Actor-turned-politician and Congress leader Khushboo Sundar
Actor-turned-politician and Congress leader Khushboo Sundar takes part in an election campaign for the party president Rahul Gandhi, ahead of Lok Sabha polls, in Wayanad, Tuesday, April 16, 2019. Image Credit: PTI

Pathanapuram (Kerala): Hitting out at the Sangh Parivar, Congress chief Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday said the country was “under attack” from the BJP and RSS, who want to suppress all voices other than their own.

Addressing an election rally at the St Stephen college grounds in Kollam, Kerala, Gandhi said India should be ruled by people of the country and not just one ideology or person.

“Currently, our country is under attack by the BJP and the RSS. They want to suppress all voices other than their own. They believe that only one idea should rule India while we believe that the people should rule India. We do not believe that India should be ruled by one person. They say if we do not believe in their ideas we will destroy you,” the Congress president said.

No violence

“Prime Minister said Congress Mukt Bharat. That means they will erase the idea of Congress in India. But what we are saying is that we do not agree with you. We will fight you to convince you that you are wrong. We will beat you in the election. But we will not use violence against you,” he added.

On his decision to contest a second seat from Wayanad constituency, the Congress chief said his party wants every person in the country to feel that each voice matters and hence chose Wayanad in Kerala due to its history of tolerance and understanding of different cultures.

“I chose Kerala because you are a very, very good example. Your history of tolerance, history of understanding different cultures, history of connecting with the rest of the world, not with the inferiority but with an openness and not with fear but with confidence,” said Gandhi.

Lashing out at Modi, he said, “in the last five years, our prime minister promised several things. [Twenty million] job opportunities, [Rs1.5 million, or Dh79,235] deposits in bank accounts and price support for farmers.”

Gandhi asked the people how many of them had received the money in their bank account promised by the prime minister.

He also assured the cashew farmers in the state that his party, if voted to power, would take up their cause.

“We will start a conversation to help make cashew growing a viable alternative,” he said.

Raking up the Rafale deal, Gandhi alleged that Rs300 billion gained by Anil Ambani through the deal was almost equivalent to one year’s NREGA (National Rural Employment Guarantee Act).

Defence deal 

“Anil Ambani gets [Rs300 billion] through Rafale deal. The prime minister speaks of nationalism and gives the biggest defence deal to a company which has no experience. Lakhs and lakhs of people get work from NREGA, But here one man gets [Rs300 billion]. He has given [Rs3.5 trillion] to 15 of the richest people of this country,” Gandhi said.

Promising a separate budget for farmers, Gandhi said he would ask the state government to fulfil the promises made by it to the cashew farmers in the state.

Gandhi, who refrained from attacking the CPI(M)-led LDF government in state once again, however, thanked “every single Keralite, regardless of any party,” for the support given to him to contest from the state.

“We are interested in your voice. We are interested in removing fear from your heart. We are open to any conversation. We are not here to force ideology on you. You are our ideology. Your voice is our ideology. Because we understand that without your voice, this country is meaningless. And that’s why we are fighting for fairness and justice,” he said.

“I would like to say its an honour for me to fight from this part of the country. With humility, because how intelligent, how profound your voices and I want to thank every single Keralite, regardless that any party, I thank every one of them,” Gandhi said.

He will attend three more functions in the state today before going to his constituency, Wayanad for campaigning tomorrow.