Amid the bitter war of words between the Congress and BJP, Rahul Gandhi on Monday accused Narendra Modi of being discourteous to his opponents, adopting double standards on corruption and favouring select industrialists.
Rahul said that the BJP prime ministerial candidate seeks to give an impression that development of Gujarat was his “personal” achievement and seems oblivious to the efforts of millions of people, including women who made the Amul brand a success.
“You listen to his speech (Mr. Modi), You listen to mine. You (Punjab) gave us a Prime Minister. You see his (PM) speeches during the last 10 years, Sonia’s (Gandhi) speeches, Congress leaders speeches, all talk with love and respect.
“Even if we talk about them (opponent), we talk with love and respect. We never use harsh words and angry tone. But wherever they (opponents) go, they cannot speak any good, nor they can do any good for others,” he said addressing a rally in favour of Congress candidate Manpreet Singh Badal.
Manpreet, estranged nephew of Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, is locked in a battle against his sister-in-law and sitting SAD MP Harsimrat Kaur Badal. Manpreet, who is heading Peoples’ Party of Punjab, is contesting the elections on the Congress symbol with CPI backing.
Keeping Mr. Modi at the centre of his attack, Rahul the BJP tries to portray as if nothing was happening in Gujarat for the last 60 years.
“Gujaratis built it (the state). Women of Gujarat gave Amul brand....Gujaratis and Punjabis are known for their hardwork...But (according to opponents) you did nothing. For the last 60 years, people of India did nothing,” Rahul said.
“Now Mr. Modi is coming and he says he will do everything, he has built Gujarat and now he says he will build country. He (Modi) boasts before thousands of people that I built Gujarat. He does not feel the need to ask anybody as if he has all the knowledge,” he said.
Hitting out at BJP, Rahul said they gave India shining slogan in 2004 without realising that a large section of people including farmers, labourers and other weaker sections were not benefited.
“Just two-three industrialists were benefited (under NDA regime) which they called India Shining. Big government-owned companies worth thousands of crore were gifted. Balco, a government-owned company was given to a friend of late Union Minister and BJP leader Pramod Mahajan,” Rahul alleged.
Several other government companies were also given away, he alleged.
Accusing Mr. Modi of doling out favours to select corporates, Rahul alleged that he handed over 45,000 ares of land to Adani group at a rate of Rs 1 per meter.
“45,000 acres of land was given to one businessman whereas the farmers whose land was acquired are now working under NREGA scheme. This kind of toffee is being sold to you (farmers),” he alleged.
Tearing apart Mr. Modi’s much-touted Gujarat model, he said financial benefit to the tune of Rs 26,000 crore as power waiver was given to an industrialist. A total benefit of Rs 35,000 crore was handed over to Adani, he alleged.
Referring to the financial benefit given to Mr. Adani, he said, “Take this, and enjoy.”
He also accused Mr. Modi of giving away Rs 10,000 crore of loan to Tata at a rate of 0.1 per cent for 25 years and said in contrast, the total budget allocation for education and health was just Rs 8,000 crore in Gujarat.
“There is one Nano company to whom they gave Rs. 10,000 crore of loan at a rate of 0.1 per cent for 25 years. It is Tata whereas farmers are getting loan at rate between 12 and 14 per cent,” he alleged.
However, he praised Tata for “doing good work.”
“I don’t say that you do not help them or other industrialists. I am saying why you are helping only one company,” he said.
Rahul said the Centre allocated Rs 30,000 crore per annum udner UPA’s flagship NREGA scheme. However, an amount equivalent to this scheme was doled out to Adani, he charged.
“Their only agenda is to see that only a limited number of people in this country should prosper whereas Congress wants inclusive and all round progress in which poor man’s son runs business, farmer’s child flies planes and leads a happy life”, he said.
“We want such a country where everyone dreams big and not only five or ten people including Adani,” he said.