THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Rahul Gandhi took on the CPM, fresh from his election as the Congress president, accusing it of strengthening the BJP by refusing to strike a common Opposition alliance in different states owing to its blind hate towards the Congress. Addressing a cheering crowd of party activists, including women, at Opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala-led padayorukkam finale at Central Stadium here on Thursday, Mr Gandhi wanted the CPM leadership to make clear whether they really fought fascist forces. What prevented the CPM from joining in a fight against the BJP?
Party workers cheered him lustily at every gesture, as he rode in to venue, shook hands with leaders and delivered his rest-rained offensive against Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The tone and tenor reflected a seasoning post-Gujarat electioneering. Even as he fired his salvos, TV scrolled exit polls predicting BJP retaining Gujarat even after 22 years of power. Mr Gandhi was unfazed by the news, saying his party would not return in kind to Mr Modi insults of former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh or the Congress. He wondered why Mr Modi had gone silent on corruption after the Congress exposed BJP president Amit Shah’s son Jay Shah’s fortunes jumped from Rs 50,000 to Rs 80 crore in a short time.
He said Mr Modi, who had raised huge expectations while assuming, faced a crisis of credibility. “People listen to his speeches but do not trust him,” said Mr Gandhi, referring to his silence on accusations in the Rafale deal. When Modiji went to France, he changed Rafale contract, without consulting anyone. Instead of giving the contract to a company that knows to make an aircraft, he gave it to his industrialist friend, who knew nothing about it. While the earlier contract was to have 136 aircraft, the present contract was for only 36 aircraft, said Mr Gandhi.
He had promised two crore jobs every year for them. While China creates 50,000 jobs in 24 hours, a Minister replied in Parliament that India created 450 jobs in 24 hours.
The padayorukkam finale also had its moments of irony as former Chief Minister Oommen Chandy got more claps and cheers than Mr Chennithala had sweated on the streets for more than a month. The glum Chennithala, however, made a political point, though without referring to M P Veerendrakumar, that the UDF would remain strong and intact no matter who came in or left the front. On stage, Mr Gandhi signed as the last man on the 1.07 crore-signature petition against the failure of the LDF government. The petition on a large canvas would be exhibited on the road along 70 km from Thiruvananthapuram to Kollam on January 20.
Former KPCC President V M Sudheeran was in sulks and didn’t show up. Former Defence Minister A K Antony undergoing treatment sent in his felicitations. AICC general secretary K C Venugopal, KPCC president M M Hassan and AICC general secretary-in-charge Mukul Wasnik, UDF convener P P Thankachan and UDF leaders P K Kunhalikutty, NK Premachandran, MP, Prof Varghese George, CP John and G Devarajan attended. He released a biography of the late Panakkad Shihab Thangal by handing over a copy to his brother Sadiq Ali Thangal and unveiled Jai Hind TV’s android app....