Hubballi: While Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been going hammer and tongs on his government's fight against terror, Congress president, Rahul Gandhi on Saturday held the BJP responsible for the recent Pulwama attack in Kashmir that cost the lives of 44 CRPF jawans.
Mr Gandhi, who was launching his party's campaign in the state for the coming Lok Sabha poll at a "Parivarthana rally" in Haveri, recalled that it was the Vajpayee government at the Centre that had freed the mastermind of the Pulwama suicide bombing, Jaish-e-Mohammad chief, Masood Azhar, two decades ago.
"Who sent Masood Azhar to Pakistan from an Indian jail? Did not the then external affairs minister, Jaswant Singh and then intelligence bureau chief, Ajit Doval, escort him to Kandahar? It was the BJP government that sent Azhar to Pakistan,” he noted, referring to the freeing of Azhar and two other terrorists in 1999 in exchange for the release of 155 passengers on board a hijacked Indian Airlines plane to Taliban -controlled Kandahar.
"Why doesn't the Prime Minister tell the people this during his speeches? He must reveal why the BJP released the kingpin of the terror attack when his party was in power," the Congress president demanded, asserting, "The Congress will not bow down before terrorists."
Also accusing the Prime Minister of fooling youth of the country in the name of “Make in India,” “Sit in India” and “Stand up in India”, he claimed in reality the Centre had caused losses to traders and the poor through demonetisation and the “Gabbar Singh” tax (GST).
“The Congress will bring in reforms in the GST to make it ‘one tax and less tax' after the party comes to power,” he promised. Mr Gandhi described the coming Lok Sabha poll as a battle between the different ideologies of the Congress and BJP, saying on the one hand there was the RSS and Hindutva of the BJP and on the other, the Congress's aim to work for the welfare of farmers, small traders and the poor.
“Today only 15 to 20 per cent of the poor and small traders enjoy the benefits of the banking system while the Union government helps business tycoons like Anil Ambani and Adani,” he charged, promising “minimum income guarantee" for all the poor and depositing of funds directly into their bank accounts if elected to power.
“The BJP used to make fun of the MGNREGS scheme launched by the UPA government and now, it has snatched the funds meant for Karnataka under the scheme,” he alleged.
Mr Gandhi went on to add that he was confident the Congress and Janata Dal (Secular) would making a winning combination in the state this Lok Sabha poll....