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‘Tribals mean forest dwellers for BJP’, Rahul Gandhi says at MP poll rally

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Shillong, April 8: Criticising the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Monday said there was a difference between the outlook of the BJP and the grand old party towards the tribals, while underlining the ideological differences between the two parties.

Addressing a rally in Mandla Parliamentary constituency, reserved for the Scheduled Tribes (ST) candidates, the Congress MP from Wayanad said: “The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Prime Minister Narendra Modi call you (referring to tribals) ‘vanvasi’, which means you live in the forest and you will not get possession of your land. Congress calls tribals ‘aadivasi’, which means, the first owner of the land and forest.”

“The upcoming electoral contest is between two contrary ideologies. On one side is the BJP and RSS’ ideology of ‘difference’ and on the other side is the Congress ideology of ‘uniformity’. The people have to decide which one is right,” the Congress leader said.

He also spoke about the Congress’ promises in its election manifesto released recently.

He said the Congress has promised to bring a new law for employment on the lines of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act it had brought in 2005, if voted to power at the Centre.

Rahul Gandhi is scheduled to address two more public rallies to seek support for Congress candidates in Shahdol and Balaghat Lok Sabha constituencies later on Monday.

The Congress has fielded three-time MLA Omkar Singh Markam against veteran BJP leader and Minister of State for Rural Development and Steel of India Faggan Singh Kulaste from Mandla seat.

Meanwhile, the Congress had an embarrassing moment ahead of Rahul Gandhi’s rally.

The posters put by the Congress also had a photograph of MoS Faggan Singh Kulaste.

It was noticed just a few minutes before Rahul Gandhi and other Congress leaders arrived on stage, and the photograph of the BJP leader was covered in a haste with papers. A video also surfaced on social media, leaving the Madhya Pradesh Congress unit “red-faced”.

While the Congress termed the goof-up a ‘human error’ Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Mohan Yadav took a jibe at the Congress, saying the Opposition had accepted defeat even before the elections.

Responding to that, Madhya Pradesh Congress media cell in-charge K. K. Mishra termed the episode a “human error”.

“The BJP has made it a habit to politicise every issue even if it is a human error. We can’t say anything about such habits of the BJP,” he said. (IANS)

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