Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, while reiterating his party’s commitment to proportionate representation, on Friday said Telangana is going to witness a ‘toofan’ (storm) of support for his party in the assembly polls and that the ruling BRS would lose badly. Gandhi, who addressed election rallies at Pinapaka, Narsampet and Warangal, said the Congress would increase OBC reservation to 42 percent from 23 percent in Panchayati Raj system, if elected to power.
This will pave the way for emergence of 24,000 new panchayat-level leaders in Telangana, he said. Congress had hoped that when Telangana was formed, the backward classes, Dalits and Adivasis would “get a place in politics”; the first step after Congress comes to power would be to conduct a caste survey, he said.
“We would like to know how many backward class people, SC and ST are there in this country. If the population of the backward is 50 per cent, then their participation should be 50 per cent,” he said.
He said the first aim of the Congress is to “make a people’s government in Telangana” by defeating the ruling BRS and after that “dislodge” the Narendra Modi government at the Centre. “KCR has come to know that a Congress ‘toofan’ is going to come in Telangana… Such a storm is going to come that KCR and his party would not been seen in Telangana,” Gandhi said. “Chief Minister (K Chandrasekhar Rao) asks what the Congress party has done? Chief Minister saab, the school and college in which you studied, Congress made them. The roads on which you travel, Congress made those roads,” he pointed out.
Congress was able to achieve development with the support of the youth of Telangana, Rahul Gandhi said, adding that it was Congress that delivered on the promise of Telangana statehood and made Hyderabad “the IT capital of the world”. “The fight is between ‘Dorala (feudal lords) Telangana and ‘prajala’ (people’s) Telangana,” he went on, alleging that all the departments “where money is made”, including liquor and sand, are in the hands of the “CM’s family”.
The people saw the dream of a “people’s Telangana” when they wanted a separate state but KCR is fulfilling the dream of only one family, Gandhi further charged. “The symbols of his (KCR’s) corruption are seen in every corner of Telangana,” he remarked, accusing KCR of having “looted Rs one lakh crore from people” in Kaleswaram project. Gandhi had visited the Medigadda barrage of Kaleswaram project recently following reports that the piers of the barrage have sunk.
Gandhi also alleged that through the ‘Dharani’ integrated land records management system that was brought in by the BRS government, the lands of farmers have been snatched away. He also alleged that BRS MLAs “take a cut of Rs three lakh” in the ‘Dalit Bandhu’ scheme (grant of Rs 10 lakh per Dalit family).
It was Congress that used to provide free power supply to farmers in undivided Andhra Pradesh, he said and assured that its government would continue to provide 24-hour free electricity supply to them after coming to power in the present assembly polls. He also highlighted the other election ‘guarantees’ of Congress, including Rs 2,500 per month, LPG cylinder for Rs 500 and free bus travel for women.
The ‘six guarantees’ being announced by Congress would be approved in the first cabinet meeting if the party comes to power, he said. Alleging that KCR ran the rule of one family, he said Congress would like to usher in the government of the ‘backward, Dalits and Adivasis”.
The amount “looted by KCR from people” would be deposited into the bank accounts of people in the next five years by Congress, he said. Speaking of the other parties in the fray, Rahul Gandhi alleged that the BRS, BJP and the Asaduddin Owaisi-led AIMIM are working together, and recalled that the BRS had supported the Narendra Modi government in the Lok Sabha.
He also accused the AIMIM of fielding its candidates wherever the Congress fights elections, in order to help the BJP. The electoral battle is between the Congress and BRS, he said adding that the AIMIM and BJP are helping the BRS in the elections.
He claimed that the Congress has “punctured” PM Modi’s vehicle in Telangana. “Now, he will not be seen in Telangana. But, he is helping KCR from behind. He told BJP workers that Congress should be defeated in Telangana and make BRS victorious,” he claimed.
On the Congress’s six guarantees promised for the people of Telangana, he said these assurances are not empty words like those of KCR and Narendra Modi. “Our first aim is to make a people’s government in Telangana. After that, we will dislodge the Narendra Modi government in Delhi (at the Centre),” he said.
Gandhi recalled the role of Congress and Sonia Gandhi in the formation of Telangana in spite of facing strong opposition. “However, Telangana was not made for one family. The wealth of Telangana has gone to one family,” he said.
Observing that the electoral fight is between Congress and BRS, he said Congress would defeat the state’s ruling party. Alleging that parties like BJP and BRS “give benefit to the rich”, Rahul Gandhi said Congress asks its chief ministers to provide benefits to the poor. “Parties like BJP, BRS give the benefit to a select few. Narendra Modi gives benefit to his friend Adani. KCR gives the benefit to his family,” he alleged.
Alleging that BJP-RSS have divided the country, the Congress MP reiterated his slogan of ‘Nafrat ke bazaar me mohabbat ki dukaan khulegi’ (shop of love should be opened in the market of hate).
(This story has not been edited by News18 staff and is published from a syndicated news agency feed – PTI)