Taking on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha, Mallikarjun Kharge, said on Monday that the “nation does not need bhashan but ration”. Kharge, who was recently appointed as the AICC Maharashtra incharge, was on a two-day visit to Mumbai, which ended on Monday. This was the second consecutive day when the Congress veteran launched a direct offensive against the PM.
On Sunday, he had attacked Modi’s constant questioning of Congress’ accomplishments. While labelling the Modi government as being “big on announcements but lacking implementation”, he had said: “Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been asking at every function about what the Congress has done for the country in the past 70 years. A chaiwala like him could become PM because we preserved democracy.”
While on Sunday he had interacted with state Congress office-bearers and district presidents before addressing a party workers’ meet, he interacted with the Mumbai unit leaders and workers on Monday. Through Kharge, the party’s high command sent out a clear message to warring leaders of the faction-ridden Mumbai and state Congress that they must fight unitedly for improving the party’s prospects.
On Monday, Kharge also countered Modi’s two-day old jibe where he had called India’s oldest party “bail gaadi.” Addressing the party workers’ meet, he said: “He (Modi) has called Congress a bail gaadi. But he must first look within. Some of the BJP’s own people are out on bail, while others are languishing in jail. Some others have escaped the country with money in their banks.”
Claiming that the BJP was inept at “running the government”, he also lashed out at the Fadnavis-led state government over the rise in incidents of farmer suicides in the last couple of years.
Claiming that the Centre’s announcement regarding minimum support price for farm crops has been made with the 2019 Lok Sabha elections in mind, Kharge said: “They have announced the decision with just nine months left for the polls. Why couldn’t they do it during the first four years?”
Attacking the BJP’s “nationalism” card, he said: “The RSS and the BJP were never a part of the Independence struggle. Their workers or leaders did not go to jail for Independence, while thousands of Congress workers did. Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi sacrificed their lives for the nation’s cause. None of their leaders have. And these people will now teach us lessons in nationalism.”
He also attacked the Centre over the rise in atrocities against minorities, Dalits and backward classes, while questioning the PM’s “silence” on such matters.