DIBRUGARH, March 27 � Going hammer and tongs at the BJP here today, Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi described the saffron conglomerate as �balloonists� who indulge more in sloganeering than in any development work. �The BJP�s India Shining campaign in 2004 was a helium balloon that the voters rejected outright,� he said.
Rahul said this year�s helium balloon of the BJP is the �Gujarat model of development� and went on to add that Assam does not need to learn anything from Gujarat. �Assam has grown 13 per cent in the last ten years, against 8.5 per cent growth registered by Gujarat. So it is Gujarat that should learn from Assam and not the other way round,� he said. �Assam has its own development model which needs to be carried forward,� he added. He said the Congress does not believe in �floating balloons� to make bombastic claims.
Addressing a gathering of about 7,000 people at the Chaulkhowa playground here this afternoon, Rahul Gandhi promised that the Congress party would provide for more women in various party positions. The people at the meeting were from various parts of Dibrugarh and Tinsukia districts, said Pronab Baruah, chairman of the Tinsukia Development Authority.
Today�s election meeting, which was supposed to commence at 2 pm, started two hours late. Rahul Gandhi addressed the gathering for about twenty minutes, after a brief eulogistic sermon by Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi, who said the Nehru Gandhi family has always strived for the welfare and development of Dibrugarh. In keeping with this line, Rahul said: �I am not happy that Dibrugarh is just the tea city of India. Gogoiji, please ensure that the State Government does all to elevate Dibrugarh as a Global Tea City.�
Acceding that the state requires a major infrastructure boost, Rahul Gandhi said the Congress party remains committed to more wider highways, more railway tracks and better air connectivity in the region.
Gandhi said the Congress wants the middle class of India to grow rapidly in the next decade. He said he wants to see 70 crore Indians in the middle class category by 2020.
Hiranya Borthakur adds from Biswanath Chariali: �Peace has returned to Assam during the rule of Tarun Gogoi-led Congress government�, observed Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi at an election rally held here today in support of the party�s candidate in the ensuing Lok Sabha election, Bhupen Borah.
He said that Congress wants to give power to the common man, while BJP wants to give it only to one person. The party has lifted 15 crore people from poverty during its rule by implementing schemes like MREGA. BJP does not understand the pathetic condition of the poor. He declared that a new Industrial Policy would come into force if the party comes to power again. It would benefit the State, too.
Gandhi assured that the communication system of the state would be developed and a new railway line would also be set up in the state. The Congress leader criticized the regional party of Assam, Asam Gana Parishad (AGP) and said that the development ratio of Assam during AGP's rule was only 2% while it reached 13 per cent during Congress rule. The State has done well in education sector and institutions like IIT, NIT etc have come up in the State.
Rahul Gandhi was accompanied by Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi, State Congress chief, Bhubaneswar Kalita, Congress leader, Avinash Pandey and others.