BJP leaders including party President Amit Shah on Tuesday launched a concerted attack on Rahul Gandhi, questioning his work for the development of his constituency Amethi and asking people to defeat him and the Congress in the next Lok Sabha election.
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.
“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.
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and union minister Smriti Irani, who lost to Rahul Gandhi in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, also attacked Gandhi, questioning his commitment to the development of Amethi, a Gandhi family bastion for decades.
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 change in Amethi too in 2019.”
Yogi said the Congress can never do development work for the country as it had no vision.
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.”