MANDIDEEP: Congress supremo Rahul Gandhi on Friday accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of bringing shame to all the ‘chowkidars’ (watchmen) in India.
The Congress chief while addressing campaign rallies in Madhya Pradesh for the upcoming Assembly polls on November 28, said that whenever the word ‘chowkidar’ is mentioned, people relate it to “chor hai” (as a thief).
“Wherever you go, as you pronounce the word ‘chowkidar’ comes a reply “chor hai”. I want to apologize to the chowkidars of the country. It is not your mistake, you all are not the thieves, you all are honest. Only one person has brought ignominy to you. The country’s prime minister has defamed all its chowkidars,” Gandhi said.
Additionally, he said that the prime minister before coming into power in 2014 elections used to talk about combating corruption, unemployment and farmers’ welfare but now is silent on these issues.
When Modi gave the "acche din" (good days) slogan ahead of the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, people would respond to the catch-phrase, saying "aayenge" (will come), he said.
The promised "Acche Din" was not meant for the people but for some top industrialists, Gandhi said. Good days have come for industrialists like Nirav Modi, Anil Ambani and Vijay Mallya, he added.
Modi while campaigning for 2014 elections, he had told the public that he wanted to be the country's chowkidar and not the prime minister.
"People had then reposed faith in him. The youth were assured two crore jobs, farmers were assured minimum support price for their produce, entire India was assured that Rs 15 lakh would be deposited in the bank account of each citizen. People believed this then," Gandhi said.
"Why has this changed? In four years, people found that these (promises) were false. Narendra Modi speaks lies.
This is the sentiment in the country because he has broken the (people's) trust," Gandhi said.
A "Congress wave" would sweep Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Mizoram and Telangana, he said.
Pointing fingers at the BJP-led government, he said that the current government waived of Rs 3.5 lakh crore loans of the rich, but did not write off the debts of farmers, the Congress chief said.
The previous Congress-led UPA government, on the recommendation of the Indian Air Force, decided to purchase 126 Rafale fighters at a cost of Rs 526 crore per plane with the stipulation that the state-owned aerospace company Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) would make them in India, Gandhi said.
"But Modi went to France and conveyed to the French government that each Rafale jet will be purchased for Rs 1,600 crore. He told them to give the contract to (Anil) Ambani instead of giving it to HAL," Gandhi said.
The ruling party did not immediately react to any of the allegations brought forward by the Congress chief. BJP has dismissed these charges in the past.
The Congress president has asked his party members to stand at polling booths and not back off "even an inch" to convey a message to the BJP that people of Madhya Pradesh are now with the principal opposition party.
Gandhi, who faces a defamation suit for accusing the Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan's son was named in the 'Panama Papers', said, "I spoke mistakenly that Shivraj ji's son was named in Panama Papers, actually it was Chhattisgarh CM's son. Shivraj ji threatened me of filing a defamation suit."
"But when I talk about scams like e-tendering, Vyapam, illegal mining and mid-day meal scam, he (Shivraj) doesn't speak a word, he doesn't threaten to file defamation. What does it mean," he said.
Chouhan "stole" people's money in Vyapam, the entrance examination, admission and recruitment scam unearthed in Madhya Pradesh in 2013, he said.
With inputs from PTI