Ghazipur (UP): Describing Uttar Pradesh as the land of her forefathers, Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi on Saturday vowed not to leave the state regardless of the ongoing assembly elections results.
Accusing her party rivals in general of practising politics of caste and religion and the BJP in particular of pursuing “hollow nationalism”, she said she would stay put in the state and continue to fight for its people till the emergence of a true and correct change in its politics.
The Congress leader made the remarks while addressing an election rally in Ghazipur which goes to the polls on March 7 in the last phase of the seven-phase UP assembly elections. “You (public) are being misled through the issue of caste and religion. You will face the maximum loss with the political leaders incurring hardly losing anything. They just want to come back to power by keeping the people poor,” she said.
“This is the land of my forefathers and their blood has nurtured its soil. Unless true and correct politics emerges in the state, I will continue to fight. I have decided that whatever is the result, I am not going to leave you. I will fight along with you, for you,” she added.
While taking the pledge against leaving UP regardless of the poll results, Priyanka Gandhi also accused some former Congress leaders who later switched over to other parties, including the BJP, of dissuading her from staying in the state and working for it.
“Three years ago when I came to UP as the in-charge of UP, some senior leaders of the party, who have now left the party, came to me and told me that I should leave UP as I will get nothing here. They told me that there is only a struggle here. The Congress does not even exist here. You speak to the party leadership and tell them to send you somewhere else,” Priyanka Gandhi told the election rally.
“I subsequently spoke to my brother Rahul Gandhi, the then Congress president. And, he said, Priyanka go to Uttar Pradesh and work (‘sangharsh karo’) for it. You have to remember that wherever there is sadness among people, atrocities are being committed on them, you have to go there and fight for the people,” she said.
Ms Gandhi also urged voters to vote for her party candidate in the ongoing state assembly elections. Sharpening her attack on the BJP, she said, “Their policy is that they will keep you poor. They brought demonetisation and GST and in the name of nationalism they made you stand in queues,” she said.
“Your business got destroyed but the black money did not come. In the suddenly-imposed lockdown, the big industrialists kept flourishing but everything of yours got destroyed. All the policies which were made for farmers only harmed them,” she alleged. Ms Gandhi also attacked Prime Minister Narendra Modi, accusing him of always being on tours to various countries of the world but having no time for agitating farmers.
“The nationalist Prime Minister travelled the world but did not speak with farmers. What type of nationalism is this that you don’t even listen to the grievances of farmers? What type of nationalism is this that the son of your minister crushed farmers and the minister was seen sharing the stage with you? What type of nationalism is this that half of the population has been given a sac of ration and a gas cylinder but there have been no schemes to educate and empower them?” she asked.
“What type of nationalism is this that you have cheated sons of farmers, posted at the country’s border? This is a hollow nationalism. This is a nationalism practised from the political dais. All the organisations and institutions which the Congress had made to provide jobs (to the people) have been sold to their friends,” she alleged.
“A government which cannot give jobs to youths cannot call itself as nationalist,” she asserted.
Recalling the days of her father (former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi), the Congress general secretary said, “When my father was the Prime Minister, people used to question him and seek redressal of their grievances. The BJP has reversed the democracy, and the Prime Minister is seen only on election daises.”
Accusing the BJP of spreading a narrative that people are inclined to vote for the BJP because they had consumed “PM Modi’s salt”, she said this falsehood was cut short on being questioned by Congress.
“We intervened and then he changed his statement but the mentality remains the same,” she said. Without naming him, Ms Gandhi also accused Prime Minister Modi of entertaining the notion that he is irreplaceable.
“The leader today thinks there is no one in the public to uproot him and hence he is misleading people. Change this notion. The leaders are not gods. They are just human beings. And if a human being is given uncontrolled power, he thinks that he has no responsibility and he becomes uncontrolled,” she said.
She sought to remind people that the power that the government wield is given to it by the people on loan.
“He forgets that this power belongs to you which you have given on loan. They will use your sentiments to get to power. Take the power back from them and change the future of Uttar Pradesh. Teach these parties a lesson by exercising the power of your vote,” she said.