Accusing the Bharatiya Janata Party’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi of "lecturing" as if he was the "cleanest of them all", Congress President Sonia Gandhi today advised him to read history again to know about the party's contribution in transforming the country since Independence from a poor state to a progressive nation.
"Narendra Modi aaj kaal lecture dete phir rahe hain ki ek wo hi dudh ke dhule hai (Narendra Modi is lecturing nowdays as if he is the cleanest them all)," Sonia said, addressing an election meeting here, about 70 km from state capital Patna.
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Making a scathing attack on Modi for his allegations that the Congress did nothing for the country, she advised him to read history again to know the "truth." "In its 67 years of rule since Independence, the Congress made many sacrifices to uphold unity and integrity of the country and initiated many pioneering steps to take it on path of progress," she said.
Sonia's rally saw senior Rashtriya Janata Dal leader Raghubansh Prasad Singh sharing the dais with her. The event was significant since nowhere else RJD president Lalu Prasad or other senior party leaders were found on the dais alongside Sonia or Rahul Gandhi in the their rallies in the state be it at Aurangabad, Sasaram or Kisanganj.
Sonia sought votes for the Congress' candidate from Muzaffarpur, Akhilesh Prasad Singh and also for Raghubansh who is fighting the polls from neighbouring Vaishali. Attacking Modi for blaming the Congress for not checking corruption in the country, she posed the question to the BJP leader, "If this was so, why did Congress bring Right To Information which has highlighted many a corruption case?"
Seeking to turn the tables on him, Sonia asked for Modi's track record in fighting corruption in Gujarat, "People found involved in corruption cases are in his cabinet. For the past 10 years, the post of Lokayukta is lying vacant," she alleged and attributed this to efforts to "hide corruption under his government in the state."
The Congress president alleged that the BJP's poll agenda was not for the country but for votes. "Similar is the case of Lok Janashakti Party, the new friend of BJP and those who were with them for 17 years, who change faces frequently," she said in a veiled reference to Janata Dal-United of Nitish Kumar.
With Congress in-charge for the state Satyavratha Chathurvedi and Pradesh Congress Committee chief Ashok Choudhary present on the dais, Gandhi said despite the fact that the Congress was not in power in Bihar for past many years, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's government provided liberal finance to the state for its development.
Saying that the country stood on a "do raha" (two paths), she appealed to the voters to make a sanguine choice between Congress-led United Progressive Alliance which stands for unity and progress of the country and the BJP, whose aim is she alleged was to divide the society on the lines of caste and religion.
She listed achievements of the UPA government by bringing progressive legislations such as the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, the Land Acquisition Bill, and the Food Security Act among others. Raghubansh in his brief speech made reference to 2002 Godhra riots and the then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee asking Narendra Modi to follow "raj dharma."
"How can such a person be prime minister of the country?" he asked. Sonia's election rally at Muzaffarpur on the last day of campaigning was delayed by more than one hour. She wound up her speech in 15 minutes at 4:35 pm.