Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday tore into Narendra Modi's 'toffee model' development of Gujarat saying it was nothing but loot of public money.
"Gujarat model of development can be called toffee model or 'gubbara' (ballon) model, which is nothing but loot of public money to benefit big people like Tata and Adani," Gandhi told an election rally in minority-dominated Kisanganj.
In his 20-minute-long speech, Gandhi cited many instances to 'reveal the truth' of the Gujarat model of development and blamed BJP for selling the idea across the country with the aim to make Narendra Modi the next prime minister.
Elaborating his charge of 'toffee model' development by Modi, the Congress vice-president said he had given away 45,000 acres belonging to poor farmers and the size of Bihar's Purnea district to a single person (Adani) at a rate of rupee one per sq metre 'which is equivalent to the price of a toffee'.
He gave away the entire stretch of land at a paltry sum of Rs. 300 crore, Gandhi claimed adding prized land equivalent to the size of Mumbai and near the coast was given away to the same person for only Rs. 30 crore.
Modi had also provided Rs. 10,000 crore loan to Tata Motors for its Nano car project at 0.1% interest, while the common man get loan from banks at 12% interest.
"For every Nano car, the Gujarat government is providing Rs. 40,000 assistance," Gandhi said.
"The total budget of the Gujarat government on education, health and other welfare is less than Rs. 10,000 crore," he asserted.
Gandhi said contrary to the picture of Gujarat painted by BJP a whopping 40 lakh people of that state were below the poverty line and earned less than Rs. 11 per day.
"This means a person earning Rs. 12 a day is considered rich in Gujarat," he said adding about 40% of Gujarat's population does not have the facility of potable water.
"Hindustan ko ullu banana bandh karo," (stop fooling the people of the country), he said adding one model of development cannot be applicable everywhere.
"Bihar me Bihar model chalega (Bihar model of development will function in Bihar)," he said amidst applause from the audience.
"He claims to know everything. According to him nobody else contributed in the development of Gujarat except him and now he will say the same about the entire country," Gandhi said ridiculing the BJP prime ministerial candidate.
This was second election meeting of Rahul Gandhi in Bihar. He had addressed the first one at Aurangabad on April 1.
Wednesday's rally was in support of Congress candidate Maulana Asrarul Haque, who is seeking re-election from Kisanganj.
Continuing his criticism on the issue, Rahul said land valued crores of rupees was sold to Adani for a song.
"Similarly, sea shoreline equivalent to that of Mumbai, was handed over to a party for just Rs. 33 crore. A massive loan of Rs. 10,000 crore was advanced to Tata Nano company at a nominal interest of point one percent," he said.
He claimed that one in two children in Gujarat suffered from hunger and about 40 lakh families remained below-poverty line.
"In the 2004 Lok Sabha elections, the then BJP government launched the 'India Shining' campaign while ignoring the poor and the outcome of the polls saw them crestfallen," Rahul said.
Questioning internal democracy of the BJP, he said "Earlier, there used to be discussion and debate within the party when leaders like Vajpayee, Advani and Jaswant Singh were at the helm. Now, only one individual (Modi) makes all the decisions."
Rahul said Nathuram Godse killed Mahatma Gandhi because he could not defeat the thoughts and ideology of the father of the nation.
"The Congress represents the ideology of love and brotherhood, while Godse stands for hatred and anger," he said adding that "whenever there is a clash between these two ideologies, it is the Congress that ultimately wins".
The Congress vice-president took a jibe at the BJP saying it had "copied" the Congress manifesto.
"All that they have done is to just replace the 'hand' with 'lotus' in their manifesto copied from ours," he claimed.
Rahul said his party was committed to assurances given to people in the manifesto including that of free medical care, guaranteed pension and a strong roof to the housing of economically weak sections.
Noting that Congress and NCP were fighting the polls jointly in Maharashtra, he said the workers should ensure victory of the candidates of both the allies and made a specific mentions of NCP nominee from Baramati Supriya Sule, (NCP chief Sharad Pawar's daughter), as well as Rahul Narvekar, who has recently joined NCP defecting from Shiv Sena to contest the Maval Lok Sabha seat in the district.
Those present at the meeting included Maharashtra chief minister Prithviraj Chavan, who appealed to people to defeat the "fascist" tendencies and preserve the country's democratic traditions.