BENGALURU: Congress national president Rahul Gandhi, on Saturday, unleashed a blistering attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi asking the latter to tell the country the truth about the release of dreaded terrorist Masood Azhar, whose Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) outfit had claimed responsibility for killing 40 Indian para-military personnel in Pulwama in Kashmir.
Gandhi dared Modi to tell the role of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the release of Azhar from an Indian jail.
“Isn't it true that the BJP government took him out from our prison and released him in Kandahar," Gandhi said at Haveri, about 334 km from Bengaluru, addressing a parliamentary election campaign rally.
The Congress president continuing to pile the pressure on the Modi-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA), who claimed to have avenged the deaths of 40 Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel by targeting JeM launch pads across the border.
Soon after the Pulwama attacks. the Indian Air Force (IAF) had crossed the Line of Control (LoC) and targeted JeM camps in Balakot in Pakistan, which the government said had destroyed all these establishments and killed a significant number of terrorists--a claim disputed by the opposition as well as sparking off related debates including those over the ageing equipment of the IAF, the controversial Rafale deal as well as questions on who released Azhar. Azhar, who was lodged in an Indian jail was released in exchange for passengers of the hijacked Indian Airlines plane IC-814 in 1999 during the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government.
The Congress accuses the BJP of politicising the cross border airstrikes while the BJP has accused the opposition of belittling the actions of the armed forces
The two national parties unrelenting in their pursuit to corner the other in the run up to the parliamentary elections, scheduled to be held later this year.
The Modi government has already announced a number of sops for farmers and middle class in the February budget while the Congress has promised to implement a Minimum Income Guarantee (MIG) scheme among other programmes.
“If we come to power in 2019 we will bring minimum wage guarantee bill. We will pay money directly into the account of every poor man," he said.
Gandhi said that the centre had waived off ₹3.5 lakh crore in corporate loans but was turning a blind eye on problems like agrarian distress and rising unemployment. He said that though industrialist Anil Ambani is in debt of over ₹45000 crore, the centre had gifted him another ₹30000 crore in the Rafale deal even though the latter had no experience in building an aircraft.
Gandhi also named economic offenders like Vijay Mallya, Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi as failures of the the Modi government, under whose tenure they fled the country and elude justice. The Congress has kept the pressure on the BJP government calling it corrupt and trading the interests of the poor to secure those of large industrialists.
Gandhi said that though Modi talks about corruption, the whole country was aware that he was corrupt before adding ‘Chowkidar hi chor hai’. He also said that the Congress would implement the women’s reservation bill in all houses of the parliament and state legislatures.