Kerala Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan on Sunday hit back at Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi for his jibe at the Communist Party of India (Marxist) stalwart on his age, calling him an “Amul baby.”

“Rahul Gandhi is an Amul baby. He has come to Kerala to campaign for Amul babies,” Mr. Achuthanandan said in Palakkad while addressing election rallies.

Taking a dig at 87-year-old Achuthanandan, Mr. 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 (LDF) was re-elected, Kerala would have a 93-year-old as Chief Minister in five years' time.

Quotes Malayalam poem

Responding to the jibe, Mr. 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 Manmohan Singh's criticism that the Left rule had done serious damage to Kerala and West Bengal, the old CPI(M) warhorse said Dr. Singh should not have talked with the “hangover of a former IMF officer.”

Akin to U.S. claim

Dr. Singh's claim that the Centre had generously supported Kerala sounded like the Americans' claim in the past that they had been providing food items for schoolchildren in India, he said.

“It was part of the federal system that part of the taxes collected from the States was devolved on them. It was by glossing over this principle that the Prime Minister was making such claims at meetings,” he said.

‘PM silent on corruption'

While some United Progressive Alliance (UPA) partners indulged in corruption, Dr. Singh was saying he was helpless, he said. It was on account of the “massive” corruption under the UPA rule that Gandhian Anna Hazare launched his campaign demanding an effective Lokpal Bill, he said.

Mr. Achuthanandan said Congress president Sonia Gandhi, who came to canvass for the UDF candidates, also used the opportunity to hurl charges at the LDF which were far from true.

Poser to Sonia

She had claimed that it was UPA's policies that stopped farmers' suicides in Kerala. Then how come Congress governments in Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra could not stop farmers' suicides in those States, he asked.

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