“Main Mayawati-ji aur Akhilesh-ji ka aadar karta hun, magar Congress party apne poore dum se ladegi aur 2022 mein UP mein sarkar banayegi [I respect Mayawati ji and akhileshji,but Congress will put in its all to fight (Lok Sabha polls) and in 2022, will form government in UP],” Rahul said. SP and BSP have forged a tie-up for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.
Rahul also had a word of caution and reprimand for the state Congress leadership, when he told them to nurture the grassroots and come out of their comfort zones. Assigning a specific responsibility to Jyotiraditya and Priyanka, he said: “Ye jo high fliers hain, helicopter mein udne wale neta hain, inse kaam nahi chalne wala. Jo gaon, kasbe, sheher mein ladte hain, unko aagey badhaiye aur phir dekhiye Congress kaise khadi hoti hai. (The high fliers are of little use. We need street fighters and we need to give them responsibility).”
Asking the party leaders to pull up their bootstraps, Rahul said: “UP hume bahut priya hai. UP se hi Congress ne shuruat ki thi, isliye hume UP mein kamzor nahi reh sakte. (UP is very dear to us. Congress began its journey from UP and we cannot leave it weak).
Referring to Priyanka and Jyotiraditya, the twin party heads of east and west UP, he said: “I have sent them to revive the Congress in UP. While they would strive to improve party’s performance in 2019 Lok Sabha polls, they are here to work hard and ensure Congress forms the UP government in 2022.”
Later, talking to cadres after the five-hour roadshow, he said everyone in UP felt the need for a Congress government. “UP ka yuva, kisan, dalit, OBC, garib, sab ke sab UP mein pragati ki sarkar chahte hain, Congress ki sarkar chahte hain. Unhone ne sabko try kar liya hai aur sab fail ho chuke hain. Ab ek hi rasta hai. (UP’s youth, farmers, poor, OBC, Dalit everyone wants a government that ensures development. They want a Congress government),” he said.
In his brief address during a stopover at Lalbagh, Rahul was at his belligerent best. He said, Congress was not a party to play on the back-foot. “Priyanka and Jyotiraditya will play an aggressive role. We will play on the front foot in all states without hesitation or fear.”
Saying that India was currently embroiled in a war of ideology, he said: “On one hand is Congress which talks about brotherhood, love and inclusive culture and on the other are BJP, RSS and Narendra Modi combine that divides people, spreads hatred and weakens national integrity.”
Rahul said the people of UP and India have seen the outcome of Modi-raj. “Everyone knows what Modi has given to the people in five years. Youth are demanding answers on jobs. Farmers are asking why their loan cannot be waived, but Modi has no answer.” As he paused, the crowds cried out — Chowkidar chor hai. Rahul further said that “Anil Ambani was the only one to benefit from the Modi regime.”
Continuing his attack on the Rafale deal, Rahul said, “Two days ago, a newspaper report said the chowkidar undertook parallel negotiations and suspended the negotiations done by defence ministry and Indian Air force. He also did away with the clause on corruption to suit his friend Anil Ambani.”
Rahul also mimicked the PM and said, “Earlier, he would flaunt his 56-inch chest when speaking from public platforms, but today, he is defensive and says he doesn’t know Anil Ambani. The hollowness has been exposed. Everyone from students to farmers and youth knows that ‘Chowkidar hi chor hai’.”