In what could turn out to be the “maut ka saudagar” moment of this Lok Sabha election, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhion Tuesday compared BJP’s PM candidateNarendra Modi to Hitler, and accused him of stealing land belonging to farmers, calling him a thief.
Addressing a large crowd in Balasinor in Gujarat’s Panchmahal Lok Sabha constituency, Rahul hit out without taking Modi’s name but his target was unmistakable: “Congressmen follow Mahatma Gandhi and meet people and visit their homes. Other leaders are like Hitler. Hitler believed there was no need to learn from the people. Whatever will happen in Germany will be done by Hitler.”
Ridiculing Modi for his request to the people to make him the “chowkidar” of the country, Rahul said, “This man says make me the chowkidar and corruption will go. How can he be the chowkidar of India when in Gujarat he has stolen farmers’ land and gifted it to select industrialists?” Rahul added, “Chor ko chowkidar kaise bana dein?”
Responding to Rahul’s reference to Hitler, BJP spokesman Ravi Shankar Prasad told TV channels, “These are dialogues of the 1970s. They have no relevance in 2014.”
During his 25-minute address, Rahul raked up the issue of former Karnataka CM BS Yeddyurappa being brought back into the BJP and mocked the party’s claim of battling corruption. “If they were serious then why did they allow three convicted ministers to serve in Gujarat? There was no Lokayukta in Gujarat until the Supreme Court intervened,” Rahul said.
The last time a Nehru-Gandhi family member had addressed a gathering in Balasinor was Indira Gandhi in 1972.
He also derided the BJP’s schemes of raising money from people who attended Modi’s rallies. “We don’t take money from you to show you our advertisements. Money collected from Gujarat is being used for one person’s marketing across India. We use your money for your welfare,” Rahul said.
On Modi’s efforts to usurp Sardar Patel’s legacy, Rahul advised him to spend time reading about Sardar. “Building a statue of Sardar is fine but you need to know a little more about him before building it. Sardar Patel had said RSS philosophy was toxic for the country,” he said. Rahul claimed the BJP had originally even opposed naming the Ahmedabad airport after the freedom-fighter.
Rahul said as a seven-year-old, he drank Amul milk in Delhi. “Now, it’s being projected as if it is also someone’s personal achievement. BJP would even take credit for the RTI, MNREGA, and the Right to Food Act, if given the chance in the future,” he said.
“This person talks of eliminating Congress but no can wipe out the organization nurtured by Gandhiji and Sardar Patel. He talks of Gujarat model in the country but here BPL criteria is only Rs 11 per day. In malnutrition, Gujarat model is shining,” Rahul said, adding, “Despite court orders RTI commissioners have not been appointed and Lokayukta could be appointed after a gap of 10 years and court’s interference.”
Seeking to draw a parallel between BJP’s India Shining Campaign in 2004 Lok Sabha polls and its focus on Gujarat’s development under Modi, Gandhi said it is being publicized in the whole country that Gujarat shines but its glitter is limited to “10-15 industrialists” and the poor have not benefited from it.