PM Modi face of a corrupt system, says Rahul Gandhi | Mumbai news - Hindustan Times
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PM Modi face of a corrupt system, says Rahul Gandhi

Mar 18, 2024 04:22 AM IST

The Congress leader said he was not afraid of anyone and urged the people to stand up against the Modi government.

Launching the Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance’s (INDIA) campaign for the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections from central Mumbai’s iconic Shivaji Park on Sunday, Congress leader and member of parliament from Wayanad Rahul Gandhi said prime minister Narendra Modi was the face of a ‘system’ developed by the BJP which allowed 20-25 corporate companies to run the country as per their wish.

Mumbai, India - March 17, 2024: People gather at Shivaji Park ground for the Congress-led Opposition's I.N.D.I.A bloc is convening a rally in Mumbai, India, on Sunday, March 17, 2024. (Photo by Satish Bate/ Hindustan Times) (Hindustan Times)
Mumbai, India - March 17, 2024: People gather at Shivaji Park ground for the Congress-led Opposition's I.N.D.I.A bloc is convening a rally in Mumbai, India, on Sunday, March 17, 2024. (Photo by Satish Bate/ Hindustan Times) (Hindustan Times)

“Modi is a mask. He is playing a role everyday like a Bollywood actor,” the Congress leader told approximately 70,000-80,000 people at the rally in Shivaji Park, which marked the culmination of the ‘Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra’ across 14 states. Flanked by top leaders of the INDIA bloc including Prakash Ambedkar, chief of the Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi (VBA) whose position in the alliance remained uncertain, he attacked prime minister Narendra Modi over corruption, electoral bonds, crony capitalism and electronic voting machines (EVM).

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“People believe that we are fighting against a political party or against Narendra Modi. But this is not true. The 20-25 companies that want to rule the country have created a face in Modi’s name, which has what we call ‘shakti’ (power) in the Hindu religion. We are fighting against that ‘shakti’,” he said, stressing that the Opposition was fighting against the ‘system’ developed by the Modi regime.

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Gandhi referred to the Adani group as a key beneficiary of this ‘system’ and said the Mumbai airport was handed over to the group only after the Modi government initiated a probe against GVK, which was managing the airport, through the CBI.

The Wayanad MP accused the election commission of functioning under the influence of the same ‘system’ while rejecting the opposition’s demand for matching votes cast through electronic voting machines (EVM) with the voter-verified paper audit trail (VVPAT).

“Narendra Modi cannot win elections without EVMs. We wanted the election commission to count the VVPAT but they refused to do it because the system doesn’t want it to be done,” he said.

Reiterating allegations of corruption through electoral bonds, he further said, “Electoral bonds are nothing but a national level extortion racket which is run in four ways – by taking a percentage share from companies in lieu of allotting contracts; by issuing threats through the ED, the CBI, and other central agencies; by taking cuts through shell companies; and by taking money after awarding contracts.”

Read Here | ‘King’s soul is in EVM': Rahul Gandhi's sharp attack on PM Modi at INDIA bloc's Mumbai rally

The Congress leader said he was not afraid of anyone and urged the people to stand up against the Modi government. “You all have to stand up – you all are ‘Bharat Mata’. I am ready to do whatever you want me to do and come wherever you want me to,” he said, flanked by DMK chief and Tamil Nadu chief minister M K Stalin, JMM leader and Jharkhand chief minister Champai Soren, RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav, Shiv Sena (UBT) chief Uddhav Thackeray, NCP (SP) president Sharad Pawar, AAP leader Saurabh Bhardwaj, CPI (ML) Liberation general secretary Dipankar Bhattarchaya, National Conference leader Farooq Abdullah, PDP leader Mehbooba Mufti, Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi (VBA) chief Prakash Ambedkar, Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge and the entire top brass of the party.

Addressing the rally before Gandhi, RJD leader and former deputy chief minister of Bihar Tejaswi Yadav slammed Narendra Modi as a promoter of lies and fake agenda. “We are not people who fear but are here to fight for the people. PM Modi is the manufacturer as well as wholesale and retail distributor of fake propaganda and lies,” said Yadav.

Shiv Sena (UBT) chief Uddhav Thackeray alleged that Modi’s only family was he himself and the chair of the prime minister. “PM Modi criticises all of us of being family-run parties. But I want to ask who is there in Modi’s family? For PM Modi, only he and the chair of the prime minister is family,” he said. The BJP wants to win over 400 seats so it can impose dictatorship in country, he said, adding, “When people unite dictatorship ends. Ab ki baar BJP tadipar.”

NCP chief Sharad Pawar recalled the Quit India movement starting from Mumbai as he gave a call to oust BJP from power.

Read Here | Rahul Gandhi slams electoral bonds scheme: ‘Biggest extortion racket…'

“There is a need for change. Those who cheated the country by giving false promises need to be taught a lesson. So many promises were made, but none of them were implemented. Such people need to be removed – we will ensure that happens in the coming months, so be prepared,” the veteran leader said.

Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge, who spoke after Gandhi, also attacked the Modi government for not fulling any promises made over the past 10 years. He referred to the prime minster as ‘Jhoothon Ka Sardar (commander of liars); and spoke in Marathi for more than five minutes.

Tamil Nadu chief minister Stalin referred to Gandhi as the future hope of the country. “India needs unity. I congratulate Rahul Gandhi for visiting every corner of country to unite people,” he said.

National conference leader Farooq Abdullah urged voters to carefully look at the VVPAT after voting as EVMs could be tampered with.

VBA chief Prakash Ambedkar too expressed concerns over the use of EVMs and said the VVPAT count should be considered as final. But suspense over VBA’s inclusion in the alliance continued as Ambedkar said in the presence of Gandhi and other top INDIA leaders, “Either solo or unitedly – we will have to fight against the BJP.”

(With inputs from Saurabh Kulshrestha)

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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    Faisal is with the political team and covers state administration and state politics. He also covers NCP.

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