Vijayawada: Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Sunday promised to provide special category status to Andhra Pradesh, if their party is voted to power in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections, and expressed surprise that parties in the state failed to 'aggressively' push the issue.

Assuring that his party would also launch a 'surgical strike' on poverty, the Congress chief said Nyay, his promise of a minimum income scheme, was a "non-violent weapon" that will be used to uplift the poorest.

Addressing his first election rally in the state, which goes to simultaneous assembly and Lok Sabha polls, Gandhi said that while the previous Congress-led UPA had created poverty eradication schemes, Prime Minister "Narendra Modi dismantled everything."

"He destroyed the pillars of MGNREGA and Food Security Act," the Congress chief said in his over 30-minute speech.

Terming his proposed minimum income scheme 'Nyay' as historical, he said it was the party's "non-violent weapon" against poverty.

Gandhi, whose party is contesting the polls in Andhra Pradesh alone, said while Modi did "surgical strikes against the poor" his party will carry it out against poverty.

Meanwhile, Rahul Gandhi will address a gathering in Karnataka's Bengaluru where the coalition government leaders meet in one place to welcome the Congress president.

Rahul Gandhi will also be contesting from Wayanad in Kerala along with Amethi in Uttar Pradesh. Kerala will go to polls on April 23.

(With Inputs from ANI)