A combative Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi launched a full-blown personal attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi at a day-long convention of his party leaders and workers here on Wednesday. Gandhi did not even spare mediapersons, asking them to come out of fear and report “truth” about the effects of demonetization.
Congress President Sonia Gandhi’s absence at the convention signalled her slow withdrawal from public scene and that the party reins were now fully with her son. Senior party leaders said the convention – called Jan Vedna Sammelan – was a precursor to the transition of power in the 130-year-old party. Party insiders said since the BJP has been ‘over focusing’ on the brand Modi, the party has also revised its strategy by hitting him personally. The party under Sonia Gandhi used to desist from launching personal attackson rival politicians. Some party leaders were even reprimanded for doing so in the past.
Gandhi spoke twice at the conclave. He accused the PM of creating fear in the minds of the people. “We are quite the opposite. We in fact, protect the people and encourage them to be fearless,” he added.
Gandhi said Modi was simply dreaming when he thought he could make India a cashless economy.
“Congress workers must go to villages and tell the people how BJP and RSS are destroying the country by spreading fear and hatred,” he said, adding, “BJP thinks that they can rule this country with fear and hatred, but we will defeat defeat their ideas and philosophy,” he said.
Gandhi also said the PM’s claim that demonetization would end corruption proved to be wrong as new cases of bribery with the use of new currency notes came to light during the 50-day period. “How many corrupt were spotted in the ATM lines? They were all using thebackdoor to access banks,” he said.
Earlier in the day, Gandhi alleged that after demonetization, PM Modi was hiding behind “home-made economists” such as Baba Ramdev and Mohan Bhagwat.
He said Modi conducted a surgical strike on the poor, the farmer and the middle class without consulting the Reserve Bank of India. The entire institution of RBI was ‘destroyed’in a matter of hours.
He claimed that the government resorted to demonetization just to address the issue ofbad loans worth Rs 8 lakh crore. “The poor man’s money will go into the pockets of these people – gareebo ka paisa kheencho, Ameero ko seecho,” he said.