Congress president Rahul Gandhi has accused the BJP of trying to create a ‘hyper nationalistic environment’ ahead of the Lok Sabha Elections only to distract people from the issues of unemployment, agrarian crisis and what he called ‘massive failures’ of the Modi government.
The comments by Gandhi come against the backdrop of indications that the BJP may use the Indian Air Force(IAF) strikes on terror group JeM’s largest training camp in Balakot in Pakistan on February 26 after the Pulwama attack as a central plank of its election campaign. A JeM suicide bomber attacked a CRPF convoy in Pulwama in Jammu and Kashmir on February 14 killing 40 jawans.
In Gandhi’s view, a majority for the Congress-led UPA coalition is a certainty and that his party will do much better than expected. Congress’ tally of 44 seats in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls was an all-time low for the party.
“The hyper nationalistic environment the BJP is trying to create, where anyone who disagrees with the BJP is branded anti-national, is only to distract from the issues of unemployment, agrarian crisis, violence and the massive failures of the government on practically every front,” Gandhi told ‘The Week’ magazine in an exclusive interview on Wednesday.
The BJP has criticised opposition parties for demanding evidence for the impact of the airstrikes on the camp of the Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) while its president Amit Shah said the IAF’s operation showed that India is “secure under the strong and decisive leadership” of Modi.
The Congress chief claimed that the Rafale deal is the “tip of an iceberg” and that actually what Modi has done is that he has systematically handed over a massive amount of defence funds to his friends.
“And you will see, this stuff will come out, sooner rather than later, hopefully. But this is not just one deal that we are talking about. There are multiple deals where we suspect that this has happened. But again, no investigation, questions,” he said.
Stating that the job situation and agriculture are in tremendous crisis, Gandhi said one can’t have a country that is divided, which is full of hate and get the levels of economic growth that the country requires to generate a huge number of jobs.
“Mr Modi generates hate. So, his mechanism of politics is hateful. And that has its costs.”
To a question on the Congress’ promise of minimum income guarantee being touted as a game changer, Gandhi said he does not think that this alone has the power to transform the country, but under the current circumstances and the level of pain India is feeling, it is a requirement.
“It’s an idea on an unimaginable scale that we have been working on for a long time now. The idea is that no Indian should live below a certain income level,” he added.
Gandhi said going beyond minimum income guarantee would mean tackling the job crisis on a war footing.