New Delhi, May 7: Rahul Gandhi today accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of "taking revenge on farmers and workers" by suggesting that a mega food park planned for Amethi had been scrapped.
Raising the matter in the zero hour in the Lok Sabha, the Amethi MP said 40 factories were to have come up in the park, benefiting lakhs of farmers from 10 to 12 neighbouring districts. He appeared to suggest that the Prime Minister had scrapped the project, though there is no evidence to support the allegation.
Rahul recalled Modi's trip to Amethi during last year's poll campaign. "The Prime Minister came to Amethi and spoke for 52 minutes. I liked it then, what he said. He said I (Modi) am here for politics of change, not revenge. Politicians' credibility is based on their words and the Prime Minister's words are most sacred. But the politics of revenge happened with the farmers and the workers. The Prime Minister has done it."
The BJP members were restless as soon as Rahul began to speak, fearing another attack on the Prime Minister. But Rahul, who now seems more adept at handling heated parliamentary exchanges, quipped: "Why are you getting agitated - I am talking about potato, not suit." This infuriated the BJP members as the reference to the "suit" was seen as a bid to embarrass the Prime Minister after Rahul's recent "suit-boot ki sarkar " swipe.
Rahul continued amid the uproar, explaining his reference to potato in the context of the food park. "Farmers asked me why is it that we sell potato at Rs 2 per kg and a packet of chips, which needs one potato, sells for Rs 10. What is this magic?"
He added: "The farmers told me factories are far away and it is difficult to sell the produce. From there, the idea of the food park originated. The farmers of 10-12 districts could have sold their produce in the park. Don't scrap it."
Home minister Rajnath Singh rose to counter the claim - doing so in another instance of such intervention on Rahul since last week, despite the government not being bound to respond during zero hour. The BJP believes Rahul should not be allowed to go unchallenged.
Rajnath claimed Rahul had little knowledge when "he said that 1 kg of potato chips comes for Rs 10" while it actually costs Rs 70. Congress members countered the minister, saying the price quoted by Rahul was for "a packet of chips, not a kilogram".
Rajnath then said the "magic" Rahul spoke about had "happened in the Congress regime", but party members asserted that no reference to the Modi government was made. Halted in his tracks, Rajnath said: "There is no question of politics of revenge... We want everybody's co-operation."