Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Saturday attacked prime minister Narendra Modi on issues ranging from Hinduism and women empowerment to demonetisation, accusing the PM of not understanding the foundation of Hinduism.
Speaking at an interaction with local residents in Rajasthan’s Udaipur, Gandhi questioned what kind of a Hindu the prime minister was.
“What is the essence of Hinduism? You please study Hinduism. What does the Gita say? That knowledge is with everybody, knowledge is all around you…Our PM says he is a Hindu but he doesn’t understand the foundation of Hinduism. What sort of Hindu is he? That is the contradiction,” Gandhi said.
Rajasthan goes to polls in less than a week and the Congress is locked in a largely direct fight with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for the 200 seats in the assembly.
Gandhi praised former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee for his tone and language. “We might disagree with and fight him politically but the man had character,” he said.
Gandhi said India needs to focus on linking agriculture to city and international markets and linking the banking system to skill at the local level. “The main problem is that agriculture sector is seen as a liability, which is not true. It is an asset,” Gandhi said. His party has promised a farm loan waiver of up to Rs two lakh in all poll-bound states.
On the Ayushman Bharat health insurance scheme, Gandhi claimed that farmers tell him that the contract has been given to one insurance company. “Main problem of Ayushman Bharat is that the amount of money that should go in public healthcare is not being given. Only insurance companies are benefitting,” he said.
In the context of insurance companies, Gandhi said the farmers were not benefitting from farm insurance scheme as it has been given to two-three big insurance companies. “The user has no choice to choose his insurance companies. What is happening is parceling out of assets to companies without any sense of competition,” he said. Gandhi also said country’s GDP can grow at nine percent and called demonetisation of high-value currency notes in 2016 a “scam” that adversely impact millions of poor.
“India’s leadership thinks there is no job crisis. Joblessness is a serious threat to the country. We have to bring mental change in India’s leadership that we need to grow with jobs,” he said. “If we respect skill, instead of power, we will be able to leave behind China (in growth).”
The BJP dismissed the allegations with foreign minister Sushma Swaraj saying Gandhi and the Congress were confused about Rahul’s religion and caste.
“Rahul Gandhi said PM doesn’t know the meaning of being a Hindu. He said that because he and Congress are confused about his religion and caste. For years,the party presented him as secular leader but near the polls when they realised that Hindus are in majority, they created this image,” she said.
“It was said he is a ‘janeudhari Brahmin’ but I didn’t know that a ‘janeudhari Brahmin’s knowledge about being a Hindu has progressed so much that we’ll have to understand it from him. God forbid such a day should come that we’ll have to understand the meaning of being a Hindu from him,” she said.
Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad called Gandhi ‘confused ” and said the Congress leader’s projection of being a Hindu wasn’t out of commitment, but political consideration.
“Rahul Gandhi’s problem is (that) he is the confused Gandhi and he keeps on changing his Hindu appearances for political purposes, not by way of commitment. He isn’t a Hindu by commitment, he is a Hindu by political consideration. His Hindu faith changes with political expediency,” Prasad said.
First Published: Dec 01, 2018 22:45 IST