New Delhi: Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi on Friday exhorted party workers and leaders to get ready for the Lok Sabha elections and not rest till the battle was won against a rival which is good in marketing but very poor in delivering.
Cheered on by a rapturous crowd of Congress leaders and workers, Rahul began by lauding Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and appreciating leaders like Mani Shankar Aiyar and Sam Pitroda for their work. While he attacked the Bharatiya Janata Party, he seemed to be following the path of the Aam Aadmi Party in embracing democracy within the party.
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"In the past 10 years, we have had the privilege of Manmohan Singh's leadership. It has seen stability and massive change. The Congress party has made democratic upsurge possible," Rahul said.
Like Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi too highlighted NREGA and RTI Act as Congress's achievements. "Congress gave Right to Information to the public. No one forced the Congress to bring RTI. The country needed RTI so the Congress gave RTI. The Congress has also created the right to identity, the Aadhar," Rqahul said.
Taking a swipe at BJP prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi, Rahul said that the country cannot be run by one man. "Democracy cannot be ruled by dictatorship, it cannot be ruled by one man. It has to be run by elected representatives," Rahul said. "We don't respond by turning against one another, nor by lighting communal fire," he added.
Making a pitch to the common people, Rahul said, "I want that common people should be able to walk into the political system. We need to ensure they can come into politics at ease. Packaging in politics is replacing passion."
Rahul also accused the Opposition of stalling Parliament as he gave the credit for the passage of the Lokpal Bill to his party. "We have got the Lokpal Act passed even as the Opposition stalled Parliament. We want to pass six important bills. We got Lokpal. Everyone made a tamasha, but who passed it? Congress," Rahul said.
Rahul congratulated party workers and appreciated them for their work. "The first right of contesting elections on party ticket is of the party workers. When I visit our party offices, workers tell me that despite our government in power, no one listens to us. We want to give priority to our own workers to contest, but it does not mean we will close doors for others. We want new ideas and thinking too," he said.
What reflected in Rahul Gandhi's speech was an influence of the Aam Aadmi Party as he said that the party manifesto now will be made after interacting with people. "The party manifesto was earlier prepared behind the closed door, now we will make it after asking people. We want to open up the political system for the aam aadmi," he said.
He admitted that the Congress had to improve upon its marketing skills. Taking a dig at the Opposition's marketing, he said, "The Opposition is fooling the common man, it used to sell comb to the bald and now it has also started giving the bald a hair cut."
Making a pitch to the women of India, Rahul said, "We need to give more representation to women in politics. I want the Women Reservation Bill to be passed in Parliament. I want half the Congress members to be women."
He also appealed to the Prime Minister to raise the bar of LPG usage from 9 cylinders to 12 cylinders. Rahul's appeal was followed by loud cheers from the partymen.
Speaking about the Congressmen's demand for him to be made the Prime Ministerial candidate, Rahul Gandhi said that the decision will be made by the elected Parliamentarians after the Lok Sabha elections. "The Congress will win the elections and its PM will be chosen by the elected Parliamentarians. I am a foot soldier of the party. I am ready to do what the party wants me to do," he said.
"I'm a soldier of the Congress party, I'll serve you the way you want me to," he said.