Mangalore, Mar 14: The district Congress on Friday March 14 launched a padayatra (rally on foot) at Thokkottu here amid much fanfare. The padayatra, aimed at creating awareness on the need for building a strong India, culminated at Kulur junction.

Inaugurating the padayatra, former union minister and Congress Lok Sabha candidate from Mangalore Janardhan Poojary said, “I thank Indian National Congress president Sonia Gandhi and vice-president Rahul Gandhi for choosing me as the candidate from Mangalore. I also thank Congress members for their support.”

Taking a dig at BJP, he said, “The district BJP is asking for votes not in the name of their candidate Nalin Kumar Kateel but in PM candidate Narendra Modi’s name. That means the BJP in Mangalore is not my opponent, and neither is Nalin Kumar. My opponent is Modi. It is a fight between Modi and me. Let them field Modi from Mangalore.”

He further added, “BJP has done nothing for Dakshina Kannada or for Karnataka. BJP says Modi will bring heaven, and that Gujarat is already a heaven. Everyone knows what has happened in Gujarat. The poor in Gujarat have remained poor. He has not done anything for them. Almost 40 percent of the people are unemployed and wandering around for jobs. As many as 13 lac applications were received for 1500 jobs. Modi has no answer for this. In Madhya Pradesh one unit of electricity was purchased for Rs 7, while in Gujarat it was purchased for Rs 13. In Karnataka it cost only Rs 5 per unit.

“Modi is telling lies and has no answer for all these questions. One-third of the small scale industries in Gujarat have shut down. They reached heaven already. Around 800 farmers in Gujarat have committed suicide. Lands are given to big corporates for throwaway prices. Awareness on all these anomalies should be created in every house by the Congress. The Gujarat riots are not to be forgotten,” he said.

Referring to Modi’s marital status Janardhan Poojary said, “Poojary has helped you (Narendra Modi) by telling you about your marital status. If Modi does not submit details about his marital status (to election commission) he will face problems. Women are equal to god. Women should go to every house and inform people that Modi is married, and that Jashodaben is his wife. They should say what Jashodaben told the media when asked about Modi. Just imagine how much Jashodaben must have cried for him. Modi has no right to contest for the PM’s post.”

In his address, health minister U T Khadar said, “It is a happy moment for us that we are launching a rally to tell people of the development undertaken by our party in the country. This rally aims to bring success to Janardhan Poojary in the elections. The Right to Information (RTI) Act was brought about by Sonia Gandhi. We also brought the Right to Education Act. We have given good MPs from this district in the past. Let this rally create ripples of change everywhere.”

MLA J R Lobo said, “This rally is very important for us. We want Congress to win in Mangalore and in all other places. We will not leave out any person in our march towards development. Congress has worked hard for the development of India.”

District incharge minister Ramanath Rai, former MLA Vijaykumar Shetty, mayor Mahabala Maarla, P V Mohan, Kanachur Monu, Ashith Pereira, Mithun Rai, Taranath Rai, Ivan D’Souza, Kodijal Ibrahim and many others were present.

Traffic was affected for sometime due to the rally. Some of the commuters were seen climbing out of vehicles and preferring to walk.