The Bharatiya Janata Party on Thursday described Rahul Gandhi's speech at a Confederation of Indian Industry programme as that of a "confused leader" which reflected the fear of the emergence of Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi in national politics.
The main opposition party sought to know why the Congress vice-president's ideas on dealing with price rise and corruption have not been heeded to by the United Progressive Alliance government which has been in power for nine years.
"Rahul's speech reflected that he lives in his own world. He was meant to answer what has happened in the nine years (of UPA rule) but there was no mention of corruption or inflation. Instead of answering questions, he was asking questions. It is a tacit admission that nothing has been done," BJP spokesperson Prakash Javadekar told reporters.
He maintained that 'Modi-phobia' was clearly visible in Rahul's comments.
"A confused leader presented his confused ideology which nobody could understand," Javadekar said, adding that the present day problems in India are a result of the failures of the Congress.
Another party spokesperson, Nirmala Sitharaman, wondered why the Congress-led government had not implemented Rahul's ideas till now.
"I am very tempted to ask if there were so many different ideas which were articulated, why his own government and his party -- of which he has been general secretary and is now a vice- president and Member of Parliament -- has not found it fit to adopt his ideas," she said.
The BJP spokesperson also sought to know why Rahul is talking of compassion "when the Congress has not done anything for the drought-affected people of Maharashtra, or for those who were at the receiving end of police atrocities in Dhule, or against giving mines to the rich in Andhra Pradesh”.
Earlier, the Congress vice-president, in his address to the CII, made a veiled criticism of the BJP's policies, saying politics of alienating communities affects growth and his party stood for inclusive growth.
"When you play the politics of alienating communities, you stop the movement of people and ideas. When that happens, we all suffer. Businesses suffer, seeds of disharmony are sown and the dreams of our people are severely disrupted," Gandhi said.
BJP Member of Parliament Yashwant Sinha said he was perplexed by what Rahul had said, but maintained that he had been relevant in some parts.
"Who was he criticising? Certainly not us as we have not been in power for the last several years. Was he targeting his family or his party," Sinha said.
The BJP leader maintained there were contradictions in Rahul's speech.
"On behalf of his party, he could have said this is what could be done. But he only shared a set of platitudes," Sinha said.
Asked how he would compare Rahul with Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, who many see as the BJP's prime ministerial candidate, Sinha said, "It will be very unfair to
Rahul Gandhi to compare him with Modi because there is no comparison. I don't want to be harsh on the young man."
Party spokesperson Shahnawaz Hussain voiced his disappointment over Rahul not speaking about issues like corruption and price rise.
"We hoped that he would speak on corruption and inflation, but he has disappointed the nation. Rahul spoke about giving powers to 'pradhan' but not giving power to 'pradhan mantri' (prime minister)," Hussain said.