Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Saturday launched a stinging attack against Prime Minister Narendra Modi and remarked that the people of the country have made up their minds to "relieve the chowkidar of his duties".
"He (Modi) sought the votes of the people with the promise of playing the role of a chowkidar (watchman). But he ended up becoming a chowkidar for the likes of Anil Ambani. Now the people have made up their minds to relieve him of his duties," Gandhi told an election rally.
Continuing his attack, the Congress president said fear is nowadays writ large on the face of the "chowkidar". "It is the fear of defeat, of getting exposed before the people and of the fact that once the Rafale deal is investigated properly the chowkidar himself will be in jail along with the likes of Anil Ambani," he said.
"Let him (Modi) try as much as he can, the people of Bihar, the people of the country have made up their minds that they will not allow the chowkidar to have another term in office," he claimed.
Gandhi alleged that the Manmohan Singh-led UPA government had been more generous in providing assistance to Bihar than the NDA regime despite BJP sharing power in the state as well.
He claimed that when the Kosi region of Bihar was ravaged by floods in 2008, the UPA government had extended assistance of more than Rs 100 crore. On the other hand in 2017, when the state was again hit by the natural calamity, the Modi government did not give even five rupees to the state.
The Congress president also reiterated his promises of giving annual assistance of Rs 72,000 to five crore poor households under the NYAY scheme, besides government jobs to 22 lakh youths against posts that have been lying vacant, and employment to another one million at the Panchayat= level.
"The Modi government has done a lot of anyay (injustice). We will rectify that with our NYAY (a pun on the Hindi word for justice)", Gandhi said.
"The Congress does not believe in making empty promises. We fulfilled our electoral promise of waiving farmers loans in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh soon after coming to power in these states. If we form the next government at the centre, we will do the needful for farmers of all regions - including Bihar," he said.
"We will come out with a separate farmers budget which will help those involved in agriculture get an idea beforehand of what lies in store for them. We will also come out with projects that are in keeping with the potentials of the respective regions," he said.
The Congress, Gandhi said, proposes to set up processing units of maize and makhana (fox nut) in the Kosi region.
The Congress presidents rally was attended by sitting party MP Ranjeet Ranjan, AICC spokesman in-charge for the state Shaktisinh Gohil and BPCC president Madan Mohan Jha, besides alliance partners like Upendra Kushwaha, who heads the RLSP and HAM founding president, Jitan Ram Manjhi.
Notably, RJD de facto leader Tejashwi Yadav, whose non-appearance at rallies held by Gandhi in Bihar during the general elections has been noted by common people and political commentators alike, was conspicuous by his absence here.
Yadav has, however, been asserting that chief minister Nitish Kumar and his father Lalu Prasad used to hold rallies separately in the 2015 assembly polls despite having an alliance and went on to win the elections hands down belying skeptics.
The RJD has put up a rebel candidate against Congress' sitting MP Ranjeet Ranjan at Supaul in protest against her husband Pappu Yadav entering the fray from adjoining Madhepura from where the party has fielded veteran socialist Sharad Yadav.