Rahul, Akhilesh see rich and poor divide in Varanasi fight

Former Congress president says that Varanasi election is a battle between the poor and the billionaires but not between the PM candidate and our candidate.
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi and Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav during a public meeting in Bansgaon of Uttar Pradesh on Tuesday.
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi and Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav during a public meeting in Bansgaon of Uttar Pradesh on Tuesday.Photo | PTI

VARANASI: Three days after Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and Samajwadi Party MP Dimple Yadav held a joint roadshow of the INDIA bloc in Varanasi, the two poster-boys of the Opposition’s alliance – Rahul Gandhi and Akhilesh Yadav – held a joint rally in PM Narendra Modi’s parliamentary constituency on Tuesday.

Seeking support for Ajay Rai (Varanasi) and Virendra Singh (Chandauli), the former Congress president Rahul Gandhi said June 1 Varanasi battle was being hyped to be a contest to elect the country’s PM.

“Let me tell you that the election in Varanasi isn’t a battle to elect the country’s PM, as PM Narendra Modi isn’t going to become the PM again on June 4. I guarantee you, he (Narendra Modi) isn’t going to become PM again, so it’s not a battle between a PM candidate and our candidate Ajay Rai. It’s not a battle between a PM candidate and our candidate. It’s a battle between the poor and the billionaires. It’s a contest between Modi and Rai only, which is going to be fierce and Rai may win it by a big margin,” Gandhi said at the rally in Sewapuri assembly segment of Varanasi LS constituency.

Ridiculing the media interviews being given by PM Modi, Gandhi referred to PM Modi’s recent statement about being sent by Parmatma (God). “He (Modi) says he’s not biologically born like others, but has been sent by Parmatma (God) on a mission. Had Parmatma (God) sent him, then God would’ve taken care of the poor and the weak, not the billionaires and industrialists like Ambani and Adani.”

Addressing the same rally in Varanasi, Yadav mocked the PM’s vision of turning Kashi to Kyoto. While accusing the PM of misleading and betraying the people by raising false Kashi to Kyoto hopes, Yadav said “the Pradhan Sansad (PM Modi) had promised to clean Maa Ganga (river Ganga). Forget about the river Ganga getting cleaned, the entire budget spent for cleaning Ganga actually got cleaned.”

Raising the issue of October 2023 gang-rape of a woman student allegedly by BJP workers on the BHU campus in Varanasi, he said, “We promise full justice and safety to farmers, girls and women in Varanasi after coming to power on June 4.”

Credit claiming

Making light of tall claims of development by the PM and BJP in Varanasi, Akhilesh Yadav said most of such initiatives in the city, spanning from establishing Amul, the largest milk processing plant, to starting a hot cooked meal kitchen for kids, were actually the brainchild of the past SP regime in UP.

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