Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi launched a scathing attack on the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Sunday, saying the BJP can create communal divide for the sake of power and it does not have the vision to rule the country.
"They (BJP) practise politics of blood. They don't see anything but power... power at any cost. They can pit communities and castes against each other... they won't hesitate in spilling blood if they find it necessary to usurp power," he said, addressing a rally in Uttarakhand's capital Dehradun.
Gandhi also turned the heat on the saffron party's prime ministerial candidate, Narendra Modi, for his "bhashan (lectures)" on development and corruption.
"I talk about development, and not about my achievements," Gandhi said, taking a dig at Gujarat chief minister Modi.
While addressing rallies across the country in the run-up to the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, Modi showcases Gujarat's progress to reach out to voters.
"If he (Modi) goes amidst the people of Gujarat, he will realise the tribals, women and dalits, among others, have contributed towards the development there," Gandhi said. He, however, did not name Modi in his 45-minute speech.
Hitting back at Modi's corruption barb at the Congress, Gandhi said the BJP's PM nominee had appointed a Lokayukta in Gujarat only after judicial intervention.
"There is still one man in Gujarat who does not come under Lokayukta. All others are under it, but not that man," he said, apparently referring to Modi.
The Congress vice-president also accused the BJP of stalling anti-graft bills in Parliament — a day after BJP leaders Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley mocked his "posturing" on the legislations.
Reiterating the claims made in his recent speeches, Gandhi added the BJP had turned a blind eye to corruption in states such as Karnataka (under BS Yeddyurappa's rule), Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Gujarat.
Asserting that the Congress was committed to the fight against corruption, he said the party had paved way for Right to Information and lokpal.
Gandhi added the BJP was making false promises ahead of the key general elections. "They (BJP leaders) have only one motto: Congress ko mita dijiye (wipe out the Congress)."
Listing out the achievements of the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government, Gandhi said the Centre had embarked on an ambitious project to build a nationwide "manufacturing corridor", which would pass through Uttarakhand.
He also tried to woo voters by underlining that the government had raised the cap on subsidised LPG from nine to 12. "I went to (Prime Minister) Manmohan Singhji and Soniaji (Congress president Sonia Gandhi) and told them people are facing problems due to the LPG cap."
In a virtual directive, the Congress vice-president at a party meeting in January had asked the government to raise the annual cap to 12.
Gandhi advocated the need for women's empowerment for development. He spelt out his vision for politics, saying, "Anger and arrogance have no place in politics... Politics should rid people of pain."
At the rally in Uttarakhand, a state which has seen a change of guard recently, Gandhi put emphasis on unity. People of every religion helped each other and worked together during the June disaster, he said. Hundreds, including pilgrims, had died last year after cataclysmic rains wreaked havoc on the state.
"The chief minister (Harish Rawat) has told me he is working 18 hours a day for the development of Uttarakhand. I will request him to work for 20 hours," Gandhi added.
Rawat on February 1 had replaced Vijay Bahuguna as the chief minister of the hill state, which sends five members to the Lok Sabha.
With agency inputs