Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi on Saturday took potshots at Prime Minister Narendra Modi over his poll promises and called him a “feku” (someone who bluffs) at a rally in Bihar’s Champaran. The BJP slammed Gandhi and dubbed his speech “immature”.
Addressing his first election rally at Ramnagar in West Champaran district, Gandhi targeted Modi over his various promises made during the 2014 Lok Sabha election campaign but which remain unfulfilled till date.
“He had promised two crore jobs, promised Rs.15 lakh in each of your accounts, to control inflation. One year of the Modi government has gone. Did it happen? Has anyone got Rs.15 lakh? Has the inflation been controlled? Has anyone got employment? Feku tha, hai,” the Congress vice president said.
Loosely translated, the Hindi word “feku” means someone who bluffs.
The Bharatiya Janata Party was quick to react.
“Mr. Rahul Gandhi needs a new script writer as his speeches have become stale. It was an extremely immature speech,” BJP spokesperson M.J. Akbar told IANS.
“At one point of time during his speech, Mr. Gandhi said that you can’t take economic decisions in the company of such people who who wear costly watches and keep costly pens. He may not understand the value of a pen but a mature man does,” he added.
On employment, Gandhi said that during the Lok Sabha campaign, Modi promised to revive sugar mills in Champaran but nothing has been done in this direction.
“Modi has never met poor people, workers and labourers. He has no time for them. Modi only meets people wearing costly suits,” he said while telling the people of Bihar to be wary of Modi and his “suited-booted friends” who may take away their land in the name of development.
Gandhi warned the crowd at the rally that the uprooted landless people would find no shelter in big cities as they would be treated as outsiders and would be driven away from there too.
Referring to Bihari migrants being attacked in other states for being outsiders, Gandhi said: “If the BJP government comes here, people will come here in suit-boot and demand your land. Then you would go to other states, you would be asked to go back as you don’t speak their language, so you would be beaten up.”
He said if the BJP comes to power in Patna, the suited-booted friends of the prime minister from New Delhi and Gujarat will come to grab the land of the people of Bihar.
Comparing the suited-booted culture of the Modi dispensation with the simple living of Mahatma Gandhi, he said: “Gandhi ji gave up the comforts of his life to serve the people.”
He said while Congress leaders want to mix with people, Modi and his friends were averse to the common man.
Gandhi said the prime minister has distanced himself from the poor people and “they (government) want to keep their suit clean, we want to embrace ‘dhoti'”.
“If you want to bring in “rozgar” (employment), talk to the people who need it, not to those in suits. If you want to clean the country, you have to talk to people engaged for the work. The government only makes false promises,” Gandhi said.
The Congress leader said: “We will create jobs in Bihar; we will give a credit of Rs.4 lakh to Bihar youth for education. If our government is formed here, we will create employment opportunities in Bihar.”
He said Modi claimed that he sold tea during his childhood, “but I doubt whether it is true”, adding that Modi started off as a tea seller, but his clothes changed from simple to better, from kurtas to costly suits.
“If you look around, you won’t find anyone wearing a suit or boot. People here are wearing torn clothes or kurtas,” he said.
“Modi promised to end corruption, but he protects his corrupt friends like union minister Sushma Swaraj, Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan and Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje.”
BJP leader Akbar questioned the absence of Bihar Chief Minister and Janata Dal-United leader Nitish Kumar and Rashtriya Janata Dal chief Lalu Prasad from the Champaran rally.
“It is now clear why seniors like Nitish Kumar and Lalu Prasad did not share the dais with him,” he said.
However, JD-U leader K.C. Tyagi and Lalu Prasad’s son Tejashwi Yadav addressed the rally with Rahul Gandhi.
Bihar is scheduled to have five-phase elections between October 12 and November 5 to elect the 243-member assembly. Counting of votes will take place on November 8.