Promising development and growth for all, in particular the tribals, Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi on Thursday said the hunger in Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-ruled Madhya Pradesh is same as in Africa. Gandhi said there can be no development when there is hunger. “People think that if they build infrastructure they can fill stomachs. UNICEF report says there are more hungry people in Madhya Pradesh than in Africa,” he added, while addressing a Congress rally here.
Gandhi asked the crowd whether the Shivraj Singh Chouhan-led BJP Government has respected the adivasis and women. “Some people say the government should work this way or that way. But for me, the most important thing is respect for the people. Has the BJP Government, which has been ruling for 10 years here, respected the tribals? Has it respected women?” Gandhi asked.
“If Congress comes to power, tribals will get respect and if someone disrespects them, we'll deal with them. The BJP made efforts to block the food security bill for years and we fought for it. They build roads, swanky cars travel on those roads and that is what they call development. When Congress gains power, no matter who the Chief Minister is, tribal and women will be respected in Madhya Pradesh and there will be no hunger,” he added.
Highlighting the UPA’s flagship Food Security Bill, Gandhi said that the Congress Party understands the hunger of the common man. “After the Food Security Bill, for the first time in India no one will be hungry. Who guaranteed this (Food Security Bill), it is the Congress Party because we understand your hunger,” he said. Highlighting his mother and Congress President Sonia Gandhi’s commitment for the welfare of the common man, Gandhi said she was anguished that she was not present in the Parliament when lawmakers cleared the landmark welfare scheme championed by her that guarantees food at reasonable price. “She was ill but she was adamant that she wanted to vote in Parliament for the Bill. I asked her to leave; she told me she will not leave. She told me she fought for this Bill for years, no matter what happens, she said she will remain in the Parliament for the vote,” said Gandhi. “My mother was not able to breathe (when taken to the hospital), she was crying. She said she fought for this Bill, however, could not vote in the end,” he added, while reaching out to the women present during the rally.
Starting the Congress election campaign in Madhya Pradesh, Rahul Gandhi said he wants to begin a new kind of politics. “Politics, where the politician, first speaks to you with respect , eats with you and talks to you,” he added. Reaching out to the youngsters and first-time voters, Gandhi said that the Congress will give a young government in Madhya Pradesh. “Did you get employment, education? We will have a young government here in Madhya Pradesh. We have to change Madhya Pradesh. And Congress will do this task,” he said.
Gandhi said the tribals are poorly represented in Parliament and legislatures. “This has to change. I am with you in this fight. We do not share a political relationship, but a relationship of love and respect,” he added
Gandhi, who was accompanied by Congress leaders Kamal Nath and Jyotiraditya Scindia among others, will be addressing a rally in Gwalior later in the day. He will also visit Datia to meet those admitted to the hospital after being injured in Sunday’s stampede at Ratangarh Temple. The stampede at the Ratangarh Temple on the last day of the Navratras has put the Madhya Pradesh Government on the back foot. The Navratra festivities ended in tragedy earlier on Sunday when several pilgrims, including women and children, were killed and more than 100 injured in a stampede on a bridge leading to the historic Ratangarh temple in Madhya Pradesh’s Datia district.