Congress president Rahul Gandhi accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of sowing division wherever he goes, instead of focusing on undertaking measures to improve the situation prevailing in the country, as promised.
Speaking at a joint protest meeting organised on account of the 'Bharat Bandh' against the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led central government, the Congress president accused the ruling party of triggering fights between people of various religions, castes and states.
"When Narendra Modi became the Prime Minister in 2014, he made different promises to the people of the nation, including farmers, youth and women of the country. He promised two crore jobs to youth, safety for farmers and women. In 2014, a lot of people trusted him and made him the Prime Minister.
He even said that what didn't happen in 70 years will be done in four years. In reality, he has done something that didn't happen in the last 70 years. Today, wherever you see, one Indian is fighting with another Indian. Wherever he (Prime Minister Modi) goes, he just goes to sow division. They are inciting fights between religions, castes and states," he claimed.
Gandhi further questioned Prime Minister Modi's silence on the ongoing fuel price hike and said, "Rupee in terms of the dollar has never been this weak. Today, Prime Minister Modi speaks not a single word on petrol and diesel price hike. A gas cylinder that used to cost Rs 400 is now Rs 800. He remains silent on farmer suicide as well."
Accusing the central government of favouring "crony capitalists", Gandhi said, "They (BJP government) claimed to have made toilets all over the country, but there is no water in them. He keeps on giving speeches and the country has got fed up with him. Prime Minister Modi is showing way only to 15-20 people in India, who are the biggest crony capitalists of the country. Farmer loans aren't being waived off, but an industrialist gets a free gift of Rs. 45,000 crore. Questions are being raised on Rafale inside Parliament, but the Prime Minister isn't answering."
The Gandhi scion also called for unity among the Opposition to fight and dethrone the BJP.
Present on the dais at the meeting, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) president Sharad Pawar claimed that the real tribute to late BJP stalwart Atal Bihari Vajpayee would be to follow the path shown by him.
"The Prime Minister said that nothing happened in the last 40 years but his bravery of four years has been to make rupee weak. Saying that nothing happened in the past is an insult to Atal Bihari Vajpayee, it is an insult to farmers of this nation. When Atal Bihari was alive they never took his name; now after he has left, if they follow the path shown by him only that would be the real tribute (to Vajpayee)," he noted.
Senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad, while addressing the gathering, thanked the 21 national and regional parties supporting the nationwide strike, and added that the aim is to free the public of this country from the clutches of inflation and increasing prices of petrol, diesel, gas and so on.
Congress Rajya Sabha member Ahmed Patel told ANI that the nationwide agitation was the best example of unity.
UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi also visited the Ramlila Maidan for a brief period during the meeting. Apart from former prime minister Manmohan Singh, others present at the meeting included Hemant Soren, Sharad Yadav, Sanjay Singh, Manoj Jha, Sukhendu Sekhar Roy, Jayant Chaudhary and others. Samajwadi Party, Bahujan Samajwadi Party and Left had no representation at this joint forum of protest.