New Delhi: BJP on Tuesday sought to corner Congress, which has claimed credit for the Centre's retreat on land bill, over the issue as it came out with details of land acquired by its two state governments and said the opposition party may "mislead" its workers but not country.
Wary of Congress' persistent attempts to paint the Modi government as anti-farmer as it fights a tough battle in Bihar assembly polls, BJP today put forth three union ministers to mount a counter attack and said it was due to the opposition's policies that farmers continue to end lives and the rural economy was devastated.
Urban Development Minister Venkaiah Naidu, Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari and Rural Development Minister Birender Singh told a press conference that over 80,000 acres and 5.07 lakh acres of farm lands were acquired in Haryana and the undivided Andhra Pradesh during the Congress rule between 2004-14 "without" farmers' consent.
Hitting out at Rahul Gandhi for his remarks at a party 'chintan shivir' in Mathura that farmers were "abusing" Modi, Gadkari said it was Congress which "destroyed" the country and whose policies continue to cause farmers suicide.
"Prime Minister Narendra Modi has launched 'Make in India' for generating jobs for the poor and farmers and Rahul Gandhi makes fun of peasants calling it 'Take in India'. Why did not he or Congress president Sonia Gandhi stop their state governments from acquiring land. Now they are obstructing us when we on the road to development," he said.
He said the main opposition party had become a "drama company" after losing power and was busy "spreading lies" about the Modi government.
Naidu said Congress was shedding crocodile tears for farmers after "duping" them of their lands during its reign and added that BJP would come out more details of land acquisition by state governments run by it in the coming days.
"Scandalous Congress after acquiring lakhs of acres of land is now shedding crocodile tears. Rahul Gandhi says they won't allow even an inch of land to be acquired. We would like to know what is the scale of his inch?" he said.
The ministers, however, put up a brave front when asked about Congress leadership's relentless campaign against the government's land bill and said it had not harmed the Modi government politically and his popularity had in fact risen.
Singh said Gandhis were "good" for the health of BJP and Naidu claimed that the BJP-led NDA's will emerge victorious in Bihar.