Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge on Sunday wondered whether the ‘charm' of Prime Minister Narendra Modi led to the Morbi bridge collapse in Gujarat.
Launching an attack on PM Modi on his maiden visit to Bengaluru after becoming the party president, the 80-year-old Congress veteran charged the Prime Minister with being mum on the issue of clashes between Hindus and Muslims, atrocities on women and Dalits, rising inflation and crashing rupee.
“Modi takes credit for even smallest events including showing green signal to a small train. He wanted to take credit for the Rs two-crore repair work of Morbi hanging bridge in Gujarat. I don't know whether it was his (Modi's) ‘charm' (Kai Guna), the bridge crashed within five days of its inauguration killing 138 people,” Mr Kharge said.
The newly elected Congress president was addressing people at the ‘Sarvodaya Samavesha,' a felicitation ceremony for him here.
Mr Kharge, a Rajya Sabha member from Karnataka, sought to know why no one including the Prime Minister has resigned on moral grounds for the Morbi bridge collapse.
He reminded Modi of his speech in the poll-bound West Bengal a few years ago when an under-construction bridge collapsed killing scores of people.
“You (Modi) had then said that the West Bengal bridge collapse was an ‘Act of God' to open the eyes of the people there. Now, who destroyed the bridge here (in Morbi)?” Mr Kharge said.
The Congress leader charged the BJP's with often alleging that the Congress destroyed the country. "It's not we, but you are destroying the country. We are only fighting on behalf of truth. We are on the side of truth,” Mr Kharge said.
He said the BJP is surviving due to its lies and by dividing society for votes. They (lies) cause discord among different faiths, engineer fight between Hindus and Muslims, and commit atrocities against Dalits and women but Modi never speaks a word on these issues,” the Congress president alleged.
He took a dig at Modi for his alleged silence.
“All he (Modi) does is that he goes to some temple, does 'pooja'. That will not solve the problems of the country,” Mr Kharge said. “Let him worship, let him do it at home but he should give food to those dying of hunger, reduce rising inflation and unemployment. The GDP is seeing a slump, rupee is crashing. He is not saying a word...”
The veteran leader called upon party workers to toil and instal the Congress government in the State and the country by overthrowing what he called as bad governments at the Centre and the State.
Mr Kharge asked workers to launch a door-to-door campaign because “media is not with us”.
According to him, the '40 per cent commission BJP government in Karnataka' did not develop the Kalyana Karnataka region or the erstwhile Hyderabad Karnataka region.
He appealed to the Congress youth wing and students wing also to woo the youth to join the party.
Mr Kharge reminded the Congress workers of the Udaipur declaration to have 50 per cent youth in the party and asked the party workers to expand their outreach programme on the college campuses to attract students.
“We need good talented students in the National Students Union of India (NSUI), the ones who can speak well. You need to select people just like the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) and Students' Federation of India (SFI) do,” the Congress president said.
The veteran Congress leader asked his partymen to set aside their differences to get majority in the Assembly election, which is less than six months away.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)
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