Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Sunday, March 31, said his party would form a coalition government in the Centre with Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) and other allies by defeating Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the 2019 general elections.
"Just as we formed a coalition government with the JD-S in Karnataka in May 2018 and kept the BJP out of power, we will do the same in the Centre with it (JD-S) and other parties after defeating the NDA government," he said at a massive public meeting with the ruling coalition partner.
He did not name the other parties and if they would be from outside the United Progressive Alliance. Polling across the southern state is in two phases on April 18 and April 23 for 28 parliamentary seats. The vote count is on May 23.
Accusing the BJP-led NDA government of doing nothing for farmers, poor, youth, women and others since coming to power in 2014, Gandhi said Modi also lied to the nation and its people, having promised to deposit Rs 15 lakh in each bank account from the black money stashed away in Switzerland, create 2 crore jobs and bring "achche din".
"Instead, he worked only for the rich and 15-20 crorepatis (billionaires). He became a 'chowkidar' (watchman) for industrialists and fugitives like Vijay Mallya, Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi who fled the country," he said in his 20-minute speech in Hindi and translated in Kannada for the local people.
Though Modi and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said they didn't have the policy to waive farm loans or have money to pay farmers, Gandhi claimed that the NDA government had, however, written off Rs 3.5 lakh crore loans of 15-20 rich industrialists and businessmen, using public money.
Asserting that there was no shortage of money in the country, he said the Modi government does not want to give money to the poor, farmers, workers, youth and women, but to the rich businessmen and industrialists.
The Congress chief said that it was his party, which, in Karnataka with the JD-S and later in Punjab, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan, waived farm loans worth crores of rupees as promised in its manifesto.
"When we can find money for farmers, why can't Modiji do the same? Where did he find money for waiving loans of rich?" he said.
In this context, Gandhi referred to the controversial "Yeddy diaries" of BJP's state unit president B.S. Yeddyurappa, in which he had reportedly noted paying a whopping Rs 1,800 crore to his party's national leaders, including L.K. Advani, Rajnath Singh, Jaitley and Nitin Gadkari among others.
"Entries in the diaries show Yeddyurappa gave the money to his party's central leaders. I would like to know where he got so much money and from whom. He looted the people of Karnataka to pay his leaders.
"Did Modi ask him the source of the money?" he asked.