Amethi Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Saturday spoke about Hindu versus Hindutvavadi while attacking Prime Minister Narendra Modi at an election rally in Amethi ahead of assembly polls early next year in Uttar Pradesh.
“On one side is Hindu. On the other is Hindutvavadi. On one side is truth, love and non-violence, and on the other is falsehood, hatred and violence,” he said, referring to Modi and the Bharatiya Janata Party.
“A Hindutvavadi bathes alone in Ganga, while a Hindu bathes with crores of people… Narendra Modi says he is a Hindu, but when did he protect the truth? He said he would give two crore youth jobs, where did he do so? He asked people to bang thalis to get rid of Covid… Hindu or Hindutvawadi?” the former Congress president said, accusing the Prime Minister of speaking lies and misleading people.
Amethi is my home, Gandhi declared at the rally, trying to reclaim the lost bastion and launching the Congress party’s election campaign. “I told my sister that I will visit my home (Amethi) before going to Lucknow,” Gandhi said after a 6km march from Jagdishpur to Harimau in Amethi. “I wanted to speak to my family.”
He had won in the parliamentary constituency for three times since 2004 but lost to BJP’s Smriti Irani in the 2019 general elections.
Accompanied by Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, he referred to his family’s close ties with the people in Amethi. His father, former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, has won from the seat four times. “Our relationship will continue longer and longer,” he said amid applause.
Gandhi accused Modi of not working for the people but for only a few industrialists, citing the example of the contentious farm laws that were repealed by the central government.
“PM introduced farm laws and said that they are going to benefit farmers. After one year, when all farmers stood together against the laws, PM had to apologise,” he said. “It was not a mistake. It was done to benefit some industrialists.”
There are five assembly seats in Amethi parliamentary constituency. Out of these, Amethi, Jagdishpur, Salon, Tiloi are held by the BJP. The Gauriganj seat is with the Samajwadi Party. The Congress is trying to regain its turf in Amethi and UP in the upcoming assembly polls.
Meanwhile, Union minister Smriti Irani said the Congress leaders had to “get people from Lucknow and Chhattisgarh” which “speaks volumes about their relationship” with her constituency.
“Today the siblings were in Amethi. They had to amass crowd from Lucknow, Sant Kabir Nagar and Chhattisgarh… someone had to burn a lot of fuel… The fact that you (Nehru-Gandhi family) were in a constituency for 50 years and have to drive 50 people from Lucknow to Amethi speaks volumes about them and their relationship with my constituency. That ‘yatra’ is going nowhere,” Irani said when asked about the foot march in Amethi at the launch of her novel ‘Lal Salaam’.
(With agency inputs)