Launching a massive family front against Narendra Modi, Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra attacked the BJP prime ministerial nominee in three states on Saturday.
Addressing a rally in Punjab’s Barnala district, the Congress president tore into the Gujarat model, saying, “God save this country from this sort of model.”
“These days, Modi is hard-selling the Gujarat development model as Modi model… you know what is happening in Gujarat? Sikhs farmers, who settled there 50 years ago, are being forcibly evicted from their lands, a large population is without drinking water, every second child is malnourished,” she said.
“People earning more than Rs. 11 are not considered for BPL benefits while 45,000 acres of prime land is given to a single businessman at a throwaway price. If this is the Gujarat model, then I say God save the country from this sort of model.”
Turing on the BJP’s ally in Punjab, the Shiromani Akali Dal, and its leader Parkash Singh Badal, she added, “Yeh Badal sahib garajna jaante hain, barasna nahin (Badal only knows how to talk loudly, not to deliver).”
Later, she continued to criticize the BJP at a rally in her own constituency, Rae Bareli in UP.
In Gujarat’s Amreli, Rahul kept up the attack on Modi’s “partnership” with billionaire industrialist Gautam Adani: “Senior (BJP) leaders like LK Advani, Jaswant Singh, Yashwant Sinha and Sushma Swaraj have been sidelined for this partnership. Adani is now funding Modi's campaign to return the favours he got from the government.”
To the crowd, he said, “Modi has given Adani a contract of Rs. 26,000 crore for buying electricity from his company, which you use. He has given him another Rs. 10,000 crore by way of cheap land, your land. The company whose value was Rs. 3,000 crore now stands at Rs. 40,000 crore.”
The Congress vice-president — who will address three rallies in Gujarat ahead of polling day on April 30 — also criticised the CM for “taking credit for every success of the people of Gujarat”. He said, “The voice that comes from here is me, me, me, me. Modi said he provided milk to the country but I want to ask, is it Modi or the women of Gujarat who provided milk to the country through the Amul model?”
Bringing up the Snoopgate scandal, he said, “Modi used the entire state machinery to tap the phone of a young woman”.
Meanwhile, in Rahul’s constituency of Amethi in UP, Priyanka asked the people to stand by the Gandhis and not vote for an “outsider”. Singling out her brother’s rival Smriti Irani of the BJP without naming her, she said, “She contested the election from Delhi’s Chandni Chowk area (2004). But did she go back there?”
Irani hit back, “Priyanka should tell us how many times her brother visited Amethi in the last 10 years. She should also compare my work in Parliament in the last two-and-a-half years with Rahul’s.”
On the first day of her campaign in Amethi, Priyanka also invoked her late father Rajiv Gandhi: “I used to come here with my father. He was your MP. Those targeting Rahul now used to make fun of Rajiv Gandhi too. Now, people know how his schemes have benefited the people (telecom revolution, IT revolution). Rahul is also a visionary.”
“This is our family and the work place of my father. We have close relations with the people here. I have made more friends here than anywhere else in India,” she said, adding, “What will other candidates do here? At the most, they will spend their MP Local Area Development Fund.”
Full coverage: My India My Vote