Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi on Thursday hit out at the BJP’s ideological offshoot RSS, saying even Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel described it as a “poisonous outfit that can destroy the nation”.
“Sardar Patel ne kaha tha ki RSS ek zehreela sangathan hai (Sardar Patel had said RSS is a poisonous outfit),” Gandhi said at a rally here in Kangra district, some 250 km from Shimla.
Clad in a white kurta with jeans and donning a Himachali cap, Gandhi said “the opposition in a similar fashion is trying to appropriate Sardar Patel’s legacy”.
Taking a dig at the Bharatiya Janata Party’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi, he said: “It’s an irony that a person who lived all his life with RSS ideology is now installing his statue and it appears that he has not even read the history of Sardar Patel.”
“BJP’s tallest leaders in parliament had said India would be destroyed due to computers, but I won’t name them.”
He also lashed out at the BJP over claims of development, saying its leaders were taking false credit.
Himachal Pradesh, which has four Lok Sabha seats, will go to polls on May 7.
Gandhi said the Congress would ensure that 70 crore people enter the middle class in the next five years and claimed that 15 crore people were brought out of poverty by the UPA government.
“We do politics to empower people. Congress will continue to work to provide education and employment to people,” he said.
“During the UPA regime, the number of roads built was three times more than during the NDA regime,” he said, listing the achievements of the Congress-led UPA government.
“Our opponents are lacking farsightedness,” he said.
The industrial corridor project, he said, would usher in a manufacturing revolution. “The UPA government has taken up the industrial corridor project and it’s committed to complete it, which will generate more employment opportunities. Now, the maximum manufacturing takes place in China. In future, it will be in India,” he said.
Blaming the opposition for non-passage of the women’s reservation bill, he said the Congress was committed to women’s empowerment and would not only provide reservation to them in the Lok Sabha and state assemblies but also give adequate reservation in the ministries and in the party’s organisation.
To woo ex-servicemen, Gandhi said the UPA accepted their long pending demand of “one rank, one pension”.
Stating that he favours changes in the present education system, the Congress leader said: “The opportunities of higher education are limited and change in the system is required so that maximum people have access to higher education.”
Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh and his cabinet colleagues were present at the rally. In the 2009 elections, the BJP won Shimla (reserved), Kangra and Hamirpur, while the Congress bagged the Mandi seat.