Congress MP Rahul Gandhi today ripped into PM Modi and the BJP in poll-bound Manipur, accusing the ruling party of being arrogant and coming to the state with an "air of superiority". He argued that Congress respects the state's ideas, languages and culture while the BJP wants to impose uniformity in the country. "UP is bigger than Manipur but the people of UP and Manipur are the same for us. We will equally protect the language, diversity, history, culture of UP and Manipur. There is no double standard for us," he said at an election rally in capital Imphal.
"There is also the BJP vision that we fight. They have one ideology, one idea, one language and one culture, and they think that is superior," he said and added that the ruling party is "attacking" the state's democratic values by not holding council elections in the last five years.
"When BJP, RSS comes to Manipur, they come without a sense of understanding. They come with a sense of superiority. When I come here I don't come with a sense of superiority but with humanity. That is the difference between us. I am here to learn to grow your idea, culture, and language. The Prime Minister comes here with an air of superiority, he comes to tell you what he thinks," he said.
The Wayanad MP took a dig at the Prime Minister for making many promises "wherever he goes" but avoiding core issues like unemployment, farmers' incomes, demonetisation, GST and the promised Rs 15 lakh to all citizens. He also accused PM Modi of helping Yoga teacher Baba Ramdev's company Patanjali and "two-three" large companies by palm plantations.
"Now he is going to destroy your future by palm oil plantations. He wants to destroy your beautiful state. By palm oil plantations, they want to help Patanjali and 2-3 large companies. This is not our vision for Manipur. We are not helping baba Ramdev and punishing the people," he said.
In his poll pitch, Rahul Gandhi said that his party is committed to guaranteeing horticulture and making Manipur self-sufficient in rice production.
He called the women of the state "the real strength of Manipur" and attacked the BJP for not doing enough for them.
"BJP talks about women. How many Ima markets (mother's market) has the BJP created? The Congress party created an instrument of empowering women. What BJP did they do?" he said and added that his party guarantees one-third reservation for women.
Mr Gandhi said that if his party wins, it will revive the MSME sector and promote food processing and tourism.
The Congress leader said that the BJP and RSS slammed his "union of states" speech in the parliament for saying that India is a union of states where every state has equal rights. "This is the India I believe in," he said.
Mocking the Centre's handling of the Covid pandemic, Mr Gandhi said that PM Modi's solution was to bang utensils and flashlight of mobile phones. "He couldn't provide Oxygen cylinders and ventilators. It also happened in Manipur, thousands died because of lack of facilities, he said.
Voting on the 60-member assembly will be conducted in two phases on February 28 and March 5. Votes will be counted on March 10.