Kerala Chief Minister V S Achuthananadan on Sunday hit back at Rahul Gandhi for his jibe at the Communist party of India-Marxist stalwart on his age, calling him an "Amul baby". Achuthananadan also countered Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for his criticism that the Left rule had done serious damage to Kerala and West Bengal, asking him not to speak with "hangover of a former International Monetary Fund officer".
"Rahul Gandhi is an Amul baby. He has come to Kerala to campaign for Amul babies," Achuthanandan said in Palakkad while addressing election rallies. Taking a dig at 87-year-old Achutanandan, Gandhi(40), projected as the youth face of the Congress, had said at a campaign meeting in the state on Saturday that if the Left Democratic Front was re-elected, Kerala would have a 93-year-old as chief minister in five years time.
Responding to the jibe, Achuthanandan said he began his political career as a 16-year-old and, quoting a malayalam poem, said he had spent his youth without bowing before the "vassals of the corrupt order."
Countering the prime minister's criticism that the Left rule had done serious damage to Kerala and West Bengal, the old CPI-M warhorse said Singh should not have talked with the "hangover of a former IMF officer.
"Singh's claim that Centre had generously supported Kerala sounded like the Americans' claim in the past that they had been providing food items for school children in India," he said.
"It was part of the federal system that part of the taxes collected from the states were devolved on them. It was by glossing over this principle that the prime minister was making such claims at meetings ," he said.
While some United Progressive Alliance partners indulged in corruption, Singh was saying he was helpless, he said. It was on account of the "massive" corruption under UPA rule that Gandhian Anna Hazare launched his campaign demanding aneffective Lokpal bill, he said.
Achuthanandan said Congress President Sonia Gandhi, who came to canvass for United Democratic Front candidates, also used the opportunity to hurl charges at the Left Democratic Front which were far from true.
She had claimed that it was UPA's policies that stopped farmers' suicides in Kerala. Then how come that Congress governments in Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra could not stop farmers' suicides in those states? he asked.
Meanwhile, the Communist Party of India on Sunday said Gandhi's "sarcastic remark" on Achuthanandan's age was only for "publicity purposes." Even at the age of 87, Achuthanandan was doing better than Rahul Gandhi, CPI state secretary C K Chandrappan told mediapersons.
Referring to the Bharatiya Janata Party, Chandrappan said its dream of opening account in Kerala Assembly will remain unfulfilled. Chandrappan alleged that BJP was trying to "sell their votes" in this election also.
He alleged that BJP had arrived at some adjustments under which if UDF helps BJP win in Kasargod, Manjeswaram, Palakkad and Nemmam constituencies, the saffron party would support UDF in other seats.