By constantly blaming the Congress for problems in the country Prime Minister Narendra Modi is steering the nation with his eyes on the rearview mirror and is not looking at the future, Congress president Rahul Gandhi said in Karnataka’s Bellary district on Saturday. The Congress president launched the party’s campaign for the upcoming Karnataka Assembly polls from the Hyderabad-Karnataka region, where his party is considered to be on a strong footing, with a three-day tour, including public meetings and visits to religious centres.
Rahul told a gathering at Hospet, in Bellary, that “rearview driving” by PM has led to accidents such as demonetisation and poor implementation of GST. “Narendra Modi never spoke of the future when he spoke for an hour in Parliament recently. He never spoke of giving jobs to the youth, but spoke of what Congress did wrong in the past,” he said. “The country does not want to hear history. It wants to know what lies ahead.”
In comparison, Rahul said, Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah is steering the state while looking ahead. “You can steer the nation forward only by looking ahead,” he emphasised. The Congress is being cited as the excuse for all the shortcomings of the present government at the Centre, he maintained. Rahul said the key problems facing the country are lack of jobs and problems faced by farmers, tribals, scheduled castes and the urban poor. “You have to trust people who tell the truth and must not believe those who speak lies,” Rahul said, referring to a special status given to the Hyderabad-Karnataka region during the UPA regime.
“BJP leader Advani said (at the time) it could not be done. But we promised to do it — and where the region used to receive Rs 350 crore, it now receives Rs 4,000 crore,” Rahul said. Criticising Modi on the Rafale deal, Rahul said that the Prime Minister must provide answers on the purchase of the Rafale aircraft from a French company.
“We had given the contract to HAL, a public sector company making aircraft for 70 years. If Bangalore is standing on its own legs today, then it is HAL that has contributed to the city’s development. Modi snatched the contract from Karnataka and gave it to his rich friend,” Rahul claimed.
“Why did you snatch the contract and give it to your friend? Why did you kill the future of the youth of Bangalore,” he asked. The BJP government must clarify whether the defence minister and the cabinet committee on security cleared the Rafale deal, he said. More than 70,000 people from the Bellary, Raichur and Chitradurga region attended the Hospet rally. Former BJP leaders from Bellary, Anand Singh and B Nagendra, who are now with Congress, were among the leaders who mobilised crowds.
Singh and Nagendra, who are being tried in several cases of illegal mining in Bellary for alleged acts during the BJP’s rule in the state between 2008-13 shared the stage with Congress leaders on Saturday, even as Siddaramaiah and Rahul accused the BJP government of 2008-13 of being the most corrupt.