BJP president Amit Shah along with Union minister Smriti Irani and Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath addressed a rally in the Gandhi-bastion Amethi, even as Congress vice-president was firing fresh salvos on the saffron party from Shah's home turf.
Shah, Adityanath and Irani flayed the Congress vice-president over development in Amethi, while Rahul Gandhi mocked BJP's much-touted Gujarat model of development and slammed Shah over the controversy about his son's business dealings.
Addressing a public meeting, Shah spoke for around half hour but made no mention of the charges levelled against his son Jay Shah, whose company reportedly recorded a turnover of Rs 80 crore in 2015 after showing just Rs 50,000 the previous year. Here is how the leaders took turns to train their guns on Gandhi.
Shah asks Amethi to defeat Congress' shehzada (prince)
"You have trusted the Gandhi-Nehru family for 60 years. You put your trust for once in the BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, you will not regret," he told the people of Amethi, where the BJP won four of the five assembly constituencies in the last Uttar Pradesh Assembly polls.
Adityanath and Irani, who lost to Gandhi in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, also attacked the Congress vice-president, questioning his commitment to the development of Amethi, a Gandhi family bastion for decades. "Rahul Gandhi is a non-serious leader swinging from Berkeley to Amethi," Irani told CNN-News 18.
Describing Gandhi as "Shehzada (prince) of Congress", Shah said the Congress leader can't see the development work done by the Modi government as he wears Italian glasses.
"He (Rahul) is seeking answers from the Modi government for its performance of last three years but the people of Amethi are seeking answers from the three generations of Gandhi family which has ruled from panchayat to Parliament in the last 70 years."
Shah said while Amethi had been a VIP constituency for decades, why there was no Collectorate office, TB hospital, FM centre of All India Radio and houses for the poor.
Referring to Gandhi's presence in Gujarat, Shah said: "There are two development models in the country. One is Gandhi-Nehru model while another is Modi model. In Gujarat there is 24-hour power supply, drinking water in every house, a good public health centre in every tehsil."
Similarly, he said, after the BJP took power in Uttar Pradesh, development had picked up pace. The government had written off farmers' loans and given away nine lakh houses for the poor.
"I can assure you that Uttar Pradesh will become a developed state like Gujarat. There is Yogi in UP and Modi in Delhi. This jodi (pair) will together develop the state fully."
He said the people of Gujarat know what development is. "You just look at Amethi. You have destroyed it."
Shah said the Centre had initiated a number of schemes for the poor, Scheduled Tribes, Scheduled Caste, youth and farmers. "There are 106 schemes initiated by this government. Rahul Gandhi will not be able to even count them."
Referring to the surgical strikes on terrorist hubs in Pakistan-administered Kashmir last year, Shah rhetorically told Gandhi: "You cannot even see it because you wear Italian glasses. Changes are taking place in the country. There will be a change in Amethi too in 2019."
Yogi Adityanath accuses Gandhi of being more interested in Italy than in Amethi
Yogi said the Congress can never do development work for the country as it had no vision. Adityanath said, "We will leave no stones unturned in developing Amethi or for that matter the entire state."
Adityanath also accused Gandhi of being more interested in Italy than in the people of his parliamentary constituency. He also taunted the Amethi MP for not coming to his parliamentary constituency often and rather visiting Italy more.
The Uttar Pradesh chief minister also ridiculed the Gandhi scion by saying that while "all-round development" had been ushered in by Modi, Congress was still asking what had been done in the past three-and-a-half years of the NDA regime.
"It is not his fault but that of the Italian glasses he wears over his eyes," the priest-turned-politician, known for his acerbic and direct attacks on his opponents, said and dared the Congress leader over the Samrat cycle factory land.
"This land belongs to the people, the farmers of Amethi and cannot just be grabbed by the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation or any family," he said, adding that the land was not "kisi parivar ki bapauti (heirloom of any one political family)".
Referring to the land grabbing charges against the Congress vice-president's brother-in-law Robert Vadra, he said that times have changed, the BJP was in charge now and that under such circumstances "kahin damaad zameen hadpe, Kahin beta hadpe...ye nahin chalega ab (Their (Gandhi family's) sons and son-in-laws can no longer pocket properties".
Lauding the hard work put in by Irani for the development of the constituency, he referred to her as the sister of Amethi and pointed out that the "culture of middlemen propounded and patronized by the Congress had come to an end now".
Questioning the contribution of several generations of the Gandhi family towards Amethi and Rae Bareli, the Adityanath said that Gandhi will now have to answer how if everything was done and now nothing was being done, why did it take 70 years for a Prime Minister to work on basic issues like construction of toilets, schools, improving healthcare, houses for the rural and urban poor and timely supply of fertilizers besides other things.
He assured the people of Amethi that the state government would work relentlessly for the poor.
He also used the occasion to target the former Samajwadi Party government in Uttar Pradesh.
Adityanath said while a target of 24 lakh houses for the rural poor had been set by the prime minister for the Uttar Pradesh government till 2019, and that 9.70 lakh houses had to be built in the first year but the Samajwadi Party government did nothing.
"We, under the guidance of Modi and Amit Shah, have given eight lakh families homes in the rural areas and 1.60 lakh to urban poor in just six months," he stated.
Irani accuses Gandhi of lip service
Irani accused Gandhi of paying lip service to development. She said the Congress leader was making fun of development in Gujarat but had no answer for the lack of it in his own backyard in Amethi.
"This state was once ruled by the Congress and the Gandhi clan has been representing Amethi for long. Now is the time for them to answer the people why there has been no development," she said.
Irani accused Gandhi of failing the people of Amethi and cheating the farmers by grabbing their land through the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation.
"A vast stretch of land was given by farmers long back for construction of the Samrat cycle factory. When nothing much happened, there is an effort to occupy the land illegally and despite eviction notice they are not letting the land go."
Irani also criticised Congress vice-president's remarks that women were not seen in RSS shakhas wearing shorts as 'indecent'.
"If Rahulji believes that wearing shorts in India is the sign of empowerment, as a woman I want to contradict it," she said in Amethi.
"Today, an indecent comment has been made on our sisters connected with the Sangh, the Rashtriya Sevika Sangh or the sisters, wives and sisters-in-law of ordinary Sangh workers," she said.
Her remarks came hours after Gandhi targeted the RSS and the BJP alleging that they did not give any importance to women and asked how many of them were seen attending the Sangh's shakhas.
"Their organisation is the RSS. How many women are there in the RSS... Have you ever seen any woman in shakhas wearing shorts?" he said in a sarcastic tone in Vadodara.
The Congress leader said this in course of his Gujarat election campaign that in contrast, women work at every level in his party.
Khaki shorts were a trademark of RSS volunteers which they used to wear during their drills in the past, before they changed to full pants over a year ago.
With inputs from agencies
Updated Date: Oct 11, 2017 06:45 AM