Congress Sonia Gandhi on Sunday tore into Prime Minister Narendra Modi, accusing him of doing only ‘showbaazi’ in the last 15 months.
Sharing the dais with Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar at the Swabhimaan (self-respect) rally here ahead of the crucial Assembly election, something she did for the first time, the UPA chairperson blasted the PM over the land acquisition bill. She accused him of being obstinate on the bill who eventually retreated.
In an unsparing attack on the prime minister, Sonia said: “Nearly one-fourth of the Modi government’s term is over. But this prime minister, who used to boast of a 56-inch chest, has turned a blind eye towards corruption in the BJP-ruled states, has not fulfilled a promise (made during polls) and has unabashedly indulged only in showbaazi.”
Impressed with the huge gathering at the rally, which was organised jointly by the JD(U), RJD and her own party, Sonia praised Nitish for putting Bihar back on the development track.
“The UPA government headed by Manmohan Singh had provided full support to Nitishji, who, in turn, helped Bihar take a giant leap in terms of progress,” she said. “However, the Modi regime has slashed funds for central schemes like the NREGA and Indira Awaas Yojana and curtailed the Backward Regions Grant Fund,” she said.
Sonia praises Nitish
Hinting at a new political equation which may emerge in the coming days, Sonia backed Kumar’s swabhiman and derided Modi for his slur on his DNA.
“Some people (read Modi) have made it a habit of showing their opponents in a poor light. But it would have been better had the same person shown the same zeal in providing employment to the unemployed and controlling the price rise,” the Congress president said. Kumar’s JD(U) had been an ally in the BJP-led NDA for 17 years before pulling out in 2013.
Meira attacks Modi
Former Lok Sabha speaker Meira Kumar, too, blasted Modi for trying to ‘buy’ the people of Bihar through his so-called special package. “We are Biharis. Not Bhikaris (beggars),” Meira said, taking a jibe at Modi for his propaganda on being a chaiwala ke beta (son of a tea-seller).
“The Congress party has empowered those (read Dalits/Mahadalits) who were not allowed to even serve tea,” said Meira, daughter of late deputy prime minister Jagjivan Ram, the tallest Dalit leader from Bihar.
The Congress will contest in 40 out of 243 Assembly seats in the ensuing election while the ruling JD(U) and RJD will field candidates in 100 seats each.