As the 2019 Lok Sabha elections is just a few months away, the Congress has started intensifying its campaign across the country. To kick-start with party president Rahul Gandhi on Monday arrived to a warm welcome in Karnataka, where he has launched the 'Jana Dwani Yatra' following a public address in Bidar. During his address, the Congress president stressed on the issues of farmers, spoke about controversial Rafale deal and also accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of sluggish job creation under the NDA government.
"I challenge PM Modi from this stage. Karnataka government waived off loans of farmers. I challenge you (centre) to provide 50% of the farm loan waived in Karnataka. If you have 56-inch chest, I dare you to do this. But you won't do this," Gandhi said while taking a tig at the Modi government.
"Nirmala Sitharaman Ji has lied to the youth of the nation. She said India and France have a secret pact and so they can't reveal the price of Rafale aircraft. I asked France President if this is true and he denied," the Congress president alleged in Bidar.
"Modi is not prime minister of country but of 15 "super-rich businessmen", I challenge him for a debate on Rafale deal," Gandhi stated.
Elaboarating the matter to a greater extent, the Congress chief hit out at Modi for "stealing" taxpayers' money and giving it to his "friend" whose firm he alleged had bagged a contract in the Rafale deal. "Chowkidar Hi Bhaagidar Hai. (This watchman is a collaborator)," Gandhi mocked the prime minister.
Talking about the growing incidents of rapes and sexual assault across the country the Congress president said, "The prime minister gave the slogan of 'Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao' but he did not say from whom the girl child be saved".
"Rape happens in Uttar Pradesh and BJP leader is caught. When small girls in Bihar are raped, we see BJP leaders hanging around there. However, the prime minister does not speak a word on it," PTI quoted Gandhi as saying.
Meanwhile, several high profile leaders, including Mallikarjun Kharge, KPCC president Dinesh Gundurao, AICC general secretary KC Venugopal, former chief minister Siddaramaiah and deputy chief minister G Parameshwar took part in the 'Jana Dwani Yatra'. The rally also marked attendance around two lakh Congress workers from different Assembly segments across the state.
Bidar is an important region for the Opposition party with the Congress having won four of the six Assembly seats in the district in the recent Karnataka Assembly election, held in May.
Later in the day, the Gandhi scion will arrive in Telangana and is expected to meet women Self-Help Groups, students and unemployed youth, entrepreneurs and others in separate events in Hyderabad on Monday and Tuesday.
"After Bidar, Congress President @RahulGandhi now heads to Hyderabad, Telangana to meet representatives of Self Help Groups and to address a gathering," the Congress said in a statement.