Posters projecting Gandhi as ‘Rambhakt’ dotted the temple town associated with the deity as the Congress president began his campaign from the Kamtanath Temple where he offered prayers and sought the blessings of seers.
Addressing a public meeting in Satna, Gandhi dared the Prime Minister to spare two minutes from his speech and answer the questions raised by him about the Rafale deal.
He launched an all-out attack on chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan and said, “If Sachin Tendulkar was a run machine, Chouhan is a ‘yojana’ (scheme) machine who announces a ‘yojana’ on every given opportunity. Modi, meanwhile, is a lying machine.”
Gandhi also took a dig at the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)’s ‘Karyakarta Mahakumbh’, saying though the party had dubbed it as ‘kumbh mela’, empty trains, buses and stands at public meetings portrayed a different story. The saffron party had announced that over 10 lakh workers would attend the gathering but the Congress claims that the figure did not match the actual turnout.
The Congress president also accused Modi of disrespecting the nation in his Independence Day speech this year. “The Prime Minister in his I-Day speech had said the elephant was sleeping until he came to power and India woke up afterwards. As a PM, he should have the basic understanding that youths, farmers, traders and citizens of the country built this nation. It was an insult to the country,” he said.
Reiterating that the nation was built by the people and not parties or Modi, Gandhi assured of farm loan waiver, employment, food processing network and women’s safety if the Congress came to power, adding that he would not make fake promises.
Leader of Opposition Ajay Singh, in his address, recounted former prime minister Indira Gandhi’s 1978 visit to Chhatarpur from Rewa by road and how the Congress swept the elections in 1980. “This time, after Rahulji’s visit, the Congress will win later this year,” he said.
Gandhi also agreed to meet upper caste organisations in Satna. “We told him about the injustice meted out to us due to the SC/ST Act and he assured us no wrong would be done,” one of the representatives said. Later in the evening, the Congress president continued his ‘Sankalp Yatra’ in Rewa and conducted public meetings.