New Delhi: Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Sunday made a blistering attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi accusing him of being “hollow” and speaking “lies” while being silent on pressing issues concerning the judiciary, women, Dalits, youth, farmers besides corruption.
Addressing a well-attended Jan Akrosh rally at the Ramlila Maidan here, Gandhi tore into the Modi government’s record in office so far and said the Congress will not only win the forthcoming Assembly polls in Karnataka but all Assembly polls this year and the Lok Sabha polls next year.
“Four years of Modi government have given unemployment, BJP MLAs committed atrocities on women, informal sector was destroyed, Modiji could not stand up to China,” Gandhi said.
The enthusiastic gathering at the rally, which came almost a year before the Lok Sabha polls and signalled Gandhi’s intention to build up electoral momentum with sharp attacks on Modi, loudly cheered the Congress chief, who packed a lot of punch in his 30-minute speech, repeatedly citing Modi’s description of himself as “chowkidar” (guard).
UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi, in her speech, said India had been turned into a land of falsehood, hatred, anger and violence since Modi became the Prime Minister.
“The government takes parliamentary majority as a license to do whatever it likes. They think it is their right to crush any dissent,” she said and termed it “directionless and anti-people”.
Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said the Modi government has not been able to fulfil any of its promises. “The style of work of the Modi government can increase threat to democracy. Constitutional institutions are being insulted,” he said.
Both Sonia Gandhi and Manmohan Singh urged party workers to strengthen the hands of Rahul Gandhi in defeating the BJP.
Gandhi defended senior party leader Salman Khurshid over his “blood on party’s hands” remarks, saying he would allow “divergent views to flourish in the party”, but asked party members to fight together in the ideological battle against the RSS.
He said, unlike the Congress, only the views of Modi and party President Amit Shah prevail in the BJP.
Referring to the death of Judge B.H. Loya, Gandhi said people in the Supreme Court had stated that pressure was being exerted on the court, but Modi was “silent” as he was on the unprecedented press conference of four judges of the apex court in January.
He accused the Prime Minister of being silent over Union Minister Piyush Goyal’s alleged sale of shares held in a privately-held company at nearly 1,000 times the face value.
“Piyush Goyal becomes a minister and does not declare his company. Later he sells it for Rs 48 crore to a power company. It is the first time a Power Minister has sold his company to a power company and Narendra Modi does not speak a word,” Gandhi said.
Fugitive jeweller Nirav Modi has taken away Rs 30,000 crore of people’s money and fled to London but “did the chowkidar say a word about Nirav Modi”, he asked.
Citing Modi’s visit to China for an informal summit, he said: “China’s Army is entrenched in Doklam, they are making helipads, extending airways and India’s Prime Minister held discussions without an agenda. What does this mean?”
None of the Prime Ministers had done such a thing, he said.
He said Modi had talked of providing two crore jobs every year but now “unemployment is highest in the past eight years”, while demonetisation and faulty implementation of the GST had “broken the back of the informal sector”.
“China creates 50,000 jobs in 24 hours while India generates 450. The youth look towards Narendra Modi and say that he is hollow. His words are empty. He only speaks lies,” Gandhi said.
The Congress leader said the Modi government was willing to waive Rs 2.5 lakh crore worth of loans of a few industrialists but was not ready to do the same for farmers, who were being forced to commit suicide.
“If the Congress had not stood up, all the land of farmers would have been snatched by Narendra Modi,” Gandhi said.
Noting Dalits and minorities were facing attack and Modi “does not speak a word”, he, referring to incidents of rapes in different parts of the country, said it was the first time in the country’s history that a Prime Minister was told to his face in a foreign land that his government was not doing enough to protect women.