People taught BJP a lesson by voting it out in 2004: Rahul (Lead, changing dateline)

April 7th, 2009 - 6:47 pm ICT by IANS  

Rahul Gandhi Raipur/Bhubaneswar, April 7 (IANS) Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi said Tuesday that the people of the country had taught the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) a “lesson” by voting it out of power in 2004 when it had come out with its ‘India Shining’ slogan.
“You people had in the last polls taught a lesson by ousting the BJP. They had given a slogan of ‘India Shining’, but India was actually not shining, only they (BJP leaders) were shining,” Rahul Gandhi said at an election rally in Raigarh in Chhattisgarh.

He said the country “needs a UPA (United Progressive Alliance) government again for the prosperity and welfare of the poor, Dalits and adivasis (tribals)”.

He also said terrorism was at its peak in the country during the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) rule, countering the BJP’s charge that terror incidents had increased during the present Congress-led UPA regime.

He also said the UPA government had launched several programmes for the poor.

“During the five-year UPA tenure, we launched several pro-poor schemes, including the world’s largest employment scheme - National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme. The government also passed the Tribal Rights Bill and waived farmers’ loans worth Rs.60,000 crore (Rs.600 billion),” he said at a well-attended rally.

The Congress MP said: “The BJP is not raising the issue of poor people in this Lok Sabha polls, it’s talking about rise of alleged terrorism during the UPA regime. We all know a minister of the previous NDA government had carried a terrorist from jail to Kandhahar and set him free.” He was referring to the NDA government’s decision to release three terrorists, including Jaish-e-Mohammad chief Maulana Masood Azhar, to end the 1999 hijacking crisis.

Later, addressing a poll rally in Rourkela, in Orissa, he lashed out at state government led by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik for “neglecting” the poor, tribal and Dalits.

“But in Orissa, the state government does not think of you”… They are taking away your lands” Gandhi said addressing his first poll rally in Orissa.

“If we want to take India forward we need to go together. We need to carry the poor, Dalits, adivasis and people of all faith and religions,” Gandhi said.

Gandhi is scheduled to address several election rallies in the state Tuesday and Wednesday. Orissa goes to poll in two phases on April 16 and April 23 to elect 147 members to the state assembly and 21 members to the Lok Sabha.

Chhattisgarh goes to the polls April 16 to elect 11 members to the Lok Sabha.

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