Rajasthan polls: Those invoking religion, caste can't ask for votes on basis of work, says Priyanka
Gandhi claimed that the BJP has sidelined its leaders in the state and is looking for a chief ministerial face for the 25 November assembly polls
Hitting out at the BJP, Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra said on Monday that those who invoke religion or caste during elections are never in a position to ask for votes on the basis of their work.
Addressing a rally in Ajmer's Kekri in poll-bound Rajasthan, the Congress general secretary asked voters to exercise their franchise after evaluating the work done by different political parties. She asserted that the Congress is united in Rajasthan and claimed that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is completely fragmented in the desert state.
"If someone asks for votes in the name of religion or caste, it means they cannot seek votes on the basis of work," Gandhi said. "In Rajasthan, all Congress leaders and workers have entered the electoral battlefield unitedly, whereas the BJP is completely fragmented."
Gandhi claimed that the saffron party has sidelined its leaders in the state and is looking for a chief ministerial face for the 25 November assembly polls, and alleged that the BJP's policy is to benefit big industrialists because it does not think about the poor and middle classes.
Gandhi told the gathering that if the BJP comes to power in Rajasthan, it will discontinue all public welfare schemes launched by the Congress government led by chief minister Ashok Gehlot, pointing out that sectors such as health and education are in poor condition in BJP-ruled states.
Referring to the BJP's poll campaign in Madhya Pradesh, where elections were held on 17 November, Gandhi said the saffron party has been ruling the state for 18 years, but still sought votes in the name of religion and not work. She claimed that only 21 jobs were offered in Madhya Pradesh in the last three-and-a-half years.
"Look at what is happening in BJP-ruled states. Their policies are breaking the backs of people. Inflation is at its peak. The Rajasthan government has protected you from their policies," the Congress leader said.
"When they talk about gas cylinders, it is not the states but the Centre that decides the price of petrol and diesel. The (Narendra) Modi government decides it in Delhi. The GST money goes to the Centre. It was his (Prime Minister Modi's) responsibility to reduce petrol prices and control inflation, but he did not do so," she said.
"The Congress government has protected you from their (BJP) policies. If you bring a BJP government, you are going to suffer a lot. The rich are becoming richer and the poor poorer. Whatever situation you are facing, your state government is helping you a lot.
"Do not stop the work that is happening in Rajasthan today, the facilities that are being provided. If you vote for the BJP, what happened to the people of Madhya Pradesh will happen to you as well," Gandhi said.
By casting votes on the basis of religion and caste, voters are causing harm to themselves, she said, adding, "Your emotions are being evoked."
Gandhi also said wherever the BJP is in power, its leaders think they need not do any work because they will get votes on the basis of religion and they are not accountable to people.
"This has become a habit with BJP leaders. They have lost accountability towards you. The Congress has shown its work. Due to the problems caused by the Centre, the prices of commodities have gone up, but the state government has helped you. Be aware and vigilant," she added.
"You are being harmed and they are benefitting from this. Have you ever seen a leader getting injured in riots? Never. Do understand that these things are causing harm to you. Politics should be for development. The biggest duty of a leader is to serve the people and this is what the Congress has been doing," Gandhi said.
Targeting the prime minister over issues facing farmers, the Congress leader said the farmers agitated for nearly a year and a Union minister's son crushed them under the wheels of his vehicle, but they were not heard by the Modi government. She also said the government had no money for farmers, but spent crores of rupees on a new Parliament building.
"You are standing at a crossroads. You can see how the BJP's policies will be implemented. The free electricity given by the Congress and the old pension scheme implemented by it will be stopped," Gandhi said.
She also said extensive advertising does not necessarily mean that the country is progressing. "If the country is portrayed as one that is progressing, then why are the poor not progressing?" she asked, and asserted that people witness progress in states governed by the Congress owing to policies implemented by the party.
The 200-member Rajasthan assembly will go to polls on 25 November and counting of votes is scheduled for 3 December.