NEW DELHI --Raking up everything from farmer woes to black money, the Naga accord to dealing with Pakistan, as well as the Jawharlal Nehru University row and the suicide of Rohith Vemula, Congress Party Vice President Rahul Gandhi today launched a full blown attack on the Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
In a speech which drew laughs from Congress Party lawmakers and boos from their counterparts in the Bharatiya Janata Party Gandhi attacked the National Democratic Alliance government on its policies, while mocking Modi as being a leader who was too formidable to approach even by senior leaders in his own party.
While speaking Gandhi made a few slips ups like using rupees instead of dollars when describing when talking the fall in oil prices
from $130 to $35 per barrel, but instead of being embarrassed by his goofs, he readily acknowledged them.
By doing this, the Congress Party leader sought to cast his party as more a liberal and engaged, and the BJP as arrogant know-it-alls.
"I'm not from RSS, I make mistakes. I don't know everything," he said.
Gandhi spoke in the evening today following a chaotic day in both Houses of Parliament, with lawmakers raising the recent controversy involving former Homer Minister P. Chidambaram's handling of the Ishrat Jahan case, and allegations of money laundering against his son Karti Chidambaram.
Gandhi told the Lok Sabha that after Finance Minister Arun Jaitley presented the Budget on Monday, the BJP leader told him that "there was no better scheme" than the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Gurantee Scheme (MNREGA) - a position contrary to that of Modi, who has vowed to continue it only as a "proof of failure" of the Congress Party-led United Progressive Alliance government.
This year, Jaitley increased the scheme’s allocation from Rs 34,000 crore to Rs 34,699 crore.
Taking a dig at both BJP leaders, Gandhi asked why Jaitley he doesn't share his feelings about MNREGA with Modi.
"It feels a bit scary but you should try," he said, drawing laughs. "Is there anyone whose opinion the Prime Minister listens to."
For the most past, BJP leaders allowed Gandhi to make his speech, jibes and all, but objections were raised when he described the lawmakers on his side as Gandhians and adherers of non-violence, and on the BJP side as followers of Vinayak Damodar Savarkar and non-violent.
"On one side Gandhi and on the other side Savarkar," he said.
Among the several issues which he raised today, Gandhi said that Modi's "Fair and Lovely Yojana’ to convert black money into white money” had failed. “Nobody who has black money will be jailed under Modi’s ‘Fair and Lovely’ scheme. All those who have black money can make it white under this scheme," he said.
With his one visit to drink a cup of tea with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, last year, Gandhi said that Modi had undone six years of work by the Indian government of turning Pakistan into a pariah after the 2008 Mumbai attack. "In one move he let Pakistan out of the little cage we had put it in," he said.
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