Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Thursday accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of telling a "lie" that China had not encroached upon Indian territory and"insulting" Indian soldiers who laid down their lives fighting off the enemy in eastern Ladakh.
Addressing party workers across Bihar ahead of the Assembly polls at a virtual rally, Gandhi charged the Modi government with destroying all institutions in collusion with the BJP's ideological parent — the RSS– and asserted that the Congress must shoulder the responsibility of bringing all the opposition parties together.
"My blood boiled when I learnt that China had captured a part of our territory," Gandhi said, alleging the prime minister spoke a lie that no such thing has happened and he got exposed by a contrary statement from the Defence Ministry itself.
"Did he not care at all for the sacrifices made by the Bihar Regiment? Twenty of our soldiers belonging to the regiment were killed in the clashes with Chinese troops. The prime minister's averment was tantamount to an insult to the martyrs," Gandhi said.
Turning his attention towards the COVID-19 pandemic, the former Congress president said, "I had warned way back in February that the country was going to be hit by a corona tsunami. And we are on our way to becoming the vishwa guru of the coronavirus.
"Today, I am predicting a much bigger storm of unemployment and a sinking economy which may batter Bihar and the rest of the country in about six months or a year. The blame lies on the Modi government and the RSS which are together working towards destroying all institutions," Gandhi was quoted as having told the rally in a state Congress press release.
While extolling India's accomplishments of the yore, BJP and RSS leaders often talk about making the country 'Vishwa Guru' (teacher of the world) once again. Alleging that all constitutional institutions have collapsed, Gandhi asserted the nation, nonetheless, is resilient enough to be back on its feet.
"Our youth power is currently getting wasted but it can be harnessed to rebuild the economy and regenerate employment. This can, however, be accomplished only through love and not hatred. Hence, the Congress will have to play a role," said Gandhi in an oblique reference to the BJP's alleged divisive politics.
Training his guns at Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, who he did not mention by name, Gandhi said, "The people of the state are in despair but he seems unmoved, so much for his claims of 'sushasan' (good governance)." Gandhi said Kumar's "inability to take action in the face of crises" has become known to all.
"I will like to assert here that we will make the next government in Bihar in alliance with like-minded parties. Bihar has been the harbinger of changes since millennia. Mahatma Gandhi, too, launched his first Satyagraha from Champaran. Bihar shall once again show the way, with an ambience of love and mutual respect paving the way forrejuvenating education and health sectors and job growth," he said.
Gandhi also acknowledged the need for building a strong alliance to take on the formidable ruling NDA in Bihar and stressed on the need for treating allies with respect and involving them in decision making.
The Congress is currently a partner in the five-party grand alliance, led by the RJD in Bihar. He also asked AICC in-charge of Bihar Shaktisinh Gohil, who was among the attendees, to thrash out the thorny issue of seat-sharing by holding talks with allies, existing and prospective.
Gandhi alsp urged party workers to tour the flood-affected regions of Bihar and extend all possible help to the victims of the calamity.
The Congress leader said because of the coronavirus pandemic, he was speaking to them through the digital medium but he looked forward to travelling across the state extensively and interacting with workers at district and block levels.
Prominent among those who had attended the virtual rally were AICC general secretary (organisation) KC Venugopal, former Union minister Tariq Anwar, BPCC president Madan Mohan Jha and senior leader and actor-turned-politician Shatrughan Sinha.