Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi began the second leg of his Deoria to Delhi Kisan Yatra on Monday with an attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and the chiefs of the Samajwadi Party (SP) and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP).
Kicking off the Kisan Yatra from Bithauli crossing on the outskirts of Lucknow, Rahul said: “Only Congress has the ability to confront the BJP. Neither Samajwadi Party nor BSP has the ability to even stand up to the BJP’s challenge”.
“Prime Minister Narendra Modi has the keys to control Samajwadi Party and the BSP. And this key is the CBI,” he explained. “Narendra Modi is defending chor (thieves) like Samajwadi Party and the BSP so as to ensure that these parties do not confront the BJP in Parliament.”
Addressing the public at Mahmudabad Chowk, Sidhauli, in Sitapur district, Rahul alleged that Modi had such control over the SP chief that the latter doesn’t even raise questions in Parliament.
“In the past four and a half years, the Samajwadi Party has done nothing. Now, when the cycle’s (party symbol of SP) tyres are punctured, Mulayam Singh Yadav is chiding Akhilesh (CM Akhilesh Yadav),” Rahul said, referring the ongoing Yadav family feud in Uttar Pradesh.
The Congress heir apparent also took a jibe at BSP chief Mayawati, saying “the elephant (BSP’s party symbol) gobbled everything and just went away”.
The Prime Minister also was targeted for his now-famous radio show, Mann Ki Baat, and the Clean India Campaign.
“Modi ji interacts with farmers on his ‘Maan ki Baat’ and wants to interact with them through the internet. But he never interacts with them face-to-face,” Rahul said, addressing a large gathering at Kazi Kamalpur in Sitapur district.
“(The PM) should come down to villages in Uttar Pradesh to get first-hand information about sufferings of farmers,” he added.
The PM’s much-touted Swachh Bharat Abhiyan was also called out for its alleged failures.
“Modi ji has given a slogan ‘Swachh Bharat abhiyan’. But he has done nothing except promoting his slogan,” said Rahul. “How many cities in the country have been cleaned?”
The Congress vice-president dubbed PM Modi as a “selfie-taking machine”. “Modi ji is very fond of taking selfies. Have you elected a PM or a selfie-taking machine,” he asked.
Promising the farmers in attendance that the Congress would waive their loans within 10 days of being elected in Uttar Pradesh, Rahul said the BJP-led government had “waived Rs 1,10,000 lakh crore loans of his 15 industrialist friends” but neither the PM nor senior leaders such as Sushma Swaraj, Arun Jaitley or Rajnath Singh ever talked about it.
He claimed that the Congress had waived Rs 70,000 crore loans of farmers during its tenure at the Centre and openly talked about it.