Bharatiya Janata Party prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi on Wednesday was subjected to a three-pronged onslaught by three members of India's most powerful political family.
Addressing her maiden election rally in Tamil Nadu, Congress president Sonia Gandhi said Modi represented a "dangerous combination of religious fanaticism, power and money" and asked the country to reject the "ambition of that individual".
She said the BJP seeks to divide the country on communal lines and harmony is under threat from them.
"Their intention is to divide the country on communal line and communal harmony is under threat under them. The country cannot progress in such a situation," she said.
In an obvious reference to Modi, she said "one individual goes across the country and says that he will make India a paradise. You should reject the ambition of that individual."
She said "sacrifice' of leaders like Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi to safeguard the "idea of India, the idea of secularism and equal opportunities for all should not go in vain". Rahul: Adani gifted land the size of Mumbai for Rs. 300 cr
Stepping up his anti-Modi rhetoric, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi asked Gujarat chief minister to "stop fooling the people of the country", while dubbing his much-praised development model as nothing but "loot of public money".
Rahul again dubbed the Gujarat model of development as "toffee or balloon" model. Modi had on Tuesday hit back and called Rahul a "childish leader who talks of toffees and balloons".
"Gujarat model of development can be called toffee model or balloon model, which is nothing but loot of public money to benefit big people like Tata and Adani," Rahul said.
Rahul cited many instances to "expose" the Gujarat model of development and blamed BJP for selling the idea across the country with the aim of making Modi the next prime minister.
Elaborating what he meant by "toffee model" development, Rahul said Modi had given away 45,000 acres belonging to poor farmers and the size of Bihar's Purnia district to a single person (Adani) at a rate of Re 1 per sq metre, which is equivalent to the price of a toffee.
Modi gave away the entire stretch of land at a paltry sum of Rs.
300 crore, Rahul claimed, adding, prized land equivalent to the size of Mumbai and near the coast was given away to the same person for only Rs.
Modi had also provided Rs.
10,000 crore loan to Tata Motors for its Nano car project at 0.1 per cent interest, while the common man get loan from banks at 12 per cent interest, he said.
"For every Nano car, the Gujarat government is providing Rs.
40,000 assistance," Rahul said.
"The total budget of the Gujarat government on education, health and other welfare is less than Rs.
10,000 crore," he noted.
This was Rahul's second election meeting in Bihar. He had addressed the first one at Aurangabad on April 1. Today's rally was in support of Congress candidate Maulana Asrarul Haque, who is seeking re-election from Kisanganj. Modi practising ideology rooted in communalism: Priyanka
Priyanka Vadra meets women during election campaign for her mother and Congress President Sonia Gandhi in Raebareli on Wednesday. (PTI Photo)
In yet another sharp attack on Modi, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra said the Gujarat strongman and BJP were practising an "ideology rooted in communalism".
Kick-started the poll campaign in her mother Sonia's constituency, she said, "On the one hand there is an ideology of Congress which believes in unity...on the other hand, there is an ideology rooted in communalism."
"They might say anything but the internal truth is that their purpose is to propagate communalism and divide," Priyanka told a public meeting in Raahi village in Rae Bareli.
Taking a dig at Modi without naming him, she said the other ideology "believes power has to be centred amongst few selected persons".
She said those who believe in such an ideology say, "Listen to me, I will take all decisions. All capacities are within me and you should vote seeing this. You have to think whether power has to come to people or should it be centred in the hands of one person."