New Delhi: Reaching out to the strata between BPL and middle class, Rahul Gandhi today said Congress will focus on giving these 70 crore people a better life and basic social security as he sought direct feedback from labourers and street vendors for Lok Sabha poll manifesto.
"The meaning of policy should be that 70 crore people of the country have a concrete base support so that they are assured that whatever be the circumstances, their condition will not plummet beyond that base
"The target in the next five-ten years should be that we upgrade these 70 crore people to middle class. These are the people, who run the country," Gandhi said.
His remarks came a day after he said in Raipur that the party's focus will be on uplift of those who fall between below poverty line and middle class.
Gandhi's remarks reaching out to this new growing class of people have been interpreted as an attempt to find new constituency for Congress, whose traditional support base of 'aam aadmi' (common man), seems to have dwindled after emergence of Aam Aadmi Party even as BJP is perceived to be cornering a significant chunk of the middle classes especially in urban areas.
"If we want to bring them in middle class, we will have to provide them with basic minimum support...we will have to give them concrete base beneath their feet," Gandhi stressed.
The Congress Vice President had during his last few interactions made a strong pitch for skill development and employment generation through honing of existing skills and giving such skilled labours an identity.
Interacting with with labour representatives from organised and unorganised sectors, Gandhi also referred to his train journey in ordinary sleeper class from Gorakhpur to Mumbai in 2010 during which he had had a long discussion with migrant workers from eastern Uttar Pradesh.
"I have interacted with a number of labourers and asked them what is their insecurity. Their response is that they do not know what will they face tomorrow. They told me that I have solid ground beneath my feet which they do not have.
"The need is that we give them this concrete, this base to them. So that whatever be the situation, there is something on which they are able to stand. The meaning of the rights is that you give them a certain base below which the do not have to fall in adversities," Gandhi said addressing the gathering.
He said that there should be basic social security for all Indians. (MORE)