Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Sunday continued his tirade against Prime Minister Narendra Modi in poll-bound Karnataka and said Nirav Modi, Lalit Modi and Vijay Mallya managed to flee the country and the PM, who once described himself as the “chowkidar” of the nation, did not utter a word.
“Nirav Modi has indulged in the theft of Rs 22,000 crore, he runs away from the country, but the chowkidar of this country does not even utter a word,” he said, referring to the Punjab National Bank fraud case.
On Friday, Modi broke his silence on the fraud and said his government will take stringent action against financial irregularities and not tolerate loot of public money. “I want to make it clear that this government has been taking strict action against financial irregularities and will continue to take strict action. The system will not tolerate loot of public money,” the PM had said.
While addressing rallies in Vijapyra and Bagalkote districts in northern Karnataka on the second leg of his three-day tour to the state, Rahul said, “Modi comes to Karnataka and speaks about corruption. During the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, he had urged the citizens not to make him the PM but ‘chowkidar’ of the nation.”
He added, “On one side, there is his party’s (former) chief minister (B S Yeddyurappa) who had gone to jail and on the other side are the other four former ministers of the BJP government who had gone to jail; sitting in between them, Modi speaks about corruption.”
The Congress chief also asked why no action was initiated in the case regarding the alleged sudden increase in turnover of a company owned by BJP president Amit Shah’s son Jay Shah. “Shah’s son converts Rs 50,000 to Rs 80 crore in three months and the ‘chowkidar’ of the country doesn’t get it enquired and doesn’t even utter a word,” he alleged.
The BJP chief had rejected allegations of corruption against his son, who has filed a criminal defamation suit against a news portal which claimed his business turnover had increased exponentially after the BJP came into ruling in 2014.
This apart, Rahul also hit out at the PM over demonetisation and said the government had failed in its crackdown against black money. “PM Modi doesn’t like notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000. There was a crack down on black money. Modi had told the country to stand in line (queues at banks) for the fight against corruption. You would have not seen a single rich person or someone wearing suit-boot in the line. The citizens were outside the bank whereas those involved in making black money were inside the bank. After five months, we realised that the money of farmers (around Rs 22,000 crore) has been pocketed by Nirav Modi,” he said.
The Congress chief also alleged that the “thieves” in India had converted their black money into white with the help of Modi.
Earlier in the day, Rahul accused Modi of “failing” to fulfil the election promise of providing two crore jobs to youths in the country every year. He said despite schemes such as Make in India, Start-up India and Stand-up India, “whatever you buy, from watches to shirts to shoes, every thing is Made in China”.
The Congress leader also said Modi must indulge in “Nudidante Nade” i.e practice what you preach. “When BJP people talk about changing the Constitution, when they try to invade democracy, they have to remember that they are working against Basavanna, his teachings and principles,” he said.
Basaveshwara is revered by the dominant Lingayat-Veerashiva community, who are predominantly present in northern parts of the state and form a major support base for BJP, which is projecting Lingayat strongman Yeddyurappa as its chief ministerial candidate.
“When any BJP worker assaults any adivasi or Dalit or anyone from the minority community, he is working against Basavanna, Akkamahadevi and Rani Chennamma,” Rahul said. Saint Akkamahadevi was a 12th century Kannada poet, saint and mystic of the Veerashaiva Bhakti Movement. Chennamma was the queen of Kittur, best known for leading an armed rebellion against the British East India Company in 1824.
Rahul said the biggest reason for the progress that India has made during the last 70 years was democracy. “People of the country, Congress party, Ambedkar together gave this country this Constitution,” he said. Noting that democracy came into practice in Britain and America about hundred or two hundred years ago, he added, “but Karnataka taught the world about democracy 900 years ago.”
Karnataka is slated to go to the polls in a few months.
(With PTI inputs)