Rahul Gandhi is in battle mode these days taking on the RSS and PM Modi at every opportunity. Addressing party workers in Thane, the party president tore Modi apart over a range of issues and also took a dig at him for completely ignoring the seniors in the BJP such as Advani, Joshi and Jaswant Singh.
Congress President Rahul Gandhi targeted Prime Minister Narendra Modi here on Tuesday, accusing him of “keeping silent” on crucial issues confronting the country.
“Modiji is mum on major problems like unemployment and farmers. He does not reply to my questions on petrol price hike, inflation and joblessness. A handful of 15 industrialists are running the country,” Gandhi told the media after a hearing in the Bhiwandi Court here.
On the court case, filed by a RSS supporter against Gandhi, the Congress leader said: “Ours is a fight of ideology and system. Let them file any number of court cases against me, I shall fight them, I am not bothered.”
Earlier, Bhiwandi Court Judge A.I. Shaikh summoned Gandhi to the witness box and read out the charges against him, to which the Congress President pleaded not guilty.
The next date of hearing was fixed for August 10.
This is Gandhi’s first visit to Maharashtra after taking over as Congress President.
Hoardings proclaiming Gandhi as the ‘Future Prime Minister’ greeted him on the roads outside the Mumbai Airport to Thane as he was accorded a warm welcome by Congress leaders including state President Ashok Chavan and Mumbai city chief Sanjay Nirupam.
Thereafter, Gandhi proceeded to the Bhiwandi Court in adjoining Thane district which was virtually converted into fortress for the framing of charges in a defamation case against him filed by a Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) worker who objected to Gandhi’s utterances at an election rally in March 2014 wherein he blamed the RSS for the killing Mahatma Gandhi.
Later, he will interact with the party’s over 15,000 booth-level workers at a function in Bombay Exhibition Centre at Goregaon in Mumbai.
In the evening, Gandhi was scheduled to have a meeting with the party’s municipal corporators and is also likely to call on Nationalist Congress President Sharad Pawar.
Without naming the Prime Minister, Rahul Gandhi compared him with prominent fugitives and expressed suspicion that even “he may run away” like Nirav Modi, Vijay Mallya and Lalit Modi.
“Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi ran away with Rs 35,000 crore, Vijay Mallya took off with Rs 9,000 crore and even Lalit Modi decamped… But he says nothing… He will also run away,” Gandhi said, addressing a massive meeting of the party’s booth-level workers in suburban Goregaon this evening.
Launching his sharpest attack on the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Modi, Gandhi claimed there was “fear” now in Modi’s voice.
“Unki awaaz me ek ghabraahat hai (There is fear in his voice)… The Prime Minister runs the country through ‘bhaashans’ (speeches) only… But I am not scared as I am a soldier of truth,” Gandhi said amid spontaneous rounds of claps punctuating his speech.
He said Modi had contended that he would be a watchman of the country and not the Prime Minister, but instead he has become “a watchman for only 15 to 20 rich people”.
Gandhi said the country is suffering under the “lies” of Modi, while the Congress always stood for the truth.
Hinting at Opposition unity in the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections, he warned that the Congress and all other parties together will defeat the BJP.
“In Gujarat, you barely survived… In Karnataka you were thrown out. In Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, you will be nowhere in the picture. The Congress and Opposition parties will unitedly vanquish you,” Gandhi said.
Referring to the demonetization of November 2016, the Congress President said that the common masses who used to eke out a survival with Rs 500 or Rs 1,000 were suddenly left in the lurch as the government laughingly spiked those currencies.
However, he said a certain Jayesh Shah (referring to BJP president Amit Shah’s son) did not suffer and could convert his Rs 50,000 to Rs 80 crore in a short time.
Accusing the BJP and Modi of spreading hatred throughout the country, Gandhi pointed out that the Congress has always united India and taken everybody along.
“The ordinary Indians who voted for the BJP had faith in the Prime Minister, but now they feel Modi has betrayed their trust totally. Farmers were expecting proper prices for the produce from him, but now they die alone and the Prime Minister is not there with them… He has made everybody cry,” Gandhi said.
He demanded to know where are the two crore jobs Modi promised, reiterating that the country continues to reel from high inflation, spiralling petrol-diesel prices and unemployment.
This afternoon, Gandhi launched the Congress’ national initiative ‘Project Shakti’ by which he would establish direct communication between the grassroots workers and the party’s central leadership, said Nirupam.
Back in Delhi, Rahul Gandhi hit out at Modi, saying that humiliating his gurus – former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, veteran leaders L.K. Advani and Jaswant Singh – is his way of protecting Indian culture.
He also attacked BJP, a party in which they “cut down their own Gurus”.
Referring to a character from the Mahabharata, Gandhi tweeted: “Ekalavya cut off his right thumb because his Guru demanded it. In the BJP, they cut down their own Gurus.”
“Humiliating Vajpayeeji, Advaniji, Jaswant Singhji and their families is the Prime Minister’s way of protecting Indian culture,” he said, attaching a video where Modi purportedly humiliated Advani. (IANS)