Ramadurga (Karnataka): Congress president Rahul Gandhi today accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of favouring the “super rich” and questioned why he had still not appointed a Lokpal to fight corruption.
Gandhi, who has been targeting Modi in all public rallies in poll-bound Karnataka, also quizzed Modi over his “silence” on issues such as the Punjab National Bank fraud.
“In Gujarat, Modi ji did not implement Lokayukta. It has been four years since he became prime minister… He did not implement Lokpal even in Delhi,” he said.
The Congress president said Modi, who had described himself as the country’s “chowkidar” (watchman), was silent on the fraud and the alleged increase in the turnover of a company owned by BJP president Amit Shah’s son, Jay Shah.
“The country’s chowkidar comes to Karnataka and speaks about corruption with his chief minister (former chief minister Yeddyurappa) who had been to jail on one side and on the other side four ministers who also went to jail during the BJP rule,” he said, addressing a rally here.
“Nudidante nade” (practice what you preach),” he urged Modi, quoting 12th-century social reformer Basaveshwara from Karnataka.
Gandhi, who is on the second leg of his three-day tour of the northern parts of Karnataka, said, “Modiji… nudidante nade. The country has not made you prime minister just to give speeches.”
Gandhi said diamantaire Nirav Modi had taken away crores of rupees “belonging to” India’s poor.
“Nirav Modi took away Rs 22,000 crore belonging to India’s farmers, labourers and the poor, but our chowkidar does not utter a word,” he said.
In his first remarks on the Rs 11,400-crore fraud in India’s second-biggest PSU bank, Prime Minister Modi had on Friday warned of strict action against those involved in financial irregularities and said the loot of public money would not be tolerated.
Attacking the prime minister on GST, which the Congress president has been calling “Gabbar Singh Tax”, Gandhi said whatever was in the common man’s pocket had been taken away, lakhs of businesses shut and lakhs of people had suffered losses.
“But one person runs a magical new business… Amit Shah’s son Jay Shah within three months converts Rs 50,000 to Rs 80 crore, but the chowkidar does not utter a word,” he alleged.
The BJP chief has rejected allegations of corruption against his son, who has filed a criminal defamation suit against a news portal which claimed his business fortunes had zoomed after the BJP came to power in 2014.
Hitting out at the prime minister over issues such as employment generation and for not announcing loan waivers for farmers, Gandhi said, “Modji… learn a bit from (Karnataka Chief Minister) Siddaramaiah.”
“Whatever you do, you do it for people like Nirav Modi. You give thousands of crores money to super-rich people in the country; while in Karnataka we give seven kg rice at free of cost to the poor,” he said.
Alleging that money power, marketing, television and the media were on the side of the BJP, Gandhi said despite all these, the Congress would win the Assembly polls in Karnataka because the party had the “strength of the poor and weaker sections”.
“Whether they like it or not, Siddaramaiah and I, along with the Congress party, will work for weaker sections, the poor. We will take everyone together for the progress of Karnataka,” he said.
State Assembly polls are expected to be held in April/May.