Mawkyrwat (Meghalaya): Seeking vote for Congress, party vice-president Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday pledged that he and his mother along with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh would work for a "progressive" Meghalaya under a Congress-ruled government.
"Congress president, the Prime Minister and I, will work to help Meghalaya. We will support Meghalaya and we will support your voice in Delhi. We will do everything we can to make this state progress faster," Rahul told a rally here, 80 km from state capital Shillong.
Lauding Chief Minister Mukul Sangma and the state government under the Congress rule, Rahul said, "You have your government in Delhi which wants to support the growth of Meghalaya. I want both these governments to work together to bring massive developments to the state."
Hinting that the state suffers from corruption in high places, Rahul reminded how his father had said that only 15 paisa reaches the last man in the country out of one rupee spent, and said, "We need to change so that our people can benefit."
Praising the unique grassroots democracy practice by indigenous tribals in the state which gives the common man his voice, Rahul said, "The west talks about democracy and over here, you have had traditional democracy for hundreds and hundreds of years."
"What is democracy? Democracy is the voice of the people. It is the voice of every person regardless of who he is whether rich or poor, and this is what you have taught to the rest of the country," he said.
Stating that the vision of the Congress is also in similar lines with the true democracy of the tribal people in Meghalaya, Rahul said, "I want to thank you for giving this gift to the country. And we for the last couple of years have been running a government in the country which also tries to listen to the voice of the people before taking decisions."
Assuring that all groups and tribes would be taken into consideration for development in the state, Rahul said, "When we want to talk about development in Meghalaya, we want to say that every single tribe, every single group has to move together forward."
According to him, the Congress believes that it is everybody`s right to have access to development regardless from where they are from or who they are.
Stating that the decisions on MGNREGA, RTI, or Right to Food, all are the result of listening to the voice of the people, Rahul said, "We do this because we understand that every single person`s voice is important."
In Williamnagar and Nongpoh, Rahul urged the youths in the
state to join his party allowing the Congress to build a better Meghalaya.
His appeal to youths was clearly a part of coordinated Congress strategy to woo all sections of the society in the battle of ballots.
Appreciating the youths of the state who are working in every nook and corner of the country today, Rahul said, "When I see the youths of the region working in Delhi and Bangalore, I feel nice. They are working there because they are capable and can compete with the best."
Urging the youths to join the party, he said, "I want you to enter into the political system."
"If we really want to change politics, then we have to bring youngsters into the political system. Youngsters who are sensitive to the views of the common man, youngsters who feel the pain of the poor person, youngsters who suffer when they see a bad road, youngsters who suffer when they see that their people do not have the medical facility they need," he said.
During their campaign meetings, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had highlighted the economic gains made by state during the past five years, while Congress president Sonia Gandhi touched on emotive local issues like illegal mining and illegal immigration at Jowai yesterday.
Rahul said even though Congress has capable leaders, it needs to produce next generation of leaders from different states to take the country forward.
"Meghalaya may be small in size compared to Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, but it is an important state. We cannot ignore any state. Every state is important, every culture is important for the India to grow," he said.