JAGDALPUR (TIP): Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi on September 26 addressed a rally a mere 43km from the spot where the Maoists wiped out the entire party brass little more than three months ago, and said the leaders were killed to silence the voice of the common people. Showing rare aggression, he said the BJP government’s failure led to their slaughter. “Thirty-two people were killed in the Maoist attack. Where was the government? The tallest Opposition leader was killed, where was the government? When the leaders of tribals are not safe, what about masses?” he asked. Attacking the BJP and its prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi, Rahul said just one man can’t run the nation. “The BJP thinks just one man can run the nation,” Rahul said, in a barb at Modi. He also took on the Raman Singh government for poor infrastructure and acquisition of tribal land. “Have you seen any doctor in hospitals and health centres in Bastar?” he asked. The crowd roared in the negative.

“Our aim is to empower tribals by vesting power in their hands. We believe the nation is run by the people,” Rahul said. Criticising the BJP government for Chhattisgarh’s dilapidated health infrastructure, Rahul said hundreds of people die of gastroenteritis every year, but hospitals are in a shambles. “The land belonging to tribals is taken away. If they want land of the rich, they will buy it. If it’s of the poor, it’s acquired,” he said. The event brought leaders of warring factions of the state Congress on a common platform for the first time in more than three months in Rahul’s presence. How long will the warring groups led by former CM Ajit Jogi and Pradesh Congress chief Charandas Mahant remain on the same page is open to question. Criticising the Raman Singh government, Rahul said he had stopped at a village with a population of 2,000. “I tried to find out how many people have passed the 12th standard. There was one. What kind of government you have?” he said. The Centre has pumped in more than Rs 10,000 crore for development, but the government changed its names to take credit of Central schemes, he said.

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Volume 10 Issue 41 | New York | Oct 21

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