Joining the Himachal assembly poll campaign, Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi on Thursday played to the hilt the Congress' 'aam admi' plank by accusing the Bharatiya Janata Party of blocking legislations benefiting the people at large and stressed that the United Progressive Alliance had taken strict action against corruption.
Launching a counter-attack on the ruling party in the hill state at his first election rally here, the Congress general secretary alleged that the BJP was stalling legislations brought by the UPA only for the sake of opposing them while the common man continued to suffer.
"Whatever bills we bring in Parliament, the BJP opposes them all. They don't talk, they just oppose it. Their thought is to stop us so that we do not come to power again in 2014, just as we won in 2004 and 2009. Because they know if the UPA government gives the Right to Food and Land Bill they can never win elections," Gandhi said.
"We brought the Land Acquisition Bill to benefit those whose land is acquired, for them to get the right price for their land, but the BJP stopped the Bill in the Parliamentary
Committee. They want to stretch it long. They don't want the Bill," he said.
Charging the BJP with not being interested in welfare of common man, Gandhi said, "They are not bothered -- but who will lose? It is the poor farmer who will lose. Those people will lose whose land is taken away," he said, listing legislations like Right to Food, Land Acquisition, Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Gurantee Act, loan waiver and Right To Information.
Lashing out at the BJP for raising the issue of corruption, Gandhi said, "The BJP talks about corruption, but here they are taking away the land of the poor and giving it to the rich."
Maintaining that the UPA has taken strict action against corruption, he said, "Wherever we see corruption, we take strict action. Many of our ministers have been jailed."
Urging people to support the Congress and help bring its government back in Himachal Pradesh, he said wherever the Congress runs a government it is of the 'aam aadmi', the poor and the downtrodden.
Gandhi raised the issue of FDI in multi-brand retail and said it would help Himachal's farmer. He blasted the BJP for blocking FDI, which would prove a boon for farmers and horticulturists and growers of other cash crops.
"This place is the mushroom capital of the country. Farmers can benefit from FDI in retail as storage facilities would significantly improve, thereby ensuring that the crop grown by the farmer would not perish in adverse weather. But they (the BJP) will oppose it and not think about farmers," he said.
He reminded them of the love and affection Nehru-Gandhi family had for Himachal. Referring to corruption, he said that the government had armed the people with power tool like RTI Act which go a long way in combating corruption.
Gandhi, who earlier also addressed election rallies in Kangra and Keylong, said the policies of the ruling BJP government in Himachal have hurt the poor and only the Congress can bring inclusive development to the state.
He said while the Union government has brought welfare schemes which were aimed at bringing inclusive growth, the BJP's policies were pro-rich and charged the BJP in the state of giving the land of the poor to builders and indulging in corruption.
Starting his day-long election campaign from police grounds at Keylong, Gandhi said while the union government has been sending money through central schemes, the state government has created a situation where a very small portion reaches its intended beneficiaries.
Taking on the BJP for its 'anti-tribal' policies, Gandhi said former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was responsible for getting tribal status for the residents of Lahaul and Spiti and the Congress had made every effort to ensure the welfare of the tribal community in the state and the country.
"It was only after this that the tribal sub-plan started. But what is the BJP trying to do? They are trying to bring this down further. They are reducing it from 9 per cent to 8.5 per cent," Gandhi said attacking the BJP government.
"We run a government that works for the welfare of poor, a government that provides schemes like MNREGA while they run a government for the rich," he said, adding, "We talk about joining, while they talk about breaking".
In Kangra, Gandhi said BJP was opposed to the idea of a government working for welfare of the 'aam admi' and that is why it did not allow Parliament to function.Disruption of the Parliament did not hurt the BJP. It hurt the common people," he said.