A day after announcing his party would ensure "minimum income guarantee" for the poor if Congress was voted to power at the Centre, party chief Rahul Gandhi Tuesday January 29, took a dig at Prime Minister Narendra Modi, saying he has provided 'maximum income guarantee' to 15 of his friends.
"For the last five years, he has provided a maximum income guarantee to 15 of his friends. We have decided that if Narendra Modi can give maximum income guarantee to 15 rich people, we will give minimum income guarantee to every single citizen," Gandhi said.
Like MGNREGA committed right to work, like RTI committed right to information, like Food Security Bill guarantees the right to food, the Congress government is going to guarantee a minimum income to every poor Indian citizen, he told a booth-level party workers meeting here.
Attacking the policies of the Modi government, he alleged that the prime minister had done nothing for the farmers and assured that a congress government would ensure their welfare.
"We have waived off farm loans in the three states where we won elections.... (Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh).
We have committed that in 2019, we will have a government that will make up for all the crimes that Narendra Modi has done against farmers in five years," he said.
The Congress President said the Women's Bill would be passed on a priority if the party was voted to power in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
"The first thing we will do when we win the 2019 election is to pass the Women's Reservation Bill in the Parliament," he said.
He was responding to a suggestion from a party worker on the need for more women candidates.
"We want to see women in position of leadership," he added.
The bill seeking to reserve 33% of seats in Parliament and legislature has been pending for a long time in view of lack of consensus.
Refraining from directly commenting on the sensitive Sabarimala temple issue, wherein the Supreme Court had permitted entry of women of all age groups into the Lord Ayyappa temple, he merely said the party respects the traditions of Kerala.
"Congress party respects women of Kerala and at the same time respects the traditions of Kerala.
We do not agree with the violence carried out by the BJP and CPI(M) in the state," he said.
The 69 day annual pilgrimage season in Sabarimala, which ended on January 20, had witnessed widespread protests from devotees and right wing groups.
This was over the CPI(M)-led LDF government's decision to implement the September 28 Apex Court verdict, allowing women of all ages to enter the shrine.
The Congress President referred to Kerala as not just a state, but an 'idea'.
"It is a way of looking at the world that includes compassion, humility, respect. People of Kerala are helping guide the people of India," he said.
"Don't think less of yourself. RSS has cadres, CPI(M) has cadres, but India lives in the hearts of Congress workers', he told the gathering.
Gandhi alleged that the CPI(M) and BJP work on 'dividing' the people of Kerala and said the real issue of jobs and protection of farmers was put on the back burner.
He also flayed the implementation of the Goods and Services Tax.
Gandhi told the Congress workers that the party had launched a 'shakti' programme in which all workers could directly talk to the leadership.
"Want every single Congress worker to feel 'Ente booth, ente abhimaan, ente party' ("My booth, my pride, my party").