New Delhi, Apr 29 (PTI) Virtually sounding the poll bugle for the next Lok Sabha elections, Congress president Rahul Gandhi today claimed his party would win the polls in Karnataka and other states and will return to power at the Centre in 2019.
At his first public rally in the national capital after taking over as the party chief, he said the Congress was like the water required to build the country’s edifice and described party workers as “sher ke bachche” (lions cubs), who sacrificed their lives for truth and not for “satta” (power).
In his over half -an-hour address, Gandhi launched an all-out attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi on issues of law and order, ‘double standards” on corruption, “messing up” of the economy, “undermining” democratic institutions and “failing” to provide safety to women.
He said while the country believed in a religion that was based on truth in everything, one did “not find truth” in Modi’s speeches.
“Elections are round the corner. In 2014, the BJP and the RSS spread lies against our government. Modi ji spread lies and spoke against our government, the Congress party and its leaders.
“The truth is now coming out and the people are seeing the truth about Narendra Modi and the strength of the Congress and its workers is being revealed,” he said the ‘Jan Aakrosh’ rally at Ramlila Maidan.
The Congress chief said, “The strength of the Congress workers was evident in Gujarat …I can tell you here that the Congress party will win Karnataka, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh and it will win the 2019 elections, an aggressive Gandhi said.
“The Congress workers, who are fighting like ‘sher ka bachche’, are ‘satya ka sipahi’ (soldiers of truth). You beat or kill them, they will not leave the truth….
“In every state, the Congress workers gave away their lives for truth and not power,” he said, referring to the killing of Congress workers in Punjab, Assam and other states.
He said India is a country that believes in a religion whose faith is truth, he accused the BJP of being soaked in “falsehoods”.
Accusing Modi of “lying” for “not fulfilling” his promises, Gandhi wondered what kind of a prime minister he was and alleged that the people have to find truth in his speeches.
“This country is like a building and no building can come up without water. The Congress party is the water of India’s edifice, it is the love and if you want to uplift this country and take it forward, then what is required is love and not hatred, that is spread by the BJP and the RSS.
“The Congress workers across the country spread love and brotherhood…and this is what the Congress has done in the last 70 years. We have united the country, given protection to women, minorities, Dalits and tribals,” he said.
Attacking Modi on corruption, Gandhi said in Karnataka, the prime minister sits on stage with BJP’s chief ministerial candidate B S Yeddyurappa who was jailed for corruption and added that the money of Indians has gone into Nirav Modi’s pockets, who has since fled the country and evaded justice.
Gandhi also took on Modi for his “silence” on farmers’ distress and the crisis in the higher judiciary that has never happened in the past 70 years.
The Congress chief said the prime minister had promises giving two lakh jobs and the people trusted him, but after four years of the NDA rule, there was widespread unemployment.
Modi has given demonetisation and ‘Gabbar Singh Tax’ (GST) to the people which have broken the back of the informal sector, he said.
Hitting out at Modi for “takeover” of institutions by the RSS, Gandhi alleged that the RSS is slowly destroying them from within, while “Modi ji watches silently”.
The Congress chief also criticised the prime minister for his “silence” on crimes against women and alleged that while Modi gave the slogan ‘Beti Bachao Beti Padhao’, members of his own party assaulted women.
He said Modi went to China “without an agenda” and alleged that while China deployed its military in Dokalam, he held a “no-agenda” meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping.
“Modi ji did not publicly speak a single word on Dokalam during his visit to China. What kind of prime minister is he,” Gandhi asked.
Gandhi also sought to compare the performance of the state governments led by his party with that of the Modi dispensation.
He alleged that farmers were under stress, but their loans were not written off by the government, which “waived” of debts of corporate houses.