Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday targeted the BJP, saying while one ideology gives benefits to a select few, another is the voice of the people, farmers and labourers.
As the Bharat Jodo Yatra led by him crossed over into Haryana from Rajasthan this morning, Gandhi also said that inflation and unemployment are the biggest issues affecting the country.
Addressing a gathering in the district, where a large number of people had turned up braving the morning chill, Gandhi said the fight between two ideologies in this country was not a new one and has been going on for thousands of years.
On BJP leaders questioning the need to undertake the the Kanyakumari to Kashmir yatra, Gandhi said he was “opening a shop of love in the market of hate” through the Bharat Jodo Yatra.
“When these people go out to spread hatred in this country, people of our ideology go out to spread love and affection,” he said.
“This is not a new fight, don’t think that this fight is of today, of 21st century, this fight is thousands of years old and in two ideologies fight and have been fighting. One ideology which gives and gave benefits to select few and second ideology is the voice of people, peoples’ pain, farmers’ voice, labourers’ voice,” he said.
“This fight has been going on, will go on, but in this fight the Congress has a role and we all have a role. This is why we started this Yatra,” the Congress leader said.
The yatra was welcomed in Haryana by senior leaders, including former Haryana chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda, senior leader Randeep Singh Surjewala, Kumari Selja, Deepender Singh Hooda, state party chief Udai Bhan, among others.
Gandhi said he learnt a lot through this Yatra, which probably one does not learn sitting in cars, aeroplanes and helicopters.
Gandhi said “these days leaders have a habit and he was talking about all parties including the Congress, BJP and Samajwadi Party. Nowadays there is a gulf between leaders and the public. Leaders think there is no need to listen to people and they give lengthy speeches for hours, this Yatra has attempted to change that.”
“We walk daily for 6-7 hours and all leaders listen to the voice of everyone, including farmers, labourers, youth mothers, daughters, small shopkeepers, small and medium businesses and after this we give a 15-minute speech,” he said.
Gandhi said that he was happy to note that Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, his cabinet ministers and other party leaders from the state will walk at least 15 km once a month in the State for a better understanding of people’s problems and redress their grievances.
He said he will suggest to the Congress president that wherever the party’s government is there, the ministers and MLAs there need to undertake a walk for a day in a month on similar lines.
Gandhi said this yatra is definitely against hatred, but there are are two big issues which are affecting the country the most.
“The biggest of them is unemployment, thousands of youth came to me– somebody has done engineering, somebody wanted to be a doctor, somebody wanted to work in judiciary,” he said, while adding highly educated youth were driving taxis and doing labour works.
He alleged that only five to seven billionaires can do whatever they feel like whereas small and middle businesses have been sidelined.
“Five to seven people do whatever they want to do, they are ‘arabpatis’, having crore of debt. They do whatever business they want to do be it infrastructure, port, airport, agriculture. Whereas small and middle business have been sidelined,” he said.
The Congress leader said he has maintained in his speeches that demonetisation and GST are not policies but weapons to eliminate small and medium traders.
“The target is to handover the country’s wealth to three-four people. The result is that the country was unable to give jobs to its youth,” he said.
“Another issue is inflation. You may be remembering that when the UPA government was in power, cooking gas cylinder was available for Rs 400 and today it is available at Rs 1,200.Petrol was available at Rs 60 per litre and now it is at Rs 107 a litre.Wherever Modi ji and his leaders go, they used to raise the issue of inflation. But today they do not speak about inflation,” he said.
In his speech, Gandhi said someone referred to him as “desh ka tapasvi” (ascetic of the country).
“I have not done anything big, crores of tapasvis (ascetic) they work in fields since early morning, labourers who do tough jobs,” he said.
“So, we haven’t done any big thing going from Kanyakumari to Kashmir..,” he said.
Noting that the yatra started from Kanyakumari, he said, “Later we will unfurl the national flag in Srinagar and no power can stop this Yatra. The reason for this is that yatra is not of the Congress it is of poor people, labourers and small shopkeepers unemployed youth”.
Gandhi told the gathering that they will not see any fatigue on his face in this yatra or that of others who are part of it.
“We are not walking with our strength but with your love and strength. Let’s walk on the roads of Haryana for three days now and listen to hear the pain of people of Haryana,” he said.
The Yatra started from Kanyakumari on September 7 and covered Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Telangana, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan.
The first phase of Bharat Jodo Yatra in Haryana will conclude on December 23 as it will also pass from Gurugram and Faridabad districts. In the second phase, the yatra will re-enter Haryana from Uttar Pradesh at Sanoli Khurd in Panipat district on January 6.
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