Mounting attack on the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) ahead of the general elections, Congress President Rahul Gandhi, here on Saturday, accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of being a "chowkidar" (watchman) for tycoons like Anil Ambani and Gautam Adani and not the people.
"Modi keeps saying he has been battling corruption everywhere. But he himself is corruption personified. He is a 'chowkidar' not for the people but Ambani and Adani," Gandhi said at a public rally here, about 350 km from Bengaluru.
Bemoaning that unemployment rate was the highest in the country in the last 35 years, Gandhi said in Hindi Modi had promised to create 2 crore jobs in 5 years. "Where are jobs? Even farmers have suffered under the Modi rule," he alleged.
"When our (Congress and JD-S) coalition government in Karnataka waived Rs 11,000 crore crop loans, Modi termed it a 'lollipop'. We delivered what we promised in the party manifesto for the May 2018 Assembly elections," claimed Gandhi.
His speech was translated into Kannada by party state unit chief Dinesh Gundu Rao for the benefit of audience.
The Congress President alleged instead of waiving crop loans, Modi waived Rs 3.5 lakh crore loans of 15 cronies, including Ambani and Adani.
Lashing out at Modi for the November 2016 note ban, Gandhi said demonetisation forced lakhs of people to stand in queue for exchanging their hard-earned cash or depositing them in their bank accounts.
"Demonetisation led all of you to stand in the queue. But did you see even one suited and booted person standing in the queue? Such as Nirav Modi, Mehul Choksi, Vijaya Mallya or Ambani? No," Gandhi said at the party's "Parivarthana" (change) rally.
In a combative speech, Gandhi alleged the "chowkidar" took money from the people's bank accounts and distributed it to his cronies.
"Five years ago, Modi said 'make me a chowkidar and not the Prime Minister'. The country voted for him. But Modi stole Rs 30,000 crore and put it in Ambani's pocket," Gandhi said.
He also blamed Modi for helping Ambani get the offset contract from French aerospace major Dassault Aviation for procuring 36 Rafale fighter aircraft for their induction in the operational fleet of Indian Air Force (IAF).
"Papers (official documents) show PM (Modi) opened his own negotiations parallel to that of the Defence Ministry. Ambani went to France with Modi for the Rafale deal although he never made a single aircraft in his life," claimed Gandhi.
Recalling his address in Parliament on the Rafale issue, Gandhi said he asked Modi why Rs 1,600 crore was being spent for one aircraft.
"Why steal jobs from Karnataka by denying the Rafale contract to the state-run Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) in Bengaluru? He (Modi) spoke for over 100 minutes but did not answer any question," lamented Gandhi.