Expressing support for Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu’s daylong fast, Congress chief Rahul Gandhi on Monday alleged that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had stolen from the people of the state and given the money to industrialist Anil Ambani.
The TDP president’s fast, demanding that the Centre fulfil promises made during Andhra Pradesh’s bifurcation in 2014 and alleging that the prime minister was not following ‘raj dharma’ by denying the state special status, became a rallying point for various opposition leaders who gathered at the venue to back him.
“The prime minister has stolen from the people from Andhra Pradesh and he has given that money to Anil Ambani. That is the fact of the matter,” Gandhi said at Andhra Bhavan in an apparent reference to the Rafale fighter jet deal with France.
The government and Ambani have rejected Gandhi’s allegations of corruption in the deal.
“Mr Narendra Modi, wherever he goes, he goes to Andhra Pradesh, he lies about special status. He goes to the North-East, he tells another lie over there. He goes to Maharashtra and he tells another lie over there. He has got absolutely no credibility left,” Gandhi said.
In just a couple of months, opposition parties will show Modi exactly what the sentiment in the country is, he said.
“I want to let you know that we are all standing together. We are going to defeat the BJP…,” he added.
Gandhi also referred to a report in The Hindu, claiming that critical provisions for anti-corruption penalties and making payments through an escrow account were dropped days before the signing of the inter-governmental agreement (IGA) between India and France in 2016 on Rs 59,000 crore Rafale deal.
The report, he said, clearly shows that the anti-corruption clause was removed by Narendra Modi.
“So it is clear that prime minister has stolen in this Rafale matter,” he alleged.
On Monday morning, Naidu said in his speech,”If you won’t fulfil our demands, we know how to get them fulfilled. This is about self respect of people of Andhra Pradesh.”
“Whenever there is an attack on our self-respect,we won’t tolerate it. I am warning this government and particularly the PM to stop attacking an individual,” he added.
Various opposition leaders, including Farooq Abdullah of the Jammu and Kashmir National Conference, NCP’s Rajya Sabha member Majeed Memon, Trinamool Congress’ Derek O’ Brien and Samajwadi Party founder Mulayam Singh Yadav, visited Naidu.
Apart from Gandhi, Congress leaders Anand Sharma and Ahmed Patel also visited Naidu.