KALPETTA (WAYANAD), April 21 (AGENCIES): Terming the ongoing Lok Sabha elections as no ordinary polls, Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Sunday asked people to vote for saving the country from “narrow minded ideology” as she accused the NDA government of undermining democracy and suppressing dissent. In an interaction with media here after visiting the family of CRPF jawan V V Vasanthkumar martyred in the Pulwama terror attack, she said Congress was not contesting the polls for power but for the larger idea of the country and to strengthen the forces of democracy.
“This election is to save the country that we all love, the country that we all believe in. The country in which all of us are equal, in which all of us are free to express ourselves, our religion, our ways of eating, our ways of living,” she said.
Priyanka, who has been campaigning for her brother and Congress president Rahul Gandhi contesting the polls from Wayanad constituency in Kerala besides in his traditional Amethi seat, appealed to the electorate in the state to vote for Congress for the bigger cause.
“I appeal to you to vote for our alliance as we are fighting for a much greater thing. We are not fighting just to gain power. We are fighting for a much bigger thing in this election,” the AICC general secretary in-charge of Eastern Uttar Pradesh said. She claimed that suddenly people were not free to express themselves. “Suddenly people are afraid. The institutions that are to protect the rights of the people are undermined. Democracy is being undermined and we must all realise that this is no ordinary election,” Priyanka said.
The Congress leader, who did not name either the BJP or the NDA or Prime Minister Narendra Modi throughout her interaction, asked the people to save the country from a government which she said feared criticism.
“Save the country in which rules are being imposed on us by a narrow minded ideology, where only one kind of thinking prevails. Save the country in which there is a government that is afraid of criticism, which wants to suppress you when you raise your voice. So when you cast your vote you must think of this. A larger idea of our country,” she added.
Priyanka spent about half-an-hour at Vasanthkumar’s house and consoled the grieving family. She also metthe family of Sreedhanya Suresh, the first Tribal woman from Wayanad to clear the civil services exam. After meeting both the families at Vasanthkumar’s house, Priyanka came out of the house holding Sreedhanya close by. A smiling Priyanka was seen talking to beaming Sreedhanya and their exchange of pleasantries ended with a warm hug.
Hundreds of party workers and locals gathered in the area. Priyanka had Saturday attended four public meetings in the constituency canvassing votes for the Congress president.