Mounting an assault on BJP, Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Thursday accused the party of double standard and slammed it for seeking votes by selling dreams that the Narendra Modi-led government would not be able to fulfill.
Gandhi was addressing her first rally for the upcoming Maharashtra polls in Kolhapur.
She also said BJP and Shiv Sena might have parted ways but in reality they are one.
"Their aim is to spread hatred in society. These people wear different masks whenever they approach you. They speak differently before and after the polls," she said while addressing a poll rally at this pilgrimage town in western Maharashtra. She further cautioned the public to not to fall prey to the evil designs of the BJP.
"Opportunist parties like BJP and Shiv Sena can do anything for power," she added. She said the Modi government was carrying forward schemes of the erstwhile UPA government despite BJP having ridiculed them earlier.
"They ridiculed schemes of Congress government but are going ahead with the same schemes," she said.
"They are taking credit for things our government have done in the past, for our scientists' work. They are changing the names of the schemes we launched. The Congress kept the country's flag flying high in the past 60 years," she said.
Without naming Modi, who, on Thursday, also addressed a rally in Sharad Pawar's fiefdom Baramati, Gandhi said the BJP's old rhetoric of taking Maharashtra ahead of Gujarat was misleading.
"They (the BJP) don't know Maharashtra is already ahead of Gujarat in almost all sectors. They have planned to take many institutions in Maharashtra to Gujarat," she said.
She added that the BJP showed people dreams and made big promises, but when asked about fulfilling them they get offended.
"When polls come, they (BJP) say big things but their reality is different. During Lok Sabha polls, they made tall promises. What happened to their promise of reducing inflation in 100 days? What happened?" she asked.
She also questioned the Modi government over its handling of escalating ceasefire violations by Pakistan which have resulted in civilian casualties notwithstanding government's claim that it was responding tit-for-tat to the aggression.
"They get worried when we ask them what they did for stopping Pakistan (cross-border activities). They had spoken of giving a befitting reply to Pakistan. What happened?" she asked.
"The BJP government says that Congress did nothing in 60 years. Then why do they get angry when we ask them about their performance of 60 days. I ask you, why do you have apprehension in giving the account," she said.
"They feel bad when we ask them about the promises made to bring back the black money in 100 days of power," Gandhi said.
The Congress leader also slammed Modi for invoking Maratha king Shivaji at his election rallies.
"They invoke Shivaji Maharaj during election but when our government planned a grand statue of Shivaji in the Arabian Sea, they opposed it. And now they are using Chhatrapati's name for seeking votes," she said.
The Maratha king's descendants had their seat of power in Kolhapur and still command respect from the people of this region.
Gandhi targeted the Shiv Sena as well. "We have seen the BJP and Sena together in the government. They would extort (money) then. There was fear and security when these two parties were in power. The parties that divide people in the name of caste and religions don't have any place here," she said.
She also cautioned the people against the NCP, a former ally of Congress in the state. "Beware of the party which was with us. Beware of opportunists parties like the BJP and Sena because they are no different from each other."
Sonia said Maharashtra had progressed under Congress which fought for women, farmers and the backward classes. "We made laws to empower them. In future too, we are committed to progress for all," she said.
Former Maharashtra chief minister Prithviraj Chavan was also present at the rally.
Gandhi's campaign in Kolhapur is politically significant because this region in western Maharashtra is epicenter of political warfare. The BJP got PM Narendra Modi to campaign in the region last week and the Nationalist Congress Party has pulled all strings to maintain its stronghold in Kolhapur. The Shiv Sena has upped its ante in a four-way fight in this sugar belt.
(With PTI inputs)