Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi (right) attends an interactive session with rickshaw pullers, ahead of the 2014 general elections, in Varanasi yesterday.
New Delhi: Former Indian Army chief General V K Singh yesterday joined the BJP while Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi wooed rickshaw pullers and auto drivers in Varanasi as the two big political rivals continued to mobilise support for the Lok Sabha polls.
After appearing to join Anna Hazare’s anti-corruption bandwagon, the controversial former army general joined the BJP, calling it the only “nationalist party” and expressed his desire to “work for the nation”.
“We dedicated our lives serving on the borders, and now we want to work in interest of the nation, with nationalist forces,” the 63-year-old retired general said. “So, we have decided to move with the BJP to bring a government which is stable, strong and takes decisions in national interest,” added Singh who retired in May 2012.
Using the occasion to attack Congress led United Progressive Alliance, BJP President Rajnath Singh said: “The government had not paid enough attention to the armed forces. India’s defence and security system has been neglected by the current dispensation for many years. Many holes are visible in the system.”
Rahul reaches out
Meanwhile, Congress Vice- President Rahul Gandhi interacted with rickshaw pullers and auto drivers in Varanasi, in a bid to reach out to the aam aadmi, and later prayed at the famous Kashi Vishwanath temple.
Accompanied by party general secretary Madhusudan Mistry and union Minister Oscar Fernandes, Gandhi spoke to the rickshaw pullers and enquired about health and insurance facilities during the 90-minute interaction. Gandhi directed Fernandes to ask the Uttar Pradesh government to provide insurance and medical benefits to all families living below the poverty line.
Meanwhile, the two-year-old Aam Aadmi Party announced its third list of candidates that included some well-known faces.
Savita Bhatti, wife of television actor late Jaspal Bhatti, will contest from Chandigarh, which is currently represented by former union minister Pawan Kumar Bansal while Anand Kumar, a professor in Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru University will contest from north-east Delhi, represented by the Congress leader Jai Prakash Agarwal. The party had earlier announced two lists of 20 and 30 candidates. IANS