Calling it 'politics of revenge', Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi on Thursday attacked Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Lok Sabha over the reported scrapping of a mega food park in his constituency Amethi.
Gandhi said the cancellation of the project would affect farmers in ten districts of Uttar Pradesh by denying them of the opportunity to sell their produce directly.
Raising the issue during Zero Hour, Gandhi said he initially liked Modi's promise in Amethi during the poll campaign that he would not let political differences affect development.
"The PM visited the area during elections and said he believes in politics of development and not politics of revenge. I was impressed then. But the closure of food park is not politics of development," he said.
Home Minister Rajnath Singh assured Gandhi that he would look into the matter and inform him, adding that the Centre believed in taking all parties along for the country's development.
"As far as I know, it was the company behind the mega food park which pulled out," he said.
Singh insisted that he has a better knowledge of the injustice to farmers since he was born into an agrarian family.
BJP members often interrupted Rahul as he highlighted how he worked to have the food park project allotted to Amethi after farmers raised the issue with him.
"They asked me what is this magic that they sell potato for Rs 2 per kg but a packet of chips having not more than one potato's content sells for Rs 10. They said if they could sell potatoes directly to factories, then they would benefit more," the Congress leader said.
Gandhi also retorted to the disruptions saying, "I am not talking about a suit but about potato," in an obvious reference to his earlier 'suit-boot ki sarkar' jibe at the Modi government.
Hours later, however, the BJP fielded HRD minister Smriti Irani— who had taken on Gandhi in the Lok Sabha election— to rebut the Congress lawmaker’s charges, and food processing industries minister Harsimrat Badal wrote a letter to Singh, criticising the opposition leader.
Badal said the petroleum ministry denied the supply of gas at a concessional rate during UPA rule in 2013 which made the project infeasible for the promoter.
“If Shri Rahul Gandhi was as serious about this Mega Food Park (during the UPA regime to get concessional gas) as he is today, this Mega Food Park would have been completed by now,” Badal said in a letter, reporting the status of the food park to the home minister later in the evening.
Irani also took potshots at Gandhi. “Eight extensions were sought for the project as it was not considered viable. But did the MP take even eight steps to make the project a reality,” she said without naming him.
The three-time Amethi MP launched his attack on Modi in Parliament by recalling the Prime Minister’s “52-minute speech in Amethi” while campaigning for the Lok Sabha polls.
“I was impressed when he said he would deliver politics and policies guided by badlaav, not badlaa (change, not vendetta),” Gandhi said, stressing that Modi had gone back on his word.
Amethi Food Park scrapped: Rahul Gandhi says PM Modi practising 'politics of revenge'