New Delhi: Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Sunday mounted a blistering attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, accusing him of symbolising crony capitalism, and saying the poor of the country continue to live in “Modi’s maya" (illusory world) of the promised good days.

Targeting the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), Gandhi recalled the two warring sides of the epic Mahabharat, and said the BJP, like the Kauravas, fought for power, while his party, on the lines of the Pandavas, battled for truth.

He also attacked BJP president Amit Shah, calling him a “murder accused", and said people have accepted him and the “lying" BJP leadership which is “drunk with power".

“If you are poor, your only choice is to become a farmer, labourer. You are destined to live in Modi’s maya—an imaginary world of acche din (good days), Swachh Bharat, Rs15 lakh in your bank account," he said.

“Like the Kauravas, the BJP and RSS fight for power. Like the Pandavas, the Congress fights for truth. Like Kauravas, BJP is designed to fight for power, but like the Pandavas Congress will fight for the truth," he said.

Gandhi said his party spoke on behalf of the country. Attacking Shah, Gandhi said, “Congress can never be like BJP. The people of this country will accept a man accused of murder as BJP president, but will never accept the same in Congress. BJP is voice of a organisation, while Congress is the voice of the nation."

The BJP hit back at the Congress chief, saying the party which questioned the “fundamental existence" of Lord Ram wants to be identified itself with the Pandavas. “The party which questioned the fundamental existence of Shri Ram today wants to identify itself with Pandavas," defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman said, in an apparent reference to the Congress stand on the issue of construction of a Ram temple at the disputed site in Ayodhya.

Hitting back at the Congress chief over his attack on Amit Shah, Sitharaman said that it was astonishing that the Congress president chooses to make allegations against the BJP chief even though he has been cleared by a court.

“Gandhi himself is out on bail in Herald case, whereas our party president Amit Shahji, has been cleared by court," she said. Assailing the prime minister over the Punjab National Bank (PNB) fraud, Rahul Gandhi said, “Nirav Modi who carried out India’s biggest theft has the same as our prime minister. It is an interesting fact. The most corrupt man in cricket also shares the same name as our prime minister. So what does Modi actually mean? What does Modi actually mean? The name Modi symbolises the collusion between India’s biggest crony capitalists and the prime minister of India. Modi (the prime minister) gives Modi Rs30,000 crore of your money. And in turn, Modi gives Modi money for marketing and winning election," he said.

Gandhi alleged finance minister Arun Jaitley was silent on the bank scam as his daughter worked for diamond trader Nirav Modi who ran away with the country’s Rs33,000 crore. Rahul Gandhi also hinted at major changes within the party, saying he would break the twin walls between senior leaders and workers.

He also talked about breaking the communication barriers between the grassroots workers and leaders within the party with “love and grace", as the Congress was not like the BJP which did not respect their elders.

The Congress chief admitted that mistakes were committed during the last few years of the previous Congress-led UPA government and said they will not be repeated in future as the lessons were learnt. “We all make mistakes, I commit it, so do you. But there is a difference between RSS and the BJP. We accept that yes, we committed mistake, but they don’t accept, they won’t listen," he said.

He claimed the whole world said demonetisation was a mistake. “Modi ji shed tears, but did not accept that he committed a mistake," he said. Gandhi also said that there are two visions before the world today, American and Chinese.

“My aim is to present an Indian vision to the world," he said. Gandhi said India expects more from the Congress as it expects higher standard than any other party. He said the Congress would not make such a mistake, but would accept it if it committed one. He said the BJP hurt crores of people due to note ban and the GST, which he described as ‘Gabbar Singh Tax’ and lakhs of people lost their jobs.

He cited a report that said India’s GST has highest tax ceiling. “They messed up its implementation. But not even once, Modi ji said he committed a small mistake....But we are human beings, we can make mistakes. They think they are not human beings, but something else. Perhaps Modi ji thinks he is an ‘avatar’ (incarnation) of the God," he said.