KOLKATA — Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi on Saturday came down heavily on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, accusing him of trying to deflect attention from the NDA government's "unfulfilled promises", and also targeted West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee as he questioned her "friendship" with BJP.
At a rally in Kolkata, he sought to project Congress as the viable third alternative for the state, saying his party will bring a change in the fortunes of West Bengal, where Assembly polls are due in 2016.
Alluding to the bonhomie between BJP and Banerjee's Trinamool Congress as she heads to Bangladesh during Modi's visit there, Gandhi said, "When our (UPA) government was there, our PM wanted to go to Bangladesh. We spoke to her and requested her to go with us. She said no, 'ekla chalo re' (I will go alone).
Congress VP Rahul Gandhi during his visit to Kolkata. PTICongress VP Rahul Gandhi during his visit to Kolkata. PTI
"Now, Modiji is there, so no 'ekla chalo re'. We will go together. Why is this happening? What is the friendship about? You must be knowing the reason."
In his over 20-minute speech, Gandhi lambasted Banerjee, an erstwhile UPA ally, saying that contrary to her promise of freeing West Bengal from the "persecution" under the Left, she had "doubled" it after becoming chief minister of West Bengal.
Congress and TMC had fought the 2011 Assembly elections together in the state which had brought to an the 35-year rule of the Left in West Bengal.
Turning his guns on the prime minister, Gandhi accused him of not fulfilling his promises and repeated his jibe of "suit-boot ki sarkar" to paint the Modi government as "pro-rich" and "anti-poor" and "anti-farmer". He also slammed the NDA government over the land Bill as he referred to the agrarian and tribal agitations in Nandigram, Bhatta Parsaul and Niyamgri.
"One year back, a new government came in Delhi. It made a lot of promises like the ones made by Mamata ji. It talked about employment, development, opening factories. Both (Modi and Mamata) said this. One year (of Modi government) has been completed now.
"He talked about sanitation. He said that you won't get employment and so hold a broom and start sweeping. When the talk of 'swachchata' is over, now he is saying that go and do Yoga on Rajpath. There is no word about employment. Every day something new is said. All these new things are being said to cover up the unfulfilled promises," Gandhi said.