NEW DELHI, March 11 (AGENCIES): The choice is between Mahatma Gandhi’s India and Nathuram Godse’s India with love on one hand and hate on the other, Congress president Rahul Gandhi told his party’s booth workers here on Monday, a day after the Lok Sabha polls were announced. In an all-out attack against Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Gandhi flayed him on a host of issues such as the Rafale deal, Doklam, employment generation, national security and the alleged agrarian distress.
“You have to decide, you want Gandhi’s India or Godse’s India. On one hand, there is love, brotherhood, on the other is hate, fear. Gandhiji was fearless, stayed in jail for years, but spoke with the British with love, while (Veer) Savarkar wrote letters to the British apologising and asking to be let off,” he said. Hitting out at the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on the issue of national security, the Congress chief said 40 CRPF personnel were killed in the February 14 Pulwama terror attack carried out by the Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM), whose chief Masood Azhar was released from jail by the saffron party.
“These people with 56-inch chests, you would recall, in their previous government, the current National Security Advisor, Ajit Doval, went in an aircraft with Masood Azharji and handed over Masood Azhar in Kandahar,” he said sarcastically. “Two of our prime ministers were martyred. We don’t bow before anyone,” he added.
Azhar, along with two other terrorists, Mushtaq Ahmed Zargar and Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh, was released from jail in 1999 by the then BJP-led NDA government headed by Atal Bihari Vajpayee in exchange for the passengers held hostage on board the IC 814 flight, which was hijacked to Kandahar in Afghanistan.
The BJP latched on to Gandhi’s reference to the JeM chief as “Masood Azharji” to hurl a “Rahul loves terrorists” barb at the Congress president. The opposition party hit back, accusing the saffron party of deliberately twisting Gandhi’s comments, which it claimed were made sarcastically. Gandhi also slammed Modi over the Rafale fighter jets deal, saying five years ago, the “chowkidar” (watchman) had come to power and said he had a “56-inch chest” and would fight corruption.
“People earlier used to say, ‘acche din ayenge’…now you just say ‘chowkidar’ and everyone else says ‘chor hai’ — this is due to the Congress,” he said. The prime minister spoke for an hour-and-a-half in Parliament, but could not answer four questions on Rafale fighter jets, he added.
“He talked about the Congress, Rajiv Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru and Indira Gandhi, but did not utter Anil Ambani’s name,” Gandhi said in a reference to the allegation that the industrialist was favoured in the Rafale deal.
The Congress chief said Modi kept talking about Make in India, but his shirts, shoes and phone, with which he took selfies, were made in China. He also asserted that the Congress would come to power in the upcoming general election and fix a minimum income for all the citizens of the country. Rattled by the Congress’s announcement of minimum income guarantee, Modi had announced Rs 3.5 a day for farmers, Gandhi claimed.
The Congress waived farm loans within two days of coming to power in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh, he said. Taking on the prime minister over his China policy, Gandhi claimed that the Chinese prime minister gave a “clear message to the PM that I know you, you are a weak person, I will send the Chinese army to Doklam and you cannot do anything”.
Modi bowed before China and offered a truce, he claimed. “Narendra Modi backs off when someone stands up to him,” the Congress chief said.
In Delhi, shops were sealed and both the BJP and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) did nothing while the drive was on, he said, touching upon the issues in the national capital. Gandhi urged his party’s booth workers to work hard and win all the seven Lok Sabha seats in Delhi in the upcoming polls.