitation leader, Hardik Patel, had welcomed Rahul Gandhi to Gujarat with a tweet. Patel, who has been at the forefront of the agitation directed against the BJP government in the state, had tweeted, "Congress ke rashtriya upadhyaksh Rahulji ka Gujarat mae hardik swagat hai..Jay Shri Krishna (a warm welcome to Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi in Gujarat)."
Revving up his tirade against the central government, Gandhi, during his address at Chotila, also said that the country's economy is in shambles as the Centre does not listen to the common man.
"This has happened because the BJP government never listens to farmers, youngsters, labourers, traders and women, who actually run this country. People from the BJP listen only to businessmen and then tell the citizens their own 'mann ki baat'," Gandhi alleged, taking a jibe at the PM's radio programme.
Gandhi, who covered about 600 km in over five districts in three days, did not spare the BJP government in the state either.
Speaking to people in Patel-dominated areas on Tuesday, Gandhi had accused the BJP government in Gujarat of perpetrating atrocities on the members of the community during the quota stir. On the concluding day of his tour, Gandhi also visited three more temples, apart from the hill shrine at Chotila by climbing up about 1,000 steps to offer prayers to Goddess Chamunda. He visited Khodal Dham temple in Kagvad village to offer prayers to Khodiyar Mata, reigning deity of the Leuva Patels. On his way to Jetpur from Kagvad, Gandhi paid a visit to a temple dedicated to Dasi Jeevan, revered by the dalits as well as Buddhist people.
He also made an unscheduled visit to another shrine — Jalaram temple — in Veerpur in Rajkot district. His party circles believe that Gandhi's visits to temples could help counter the BJP-RSS's Hindutva line. Gujarat Congress spokesperson Manish Doshi alleged that the party was deliberately projected as anti-Hindu by the BJP and the RSS. "Rahul Gandhi's visit to various temples during his tour is aimed at countering the hardline Hindutva campaign of BJP and RSS," Doshi said.
"The RSS and BJP have deliberately tried to portray the Congress as anti-Hindu which is not true," he said. However, the party's central leadership said no political meaning should be read in the temple visits. "I don't think you should read political meaning into that. I think there is much else that is happening in his visit to Gujarat. I think we should focus on that," Congress senior spokesperson P Chidambaram said.
The former Union minister said the temple visits were "out of courtesy" and all politicians while touring constituencies go to various places of worship at the request of their supporters. However, a state BJP leader took a dig at Gandhi saying that he was visiting temples as his party has failed to win elections for long, while the saffron party is in power for over two decades.
"Rahul Gandhi has started visiting temples and shrines as his party is not winning elections in any state since many years," state BJP spokesperson Raju Dhruv said. In the last two days, Gandhi attacked the BJP and the Centre on issues of GST, note ban and farm polices during his public addresses.
Gandhi, who was scheduled to return to Delhi on Wednesday, decided to stay back in Rajkot. He will now fly back to the national capital on Thursday morning, party sources said.
Updated Date: Sep 27, 2017 22:40 PM