Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday slammed the Narendra Modi government, accusing it of being against farmers, labourers, students and the poor. He also described the Left Front's ideology as "obsolete".
Addressing Congress workers at the conclusion of the "Jana Raksha Yatra", which turned out to be a launch pad of the party's election campaign in Kerala, he took swipe at Modi on several occasions during his 30-minute speech at nearby Shangumugham beach.
"You will never see prime minister of India with farmers or labourers. You will never see a photograph of prime minister holding hands with farmers or labourers," he said addressing the Kasaragod-Thiruvananthapuram march led by Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee President V M Sudheeran.
Attacking Modi, Gandhi said he had come to power in 2014 elections by "spreading anger among different sections in the state. He divided Hindus and Muslims and created anger in the country".
He also attacked the Communist Party of India-Marxist-led-Left Democratic Front opposition in Kerala and said "the ideology they believe in was obsolete and belongs to the previous century".
"Kerala cannot build its future from the vision of last century," he said.
Without referring to the solar and bar bribery scams, which has rocked government in the state, Gandhi made it clear that Congress would not compromise on corruption.
"Congress party will not compromise on corruption and I want to make it very clear. If there is even a (minute) evidence, Congress party will take strict action," he said as he praised the five-year achievements of the UDF government.
"I am happy that Chief Minister Oommen Chandy has delivered many of the things he promised," he said.
Hitting out at the CPI-M for its vociferous attack on the government over the bar bribery scam, Gandhi wanted the LDF to make their liquor policy clear to the people.
"I have one question to ask to the Left in Kerala. It is simple. I would like them to answer. They should clearly tell whether they will open more liquor bars or close them," he asked.
Taking a jibe at the prime minister, Gandhi said Modi had also had made "tremendous promises" to the people and youth in the country, "but failed to keep his promises".
Referring to some of the promises made, including Rs 15 lakh to be given to every household in their bank accounts and fair price to farmers for their produce and measures to check price rise, he said, "But the moment he took power, he forgot all the promises."
On the prices of essential commodities, he said dal price had touched over Rs 200 per kg and prices of other commodities are "skyrocketing".
He alleged that the NDA government has not transferred to people a single rupee of benefit it received following the slump in crude oil prices in the international market.
"Farmers are being ignored and they were committing suicide... whether they are rubber, coconut, cardamom farmers of Kerala or farmers from other states, they do not see any future," he said.
He also accused the NDA government of "destroying" major UPA welfare programmes, including National Rural Employment Guarantee scheme and Right to Information and Food Safety.
On the suicide of HyderabadUniversity research student Rohit Vemula, Gandhi said it was not an issue of community, but an issue of "crushing the voice" of students.
He took exception to the reported remark of Union Human Resource Minister Smriti Irani that "Rohit was not a Dalit".
"The minister had the audacity to say Rohit was not a Dalit. Madam minister, the issue in Hyderabad is not whether he was a Dalit or not. It is a student was crushed. The issue is why Rohit, an Indian student, was not allowed to say and do what he believes in," he said.
Gandhi said the students whom he had spoken in Hyderabad told him that "government in Delhi is trying to crush them, defeat them".
"It is not the job of government of India to crush the demands of students," he said.
While the prime minister was talking of 'building India', 'Make in India' and 'Linking India' campaigns, he was 'crushing' the sentiments of students whether in FTII or Hyderabad, he said.
Referring to the suicide of Rohit, Gandhi alleged he had taken the extreme step due to 'pressure' of the central government.
Gandhi, who backed Chandy, said the chief minister had fulfilled most of the promises made to the electorate.
One of the major achievements of the state government is the Kochi metro, which when completed would be affordable to vast majority of the people, unlike the Bullet train visualised by Modi which will be affordable only to a few, he said.
Kochi was developed as a Smart city with new jobs, providing new education opportunities. Long before Modi used the world startup, Chandy had opened the startup village at Kochi in Kerala, with the government passing the nation's first startup policy.
Chandy also focussed on the poor giving rice at Rs one a kg to 94 lakh families who benefited from the subsidies, Gandhi said.
Exhorting the workers to remain united and face the polls, he said he was confident of victory.
Former defence minister and CWC member A K Antony said BJP should not be allowed to open its account in the state at any cost and alleged CPI-M was following the policy of destruction.
"BJP is trying its best to win a seat by hook or by crook. But people will defeat them," he said.
He also reminded the Congress in the state to remain united -- physically and mentally.
Chandy, Sudheeran and AICC general secretary Mukul Wasnik, were among those who spoke.
Later, Gandhi held one-to-one meetings with senior state Congress leaders, including Chandy, Vayalar Ravi, Home Minister Ramesh Chennithala and Sudheeran, and elicited their views on the current political situation in the state.
He wanted the leaders to face the polls unitedly and said the party high command had great expectations in the state leadership.
He said the party high command is of the opinion that re-emergence of the Congress at the national level will be from Kerala.