Congress using poor for votebank politics: Rajnath Singh

Kolkata, Sept. 30 (ANI): Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) President Rajnath Singh on Monday took a jibe at the ruling Congress-led UPA Government, and alleged that the Centre had given the poor 'crutches' intentionally to play votebank politics on them in the lead-up to the 2014 general elections.

"I think poor should not be tipped for vote bank politics. They do not need tips. They need employment. The Congress party that has ruled the country for 54 years has first created poor and then has given them crutches intentionally. The Congress party only believes in vote bank politics," Singh said while delivering a talk on 'Outlook For a Balanced Economic Growth', which was hosted by the Bengal Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Indian Chamber Commerce here today.

The BJP President also used the opportunity to target Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi on his controversial remarks on the cabinet-passed ordinance on convicted lawmakers, and said that the comment projected the country in bad light to the world.

"I believe that the Congress Party's vice president has hurt the integrity and respect of India at the international level by passing such loose comments on such an important ordinance. This is not right. The country's Prime minister was not even in the country when such comments were passed. Rahul Gandhi was talking about tearing apart the ordinance. What kind of message was he trying to give out by this?" Singh asked.

In a major embarrassment to the ruling UPA, Rahul Gandhi last week dubbed the ordinance to negate the Supreme Court verdict on convicted lawmakers as 'complete nonsense', and said it should be torn up and thrown away.

"I personally think what the government is doing on the ordinance is wrong. It was a political decision, every party does it, and there is a time to stop this nonsense," he said.

The Union Cabinet had approved an ordinance to reverse the Supreme Court judgment mandating the immediate disqualification of lawmakers convicted for a criminal offence punishable with a jail term of more than two years.

The ordinance seeks to reverse the Supreme Court judgement that had not only disqualified lawmakers convicted of offences with two years or more in jail, but also barred from contesting elections.

Meanwhile, defending the Dr. Manmohan Singh-led UPA government, Congress Party President Sonia Gandhi on Sunday reiterated her party's pro-poor stance and said the Centre had constantly worked to alleviate the marginalized out of their poverty.

"The prime concern of the UPA has always been to develop the nation, while being socially inclusive. This will allow for every section of society to progress. ...The marginalization of the poor and socially backward on the basis of gender, class, caste and religion remains a big issue in our country. It is also hampering our growth, because, their circumstances do not allow them to become contributors to our society," Gandhi said while inaugurating the training-cum-research centre of the Rajiv Gandhi Institute of Development Studies said in Neyyer Dam, Kerala, on Sunday.

"While they do not have access to the basic facilities, they also face discrimination at every level. Over the last so many years, the UPA Government under the leadership of our Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh, has lifted millions out of poverty through our social welfare schemes. But, we are only too aware that we need to do much more," she added. (ANI)