B R Hills, Karnataka, Mar 25 (UNI) Hitting the poll trail straight away, AICC General Secretary Rahul Gandhi, who began his five-day tour of the state today, charged that previous NDA government in the centre was 'pro rich', while the UPA government led by Congress was steadfast in providing weightage to the poorer sections of the society.
Interacting with local people comprising of tribals and dalits, in Biligiriranga Hills in the backward Chamarajanagara district, he said UPA was for maintaining balance with a 'tilt' towards the poor and will never be 'pro rich'.
"This government has decided to write off farm loans of small farmers to the extent of Rs 60,000. The difference we have made concerted efforts during the last four to help and empower the poor, which the previous NDA government had failed to do," he said.
Mr Gandhi arrived in Bangalore this morning on his five-day 'Discover India' tour to interact mainly with dalits and tribals. He would also address public meetings and party workers during the tour.
Mr Gandhi's remarks comes in the wake of Election Commission making it clear that it was strongly in favour of holding the assembly elections to dissolved state assembly in May this year.
However responding to a demand from the locals that loan waiver should also be extended to farm labour, Mr Gandhi said, "This cannot be stretched too far as it will amount to collapse of the banking system." Earlier, on arrival by helicopter from Bangalore, Mr Gandhi drove straight to Muttigegadde tribal village amidst thick forest and visited tribal Jadegowda's house as planned earlier.
He had 'ragi rotti', the staple food of the tribals, along with fresh honey from the forests and spoke with the family for some time. About 400 people belonging to 70 families stay in this village coming under the scenic Neelgiri biosphere.
"When UPA government announced programmes to help the poor there was lot of 'hue and cry'. However when some programmes benefits the rich no one reacts adversely. Why is this discrimination," he asked.
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