Rahul launches scathing attack on PM, RSS at UDF conventions in Kerala

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(Eds: Repeating after adding a new last para) Thana/Nilambur (Kerala) Jan 27 (PTI) Continuing his attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the border stand off with China, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday accused him of 'weakening' and 'destroying' the country and claimed that 'for the first time' Chinese troops were 'sitting inside Indian territory'.

On a two-day visit to Kerala, where assembly elections are to be held in the next few months, he virtually kicked off the campaign of the Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) and also slammed the ruling CPI(M)-led LDF, alleging their policies have caused 'damage' to the state.

Addressing UDF conventions at Thana and Nilambur in Malappuram district, forming part of his Wayanad Lok Sabha constituency, Gandhi also alleged RSS was spreading hatred and it was responsible for 'collapse' of the country's economy.

'You know the damage the Prime Minister is doing to the fabric of the nation. For the first time, Chinese troops are sitting inside Indian territory. Our economy, one of the best performing in the world, has collapsed. Our youngsters simply cannot get jobs. This is the result of the ideologyof the RSS,' he said.

'Of course the Prime Minister is incompetent, but the real cause of this failure is the hatred the RSS is spreading in the country', the former Congress president said.

Targeting Modi, he asked what happened to his '56 inch chest when the Chinese troops came inside the country. The Prime Minister has not said a wordabout China in the past six months,' Gandhi said.

'The Prime minister has divided the country and spread hatred and so the Chinese have decided to come inside the country... they know the PM has weakened India and they have correctly assessed that he cannot stand up to them', the Congress leader alleged in Nilambur.

He also claimed Modi has 'destroyed' the country through the demonetisation and 'flawed' Goods and Services Tax (GST).

Turning to the LDF, the principal rival of the Congress in the state, the MP told the gathering that 'You have faced the Left front every day and you know the damage their policies have done to Kerala.' Congratulating those who won in the local body polls and those who put up a fight and lost, he said the grassroot elections were becoming more and more important as they represent 'true voices' of the people since the representatives were closer to them.

Gandhi said when senior state Congress leaders had come to Delhi, he had told them that the UDF must view this election as special, as an election which will give Kerala a vision to go go forward. The vision should be built at the ground level from the people itself.

The UDF would prepare a 'mass manifesto' by capturing the imagination of the people of the state.

'We should speak to farmers, labourers, youngsters, women, students on what they are expecting from the UDF and we should pledge that we will give what they want,' he said.

While selecting candidates, there should also be a balance between experience and youth as they represent the present and future respectively.

'Our candidates should reflect this and inspire the people,' he said adding the process by which the candidates were chosen should be transparent.

This would be a transforming election and there was need to make the party manifesto a people's manifesto, he said.

'In this election we should give the best advantage to the youngsters. I understand there is a place for experience and I also understand there is need for giving opportunities to youngsters who are our future,' he said.

The party would ensure that it not only won in the election, but sweep it, Gandhi added.

Gandhialso dedicated various medical equipment, including multi-parameter monitor and portable ventilator, bought for the district hospital in Nilambur utilising his MP local area development scheme funds. PTI UD VS VS