Sending rocket to moon doesn't feed youth: Rahul Gandhi

Former Congress president Rahul Gandhi addresses a joint Congress-NCP rally ahead of Maharashtra Assembly polls (PTI Photo)

Five months after the Lok Sabha polls defeat, former Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Sunday started the campaign trail for the Maharashtra assembly elections, keeping up attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the BJP on "real issues" such as the state of the economy and farm distress. 

Addressing an election rally at Ausa, a town in Maharashtra, Rahul accused Modi and BJP president Amit Shah for distracting the people's attention from issues such as growing unemployment and agrarian distress by talking about Article 370 and the moon mission.

"When the youth asks for jobs, the government asks them to look at the moon, or talks about the abrogation of Article 370, but is silent on the problems faced by the commoner," Rahul said.

He was campaigning for Congress candidate Basavraj Patil, the working president of the party's state unit.

The former Congress President's strident line of attack on the state of the economy and farm distress is a clear indication that the party was ready for the long haul in its fight against the BJP and was not ready to resort to emotive issues such as nationalism.

"Sending a rocket to the moon will not feed the youth of the country," Rahul said. He kept up the attack on Modi accusing him of waiving Rs 5.5 lakh crore worth loans of a handful of businessmen, while ignoring the farmers.

In Ausa assembly segment, Basavraj Patil of the Congress is taking on Abhimanyu Pawar of the BJP. Pawar, the personal aide of Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, is testing electoral waters from the seat from where Shiv Sena used to put up a candidate.

Patil is seeking a third consecutive term, having won the seat with a margin of over 8,000 votes in 2014 when Modi wave had swept the state.

The rally at Ausa was Rahul's first after the disastrous Lok Sabha poll campaign that saw Congress win 52 Lok Sabha seats against the 303 won by the BJP.

Rahul had stepped down as Congress President and kept himself away from party affairs, including the selection of candidates for the state elections Maharashtra and Haryana.

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