Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi while addressing a huge party rally in Manipur on Wednesday as part of his ongoing Lok Sabha election campaign said that Congress is the only party that respected the idea, culture and belief of every individual.
Rahul Gandhi while speaking at the rally at Wangjing Kodompokpi ground, 23km south of Imphal, in Thoubal district in the state, also struck a chord with the women, who comprised more than half of the gathering at the rally and said, “Manipuri women work harder than anyone in the country. But society does not give them power. We will love to introduce women like Mary Kom to Parliament and state Assemblies.”
The crowd was bigger than the Narendra Modi rally held in Imphal West last month. Rahul Gandhi glanced over the party’s achievements and future plans in Manipur — particularly a railway network to connect the state to the rest of the country. He highlighted the Congress’s role in the development of Manipur since it attained statehood in 1972. The Congress leader promised speedy development of the state if the UPA comes to power for the third term. “In 1972, Indira Gandhi came here and participated in a function that gave you your state, Manipur. She said that Manipur was a real gem. This also shows what the Congress thinks of Manipur – and not just about Manipur but every single state in the country…,” said Rahul.
Taking a dig at the BJP, Rahul Gandhi asked what the Gujarat model of development had got to do with Manipur, Meghalaya or Uttar Pradesh. “He (Modi) talks of the Gujarat model. But what does the Gujarat model have to do with Manipur? What does the Gujarat model have to do with Uttar Pradesh or Bihar or Meghalaya or any other state for that matter?… I respect the people of Manipur, and believe that the only model that should work for Manipur is the Manipur model,” he said.
“We are different from the BJP. We respect idea, culture and religion of each citizen while the BJP imposes its ideas on the people. The killing of Nido Tania was the outcome of the imposition of their idea,” said the Congress Vice President. “We will defeat them (the BJP) because we have the support of the people,” he added. “We don’t want to impose anything on Manipur. We are proud of the language and culture of Manipur as we are proud of all others,” said the young Congress leader, “India is garden of flowers; big, small, different colours. We respect each of these flowers. Our opposition wants only one kind,” Rahul Gandhi said.
Rahul Gandhi also talked about the ongoing peace process with more than 20 militant groups of Manipur and withdrawal of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act from seven Assembly constituencies within the Imphal municipal limit. “Hospitals with 100 beds have been built in five districts, and sports complexes were being built in every district of the state, home to Olympian boxer Mary Kom,” he added.
Rahul Gandhi reached the venue and the Congress workers gave a rousing welcome to their favourite leader. Wangjing neighbours Khangabok Assembly constituency, represented by Landhoni Devi, wife of chief minister Okram Ibobi Singh, for two consecutive terms.
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