Congress President Rahul Gandhi here on Wednesday kick-started the party's Lok Sabha election campaign in Tamil Nadu promising to make the state a manufacturing hub that can compete with China, reservation in central government jobs for women and protecting Tamil language and culture.
Addressing a rally, Gandhi criticised Prime Minister Narendra Modi over Rafale aircraft deal, demonetisation, goods and services tax (GST) and promised fishermen of a separate ministry when the party comes to power.
Gandhi said at the back of cell phones and even shirts one can see the 'made in China' tag. When the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) comes back to power, it will ensure that these products sport the 'Made in Tamil Nadu' tag.
He said the UPA government will focus on young entrepreneurs and will give huge amounts to youths as loans to start business. The Congress leader said Modi gave Rs 30,000 crore loan to diamond trader Nirav Modi, only to default.
Gandhi said the single biggest problem facing the country is acute unemployment as demonetisation and the GST destroyed small and medium enterprises (SME) and informal sectors. "We will reform the GST to make it simple and have single low tax rate," Gandhi promised.
The Congress leader said UPA would introduce guaranteed minimum income scheme and decide the minimum income for all citizens. The government would help citizens with less than that income through direct cash transfer, he added.
To attract the women voters, Gandhi promised 33 percent reservation in government jobs for them and promised the passage of Women's Reservation Bill securing 33 percent seats in Parliament.
Slamming the central government, Gandhi said every state is being targeted by Modi to impose one ideology. Rahul Gandhi also promised a separate ministry for the fisheries sector.
Attacking Modi on the Rafale deal, Gandhi citing a couplet of great Tamil poet Thiruvalluvar, said truth would prevail. "The truth will set you free. But it will not be so for Modi as the truth will put him in jail," he said.
He said the Congress government wanted to give public sector Hindustan Aeronautics Limited big defence contract but Modi gave that to Reliance Group's Anil Ambani.
Earlier, Congress President told students not to address him as "Sir" but by his first name. Gandhi, sporting a jeans and a T-shirt, surprised the students of Stella Maris College for Women with the request.
The Congress leader told the gathering that he was still a young politician.