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In a veiled attack on BJP and RSS, Rahul Gandhi today said the opposition does not respect women and their 'ideological sangathan' has no place for them.
The attack by the Congress Vice President came as he virtually launched the party's poll campaign in Karnataka for the coming Lok Sabha elections, during which he held road shows in parts of old Mysore region, including the Cauvery belt, to drum up support for his party.
Gandhi, who addressed a women's conference at Tumkur, emphasised the need for women empowerment and attacked RSS and BJP, whom he charged with being "shorn of an ideology that respects women."
"India can't be a superpower until we empower women. Wherever women are being empowered and given a chance, those states are progressing rapidly," he said amid thundering applause from the gathering.
"Their ideological sangathan has no place for women. Their leader, what he says and what he does you know it. I do not have to elaborate," he said.
Gandhi while enumerating various welfare measures implemented by the UPA government during its rule, expressed optimism about the passage of Women's Reservation Bill to empower them in legislatures, parliament and panchayats.
Gandhi then set out on a road show from Tumkur upto Srirangapatna in Mandya district, the Cauvery heartland considered a stronghold of JDS, led by former Prime Minister H D Devegowda.
At every spot where Gandhi stopped for a brief, people greeted and cheered him. At several places, enthusiastic crowd, mostly Congress supporters and villagers, garlanded him and offered shawls.
Gandhi interacted with people and sought their support for Congress in the coming elections.
He held roadside interactions at Maddur, the home constituency of former External Affairs Minister S M Krishna, and Mandya, where well-known actress Ramya won on a Congress ticket in the last year by-election to Lok Sabha seat.
He also visited Sriranagapatna before reaching Mysore. Police had made elaborate security arrangements for the road show. Gandhi later left for Delhi.
On the first day of his visit yesterday, Gandhi had lashed out at BJP and its Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi at a 'Bharat Nirman' rally in Belgaum, charging the principal opposition party with ignoring corruption in states ruled by it and blocking passage of six anti-graft bills by parliament.