At opposition's show of strength, Rahul vows to 'drive out BJP'
New Delhi : Targeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi over his silence on rising fuel prices, tumbling rupee and agrarian distress, Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Monday said a united opposition would drive out the BJP in the next general elections.
Spearheading the 'Bharat Bandh' in the national capital, Gandhi said the country was "fed up" with Modi's speeches and wanted to hear him on burning issues concerning the common man "but the Prime Minister continues to be mute".
In a sarcastic remark, Gandhi said Modi had kept his 2014 election promise of making India something it had not been in the last 70 years as the economy, farm crisis, crony capitalism and rampant corruption were never as bad as as it was since Modi took power four years ago.
"The rupee has never been so weak in 70 years, petrol today is over Rs 80 while diesel is touching Rs 80. Modi while in opposition used to clamour about price rise but today he is silent. Cooking gas price has doubled to Rs 800, but Modi doesn't utter a word. Farmers are committing suicide but Modi is silent. BJP MLAs are found involved in rape but Modi says nothing.
"When questions are raised in Parliament about the Rafale (jet) deal, the Prime Minister is unable to give answers.
"The Prime Minister goes on giving speeches. Now the country has grown tired. He says nothing about what the country wants to hear, what the youth want to hear."
The shutdown called by the Congress and Left parties against rising fuel prices saw representatives from Janata Dal-Secular, Trinamool Congress, Rashtriya Janata Dal, Nationalist Congress Party, Loktantrik Janata Dal (LJD), Rashtriya Lok Dal, All India United Democratic Front, Revolutionary Socialist Party and Aam Aadmi Party joining the protest march in Delhi.
Gandhi spoke at the Ramlila Maidan in the heart of the capital after thousands of opposition activists and leaders, the Congress President included, reached there walking from Rajghat shouting anti-government slogans.
Gandhi also attacked Modi over demonetization and GST and accused him of creating a rift between Indians on caste and communal lines.
"Modi used to say what has not been done in 70 years he will do in five years. And actually what he has done in four years never happened in 70 years," Gandhi said to laughter.
"Wherever you see, one Indian is fighting with another Indian, wherever Modi goes he gives birth to a fight... one religion with another, one caste with another, one state with another."
Gandhi said that while farmers, workers and small traders were losing hope, the biggest "15-20 crony capitalists" were enjoying all the perks.
"Farmers' debt cannot be waived but one industrialist can be given a gift of Rs 45,000 crore. India's youth should know that the money Modi has given to his industrialist friend does not belong to him. The Rs 45,000 crore belongs to the youth and farmers," he said, without naming any industrialist.
Pointing to how demonetisation destroyed the economy, farmers and small traders, Gandhi said Modi was yet to explain the country about the "real reason" behind the 2016 note ban.
With a host of prominent opposition leaders joining the protest, Gandhi exuded confidence of a united opposition uprooting the Bharatiya Janata Party in the next general elections.
"Today the entire opposition is here on the dais. It is a reflection of unity. The ideology is the same and we all together will defeat the BJP.
"The pain in the heart of our farmers, youth and the entire nation is also in the hearts of all the leaders here but it is not so in Modi's heart. We promise, we will together drive out the BJP."