"The opposition wants to divide the people on political and religious lines, but we want to surge ahead for peace, progress and prosperity of people irrespective of their religion," he said starting his party's poll campaign for the April 9 Lok Sabha and Assembly elections in the state.
Days after he attacked BJP PM candidate Narendra Modi over the 2002 riots issue, Gandhi said that the religion-based ideology of the saffron party "has spoilt the secular nature of the country resulting in the racial discrimination of the people from the Northeast by the people of mainland India" and referred to the January 29 murder of Arunachalee student Nido Taniya in New Delhi.
Rahul said that Taniya had been killed because of ill feelings nursed against people of the Northeast by the people of mainland India. "Arunachal Pradesh being a part of India, its people should enjoy equal privileges in every state of the country. Racial discrimination should be rooted out completely and Congress is committed to this," he said.
The Congress's ideology is to unite the country, said Rahul Gandhi
Rahul said that people of Arunachal and other Northeastern states should not feel neglected in other states of the country. "India is for everybody and we get strength from each state of the country. Every state is like a flower which together make up a bouquet," he said.
He said to the thundering applause of about 5,000 people gathered at the Subansiti Stadium here that the Congress was committed to development of Arunachal Pradesh and wanted to preserve the rich social, traditional and cultural heritage of the peace-loving tribal people in its unique form. Stressing the age-old relationship between Arunachal Pradesh and the Gandhi-Nehru family, Gandhi said that in 1972 Indira Gandhi had ensured the Union territory status to the state and in 1987 Rajiv Gandhi gave statehood to Arunachal.
"The Rs 10,000-crore road package provided by the UPA government to Arunachal during 2008 has immensely benefited the state as in the past few years the state witnessed vast development in infrastructure and road development," he said. He hoped that the upcoming airport project and setting up of railway lines in the state would improve connectivity of the land-locked state with other parts of the country.