Congress president Rahul Gandhi continued his attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Bharatiya Janata Party-led NDA government at the Centre on Wednesday.
Addressing reporters in Mumbai, the 47-year-old spoke on topics ranging from the reliability of the Mahagathbandhan to the Goods & Services Tax (GST).
“The Mahagathbandhan is a sentiment of the nation. This entire opposition is uniting against the PM, the BJP and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS),” said Gandhi.
“This sentiment is not just among politicians but also among the people, who are concerned about the relentless attacks on the Constitution and institutions by the PM and the BJP,” Gandhi said, adding that the Congress and other members of the grand alliance were trying to bring all such voices on the same platform.
A day after accusing the PM of insulting his “mentor” and senior BJP leader LK Advani, Gandhi took the Modi government to task for “ignoring the plight of farmers and serving only the richest”.
“The main issue is that the government works only for the rich of this country. Lakhs of crores of their debt has been waived,” he alleged.
Gandhi also demanded to know why the prices of petrol and diesel in India have not gone down in spite of a fall in oil prices globally.
“The prices of petrol globally have come down from about $140 per barrel in former PM Manmohan Singh’s time to about $70 now but the common people are facing rising petrol and diesel prices,” he said alleging that the money is going into the pockets of the 15-20 richest people in India.
“We asked for inclusion of petrol and diesel in GST but PM Modi is not interested.
“He attacked small industries and businessmen and implemented the ‘Gabbar Singh Tax’,” said Gandhi using the Congress’ dubbing of the GST.
In Thane on Tuesday, Gandhi had accused the government of similar charges and said PM Modi “does not reply to my questions on petrol price hike, inflation and joblessness”.
“Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi ran away with Rs 35,000 crore, Vijay Mallya took off with Rs 9,000 crore and even Lalit Modi decamped… But he says nothing… He will also run away,” Gandhi said, addressing a massive meeting of the party’s booth-level workers in suburban Goregaon in the evening.
“Unki awaaz me ek ghabraahat hai (There is fear in his voice)… The Prime Minister runs the country through ‘bhaashans‘ (speeches) only… But I am not scared as I am a soldier of truth,” Gandhi said amid spontaneous rounds of claps punctuating his speech.
Read More: Rahul Gandhi targets PM Modi in Maharashtra
Gandhi arrived in Maharashtra for hearing in a defamation case at a Bhiwandi Court here.
Bhiwandi court judge AI Shaikh summoned Gandhi to the witness box and read out the charges against him, to which he pleaded not guilty.
The defamation case was filed by Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) activist Rajesh Kunte who objected to Gandhi’s utterances at an election rally in March 2014 wherein he blamed the RSS for the killing of Mahatma Gandhi.
The matter will come up for further hearing on 10 August.
(With inputs from agencies.)