Congress chief Rahul Gandhi today took on the Narendra Modi-led BJP government at a meet of the united opposition here, hitting out at the dispensation on the contentious Rafale deal and resolved to dislodge it.
He claimed while his party viewed the country as pure as Ganga river, where people amalgamate with each other, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) viewed it from the prism of ‘sone ki chidiya’ (golden bird) to make money out of it and favour their friends and crony capitalists.
“Today while they are busy in making that cage, we will try to stop them from making it,” he said.
He was speaking at the sixth edition of the ‘Sanjhi Virasat Bachao Sammelan’ (Save composite culture convention), a platform of more than 15 opposition parties.
The event today was attended by leaders from the major opposition parties such as the Left, RJD, JD-S, SP, DMK, RLD, NCP among others.
The forum was being piloted by estranged JDU leader Sharad Yadav to put up a united fight against the BJP-ruled government. Former prime minister Manmohan Singh also attended the event.
“For us where rain takes place, it becomes a river and everyone gets associated with it. For them (BJP) it is a sone ki chidiya,” he said.
Gandhi said they did not want a “BJP mukt Bharat” nor did they want to destroy the BJP but they wanted to tell them that “our ideology is stronger and we will defeat their ideology”.
“In the end, we will together remove the BJP from Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and then from the rest of the country,” Gandhi said.
The Congress chief, who has been quite vocal about the Rafale deal, targeted the government at the meet, alleging that jets worth Rs 524 crore were purchased at an inflated rate of Rs 1,600 crore.
Gandhi said he met the French president here during his visit, the president said there was no secrecy which binds the government from disclosing the prices of the jets to the people of the country.
He said when he raised this issue in Parliament during the no trust vote, the prime minister remained silent but spoke at length on “useless” issues.
Gandhi alleged during the Independence Day celebrations at the Red Fort yesterday he observed the PM point out to teachers after completing a sentence who would then ask the children to cheer and clap for the him. “This was a show, a drama,” he alleged.
He said while the government was busy benefiting “friends and industrialists”, it had least regard for the farmers.
CPI(M) leader Sitaram Yechury said the aim of the Sanjhi Virasat Bachao Sammelan was to save the democracy. The BJP-led government, he alleged, was misusing governance and had ruined the life of the common man with demonetisation and then with the implementation of the GST.
Referring to the prime minister’s Independence Day speech, he accused Modi of misleading the nation by announcing that the country would send a manned mission to space by 2022. Yechury reminded of Rakesh Sharma, the first Indian to go to space in 1984.
He also criticised the Modi for “failing” to speak against incidents of mob lynching and lamented that the accused in rape of minors are still at large. He accused the government of systematically muzzling the freedom of expression and imposing its ideology on educational institutes and other bodies.
JD(S) spokesperson Danish Ali alleged the BJP government was misleading the nation on issues and there was an attempt to disturb the communal harmony in the country.
Former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister and National Conference leader Farooq Abdullah attacked at the government saying, they would not tolerate any religious discrimination in the country. “Today the fight is to live in dignity,” he said.
Senior NCP leader Tariq Anwar claimed there was a sense of fear among the citizens in the country today and Modi’s slogan of ‘sab ka saath and sab ka vikas’ was a big “lie”.
Tiruchi Shiva (DMK) described Gandhi as the future of India and the light of secular India. He said certain mischievous elements had become “hyperactive” in the country and slammed attempts to divide it in the name of religion.
TMC leader Chan Mitra, who quit the BJP recently to join the Mamata Banerjee’s party, said he felt “bad” observing certain things in the BJP, claiming there was a sense of “disillusionment” in the society today.