| Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi reaches out to supporters during a rally in Agartala on Tuesday. (PTI) |
Agartala, Feb. 12: The desultory Congress campaign for Thursday’s Assembly elections today received a final boost with Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi, finance minister P. Chidambaram and AICC’s women’s cell chief Anita Verma addressing poll meetings in different parts of the state.
Rahul who hit the campaign trail yesterday by addressing four big rallies in the four corners of the state, today addressed two more meetings. He spoke at Kumarghat in Unakoti district and here, to make up for the non-appearance of Sonia Gandhi because of illness.
Rahul called for a change of guard in Tripura through ouster of the Left Front from power in the February 14 elections.
“There is a mischievous propaganda that Soniaji or the Prime Minister did not arrive here because of an understanding with the CPM at the national level. I must make it clear that Soniaji could not come on account of her illness and our only understanding is that Tripura must get rid of the CPM and its misrule,” Rahul said.
He blamed the CPM for converting the government and the administration into a “party raj” and creating a wall between the people and the government. “If Tripura has to progress, the CPM government must go. They have been utilising funds made available in plenty by the Centre to enrich themselves,” Rahul said. He pointed out the debacles suffered by the CPM in Kerala and West Bengal and described it as “an anachronistic force”.
“The Marxists have collapsed in the erstwhile Soviet Union and east Europe while the Chinese are trying to survive by reforming themselves, specially in the sphere of economy. They asked me why the CPM is not changing itself and I replied that they would change only when they would lose political power,” the Congress leader repeated from his rallies yesterday.
Rahul endorsed the manifesto released by the Congress for the Assembly elections, asserting that all the commitments made in it would be fulfilled.
“We will give 35 kg of rice every month to poor families at Rs 1 per kg and 7kg of rice every month to the poorest of poor families free of cost. One job each will be given to all families where there is no employment while unemployment dole will be given to jobless youths,” Rahul said.
He charged the CPM with the “grossest possible nepotism” saying “from contract job to service as teachers, you get nothing here unless you are CPM men or women.”
The Congress scion promised to expand facilities for higher education and said that the party would help students of Tripura acquire higher education in Delhi.
“We are resolved upon extending the benefits enjoyed by central paramilitary forces to TSR jawans. Food security card will be given to every Indian citizen and all kinds of pension for poorer sections of people will be doubled,” Rahul said. He described the entire Northeast, including Tripura, as a “beautiful garden with variety”. “You have a rich and diverse culture and your voice and aspirations must reach Delhi. I will take you to Delhi,” Rahul said.
Chidambaram and Verma addressed two rallies in Kamalpur in support of Congress candidates Manoj Kanti Deb in Kamalpur and Sukharanjan Das in Surma.
The leaders spoke on the same lines as Rahul, calling for the defeat of the Left Front government.