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What kind of PM is he?: Rahul attacks Modi at Jan Akrosh rally

Last updated on: April 29, 2018 21:21 IST

Rahul exuded confidence that his party will emerge victorious in Karnataka, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh assembly polls and defeat the BJP in the 2019 general polls. 

IMAGE: Congress president Rahul Gandhi addresses Jan Aakrosh' rallyat Ramilia Maidan in New Delhi. Photograph: Arun Sharma/PTI Photo

Virtually sounding the poll bugle for the next Lok Sabha elections, Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Sunday claimed his party would win the polls in Karnataka and other states and will return to power at the Centre in 2019.

At his first public rally in the national capital after taking over as the party chief, he said the Congress was like the water required to build the country's edifice and described party workers as "sher ke bachche" (lions cubs), who sacrificed their lives for truth and not for "satta" (power).


In his over half -an-hour address, Gandhi launched an all-out attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi on issues of law and order, 'double standards" on corruption, "messing up" of the economy, "undermining" democratic institutions and "failing" to provide safety to women.

He said while the country believed in a religion that was based on truth in everything, one did "not find truth" in Modi's speeches.

"Elections are round the corner. In 2014, the BJP and the RSS spread lies against our government. Modi ji spread lies and spoke against our government, the Congress party and its leaders.

"The truth is now coming out and the people are seeing the truth about Narendra Modi and the strength of the Congress and its workers is being revealed," he said at the'Jan Aakrosh' rally at Ramlila Maidan.

The Congress chief said, "The strength of the Congress workers was evident in Gujarat ...I can tell you here that the Congress party will win Karnataka, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh and it will win the 2019 elections."

"The Congress workers, who are fighting like 'sher ka bachche', are 'satya ka sipahi' (soldiers of truth). You beat or kill them, they will not leave the truth....

"In every state, the Congress workers gave away their lives for truth and not power," he said, referring to the killing of Congress workers in Punjab, Assam and other states.

He said India is a country that believes in a religion whose faith is truth, he accused the BJP of being soaked in "falsehoods".

Accusing Modi of "lying" for "not fulfilling" his promises, Gandhi wondered what kind of a prime minister he was and alleged that the people have to find truth in his speeches.

"This country is like a building and no building can come up without water. The Congress party is the water of India's edifice, it is the love and if you want to uplift this country and take it forward, then what is required is love and not hatred, that is spread by the BJP and the RSS.

"The Congress workers across the country spread love and brotherhood...and this is what the Congress has done in the last 70 years. We have united the country, given protection to women, minorities, Dalits and tribals," he said.

Attacking Modi on corruption, Gandhi said in Karnataka, the prime minister sits on stage with BJP's chief ministerial candidate B S Yeddyurappa who was jailed for corruption and added that the money of Indians has gone into Nirav Modi's pockets, who has since fled the country and evaded justice.

Gandhi also took on Modi for his "silence" on farmers' distress and the crisis in the higher judiciary that has never happened in the past 70 years.

The Congress chief said the prime minister had promises giving two lakh jobs and the people trusted him, but after four years of the NDA rule, there was widespread unemployment.

Modi has given demonetisation and 'Gabbar Singh Tax' to the people which have broken the back of the informal sector, he said.

Hitting out at Modi for "takeover" of institutions by the RSS, Gandhi alleged that the RSS is slowly destroying them from within, while "Modi ji watches silently".

The Congress chief also criticised the prime minister for his "silence" on crimes against women and alleged that while Modi gave the slogan 'Beti Bachao Beti Padhao', members of his own party assaulted women.

He said Modi went to China "without an agenda" and alleged that while China deployed its military in Dokalam, he held a "no-agenda" meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping.

"Modi ji did not publicly speak a single word on Dokalam during his visit to China. What kind of prime minister is he," Gandhi asked.

Gandhi also sought to compare the performance of the state governments led by his party with that of the Modi dispensation.

He alleged that farmers were under stress, but their loans were not written off by the government, which "waived" of debts of corporate houses.

Rahul also said, the party will respect its experienced and young leaders and workers alike.

Action will be taken against anybody who shows disrespect to own party colleagues, he said.

"I want to give an example. Salman Khurshidji is sitting here. A few days back, he voiced opinions which were against the party line. I am ready to accept from this platform that there will be different opinions in our party and that I will allow different opinions to flourish in the party,” he told the gathering.

Gandhi said he will protect people like Khurshid, a former Union minister, who has opinions different from the party's. “But, I do want to say something that when the party is fighting against the RSS, then we will have to do so with unity and love.”

As Gandhi spoke these lines from the stage, Khurshid was seen clapping in the audience. He later said only truth prevails in the Congress party.

Targeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah, Gandhi said they would “never say” something like this.

This is mainly because only two people are respected in the ruling party, PM Modi and Shah, he alleged.

“Neither (Union finance minister) Arun Jaitley ji nor (BJP veteran LK) Advani ji nor their chief ministers will be respected in their party. In their party, only Narendra Modi and Amit Shah will be respected,” he alleged.

IMAGE: What happened to Modi ji's slogan 'Na khaunga, na khane dunga;? Asks Sonia during the rally. Photograph: Arun Sharma/PTI Photo

Former Congress president Sonia Gandhi accused it of "betraying" the people by not keeping its promises and alleged that corruption had taken "deeper roots" since it came to power.

The United Progressive Alliance chairperson alleged that the government has left no stone unturned in undermining institutions and targeting political rivals by misusing central agencies.

She also made a reference to the "serious crisis" that had gripped the top judiciary, saying it had never happened before.

Sonia Gandhi claimed all sections of the society were unhappy and angry with the government as none of the promises made to them were fulfilled.

In her 10-minute address, she said unlike truth prevailing in the past, today falsehood, hatred and violence were ruling the roost. 

The Congress leader cautioned the people to remain alert in the "sensitive" phase that the country was passing through.

"What happened to Modi ji's slogan 'Na khaunga, na khane dunga' (would not take bribes, nor let anyone do so) as the roots of corruption have become deeper under his watch," she said.

Sonia charged the government with muzzling dissenting voices and dividing communities with an eye on electoral gains.

"For all of us, the country is passing through a sensitive phase and we need to take it seriously. That is why I want to tell you to remain alert," she said, adding that the people should strengthen their voice along with party president Rahul Gandhi to fight divisive forces.

"We will fight unitedly the directionless, anti-people Modi government, which has made false promises and betrayed the people," she said. 

The former Congress chief said, "I am confident that the voice raised at the rally at the historic Ramlila Maidan will resonate across every household and our fight will be successful in the days to come."

She said, "This government has not left any stone unturned in undermining constitutional institutions. Political rivals are being targeted through government agencies.

"The media cannot play its role and it is being stopped from doing so," she said, adding institutions were built with a lot of hard work in the last 60-65 years and need to be strengthened.

"All this is being done at the behest of an organisation, which follows a certain mindset," the Congress leader said, in an apparent reference to the RSS, the BJP's ideological mentor.

Urging people to unite under Rahul Gandhi's leadership, Sonia Gandhi said, "We will fight Modi ji and his colleagues who are weakening the foundations of the Constitution for their personal interests. 

"We will fight those who are imposing their will and not the law of the land. We will fight those who want to annihilate our Ganga-Jamuni culture," she said.

The chairperson of the Congress Parliamentary Party said leaders of the party in the past sacrificed everything as they wanted to create an India based on the values of truth, love and non-violence. 

"But what has happened in the last four years is there before all of us. I feel pained to see that falsehood, hatred and violence is rampant in the country today instead of truth, love and non-violence. 

"Those who raise voice for justice become victims of Modi government's anger. They (the BJP) take their majority in the Lok Sabha as a licence to work at their whims and fancies. They think it is their right to muzzle voices at every level," she added.

IMAGE: Congress President Rahul Gandhi hugs his mother Sonia Gandhi during the rally. Photograph: Arun Sharma/PTI Photo

Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh also sought support for the Congress and its president Rahul Gandhi, saying the democracy of the country is in danger with the Modi government consistently undermining its Constitutional institutions.

Launching an all-out attack on the government, he said it has failed to fulfil all its promises it made before coming to the power and it's the time it should give an account of its works to the people of the country.

The former prime minister claimed the anger among all sections of the society has shot up in the last four years due to the rising threat to the safety and security of the people and the vanishing employment opportunities, which has left the youths worried.

Singh said the pessimism is on the rise across the country, the law and order situation is bad and the atrocities against the minorities, the Dalits and the women are rising, but the Modi government seems hardly perturbed.

"The manner in which the Modi government is functioning, it can also pose a threat to democracy in the country. In the last few days, what happened in Indian Parliament is before the people of the country (to see)," he said.

Accusing the Modi government of thwarting the Opposition's 'No Confidence Motion' in Parliament, Singh said it did everything possible and conspired to stop it from being taken up in Parliament. 

"It is clear from this that if the Parliament does not function, it can pose danger to the democracy in the country. Democracy is a gift of the India's Constitution and we should all strive to strengthen it.

"Today such an atmosphere is being created where the Constitutional institutions are being insulted. I talked about the manner in which Parliament was not allowed to function and how the Budget was passed. 

"The way the 'no confidence motion' by the opposition was not allowed to be taken up..., all this is posing a danger to India's democracy," he said.

The former prime minister said what has happened in the banking sector with Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi having taken thousands of crores of loans and run away from the country, is for everybody to see.

"This is affecting the health of our banks," he said.

He said the price of crude oil across the world was falling while in India the prices of petrol and diesel were constantly rising. He asked why this government was not working towards reducing the oil prices, which have put common man in great distress.

"The time has come that we support Rahul Gandhi in making this country a better place," he said.

Talking about unemployment, he said it was on the rise as the Mod Government has not created the much-promised two crore job opportunities, leaving youths and students, who had taken study loans, a worried lot in absence of jobs.

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