Senior Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Friday hit out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi for “irresponsible” observations of BJP leaders on students stuck in Ukraine.
Besides, Rahul Gandhi targeted the BJP, the Samajwadi Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party alike. He called the BSP the ‘B’ team of the BJP in Uttar Pradesh.
He was addressing a public meeting in Pindra assembly constituency in Varanasi district, about 285 km south east off Lucknow. Varanasi votes in the last and final phase of the UP assembly polls on March 7.
Rahul Gandhi referred to the videos of students stuck in Ukraine being circulated on the social media and asked was it not the responsibility of the BJP government to save them.
“There is a war in Ukraine. Thousands of students from India study there. Our youths are stuck there amid bombing. These youths are sending videos of appeals to save them. The Prime Minister’s men say these people (students) went to Ukraine because they did not get admission to medical colleges in India. They (students) failed here and so went there (to Ukraine). Are these not the students from India? Are they not ours? Is it not your (government’s) responsibility to bring them back?” Rahul Gandhi asked.
Though he did not name any BJP minister or leader, it was apparently a reference to Union minister for parliamentary affairs Prahlad Joshi’s observation. Joshi has been quoted as saying that a majority of medical students studying abroad failed to get admission in India.
Rahul Gandhi began his address by referring to the 2022 poll campaign.
He said all the political parties — the BJP, the SP, the BSP and the Congress — were going to the people telling them how to take Uttar Pradesh ahead. He then targeted the PM, saying “I remember PM used to talk about giving jobs. His second promise was to double the income of farmers while the third and most beautiful promise was to bring back money and deposit ₹15 lakh in the bank accounts of every individual. Why does he (PM) not talk about these promises now,” he said.
As Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, in her address, had spoken about how votes were being sought in the name of religion in the polls, Rahul said the Hindu religion was all about truth. He also said they (BJP) don’t ask you to vote in the name of Hindu religion or any other religion.
“They take your votes by telling lies…I want to tell my sister that votes are being taken by telling lies. I will die but will never promise ₹15 lakh in the bank accounts,” he said.
When some people from the audience reminded Rahul about the promise of making air travel cheaper, Rahul said the PM had bought a new airplane and his security would not allow the people from the state to travel on these aircraft.
The Congress leader also said media persons were not questioning the PM fearing job loss. He then said the Congress government in Chhattisgarh promised to buy paddy for ₹2500 per quintal and also waive farm loans.
“You can go to Chhattisgarh and check whether this has been implemented,” he said.
He referred to the BJP government’s handling of the Covid-19 situation.
The double engine government that BJP leaders referred to in their address meant two leading industrialists and the BJP government were working for their welfare, he further said.