Senior Congress leader Rahul Gandhi launched the second leg of his campaign for the Kerala assembly polls on Friday, reaching out to youngsters and urging people to be cautious about those spreading hatred and engaging in violence. He also attacked the Union and the state governments over the "weak" economic condition.
Rahul Gandhi, who reached the state by helicopter from Coimbatore on a two-day visit, addressed a series of meetings in Palakkad and Malappuram districts, despite the sweltering heat.
The Wayanad Member of Parliament (MP) held roadshows in Palakkad and Thrithala assembly constituencies. In Palakkad, two time MLA and Youth Congress president, Shafi Prambil, has been pitted against 88-year-old 'Metroman' E Sreedharan, making his poll debut on a BJP ticket. In Thrithala, sitting Congress MLA VT Balaram is locking horns with former Palakaad MP, MB Rajesh of the Left Democratic Front (LDF).
"I congratulate the UDF (United Democratic Front) for having many young candidates in the election. The energy of the youth will drive our country in the right direction," the Congress leader said in a Facebook post.
He also held roadshows at Malampuzha and Chittur where SK Ananthakrishnan and Sumesh Achutan are the UDF candidates.
Addressing a meeting at Ponnani, Rahul Gandhi asked the people to think about those who are spreading hatred and violence, before going to vote on April 6.
"Think about those who spread hatred and violence. Think about whether it will be useful for Kerala and India to be divided, to be angry. You have a history here.
"You have a particular tradition and understanding and [you should] use your wisdom to decide on who should win this election," Rahul Gandhi said at Ponnani in neighbouring Malappuram district, where youth leader AM Rohit has been fielded.
The Congress leader referred to the economic situation and unemployment prevailing in the country and asked "what's the point of having a government" which cannot provide jobs to its youngsters.
"What sort of vision is being given to the youngsters who are without jobs. What are you expecting them to do? You want them to sit at home?" he asked.
He claimed that the government was looting the people through farm bills, GST, petrol prices, among others, and asked the people what they were getting back in return.
The Wayanad MP said that 55% of the candidates fielded by his party this time are youngsters.
Earlier, addressing an election meeting at Palakkad, he said the economic condition of the country and the state was weak, and had worsened due to demonetisation and flawed GST.
Taking a swipe at the incumbent CPI(M)-led LDF government of the state, Rahul Gandhi said that its attempt to revive the economy was like trying to start a car without filling petrol.
"We need to inject money into the economy. When we tried to introduce a job guarantee scheme, many said it was a waste of money. But later they had to accept that it boosted the economy," the Congress leader said.