Prime Minister Narendra Modi has carefully avoided speaking on the issue of corruption during the campaign, but we have not allowed him to escape, Congress President Rahul Gandhi said on Thursday, claiming it will be "bye-bye" for him on May 23.
Addressing a rally in the Pataliputra Lok Sabha segment, from where Misa Bharti daughter of RJD supremo Lalu Prasad is in the fray, Gandhi attacked Modi for skirting questions on promises he had made like Rs 15 lakh in bank accounts of all poor and creation of two crore jobs.
Asserting that the ruling BJP was headed for a defeat in the Lok Sabha polls, the Congress chief claimed Modi would get a befitting reply from the people angry over his failure to fulfil promises made five years ago when votes in the current elections are counted on May 23.
In a veiled attack on the interviews given by the prime minister, including the one to the Bollywood star Akshay Kumar, Gandhi said questions and answers are choreographed to skirt the issue of his promises.
"All that we hear from Modi ji these days are inanities like how he eats a mango and why he wears half-sleeved kurtas."
Repeating the slogan of Chowkidar chor hai which has rankled the BJP, Gandhi said Modi must answer the questions we have been raising with regard to the Rafale deal.
"Why he got the contract awarded to Anil Ambani, why he agreed to pay much more for the fighter aircraft than had been earlier agreed to and why Rafale would not be manufactured in India. He owes an answer to the nation on these counts."
"Modi has travelled the entire country for his campaign, addressing rallies with the help of teleprompters. He has carefully avoided speaking on the issue of corruption. But we have not allowed him to escape. My challenge to him for an open debate on corruption still stands. He has been badly exposed and, on May 23, it will be a bye-bye for him, Gandhi said.
Speaking about his proposed NYAY scheme, Gandhi said financial assistance of Rs 72,000 per year to poor families would boost demand, leading to setting up of more industries and in turn fueling production and creation of jobs. It will propel the economy like diesel propels a tractor.
Gandhi also accused Modi of making Bihar a berozgaari (unemployment) ka centre and charged the Nitish Kumar government in the state with failure to provide relief to farmers through measures like waiver of loans unlike in Congress-ruled states where it has been given top priority.
The Congress president, who toured the state in the first four phases of elections but skipped the next two, urged the people to vote for Misa Bharti, showering praises on her father serving sentences in fodder scam cases for his fight for social justice.
Earlier, Bharti's younger brother Tejashwi Yadav, who has emerged as the party's de facto leader in their father's absence, called the BJP candidate Ram Kripal Yadav paltu chacha no. 2 (turncoat number two).
Yadav has been using the epithet paltu for Chief Minister and JD(U) president Nitish Kumar whose exit from the Mahagathbandhan two years ago made the RJD lose power in the state and stripped him of the Deputy CMs post.
Ram Kripal Yadav, now a Union minister, was a close aide of Lalu Prasad, who quit the RJD to join BJP ahead of the 2014 parliamentary elections and won from Pataliputra seat defeating Misa.
In a show of unity within the jailed RJD chiefs family, his wife Rabri Devi and elder son Tej Pratap Yadav too attended the rally where other leaders of the opposition alliance like former Union minister and RLSP chief Upendra Kushwaha besides ex-CM and HAM founding president Jitan Ram Manjhi were also present.