Rahul Gandhi on Sunday said that "Bharat Mata ki jai" cannot be an empty slogan and that patriotism entails the empowerment of ordinary citizens.
"We all say, 'Bharat Mata ki jai'. But what does that mean? Who is Bharat Mata? The people of India," Rahul, who addressed election meetings at Dausa and Bundi in Rajasthan, said.
"So, we have to empower the people of India: the farmers, workers, Dalits, tribal people, OBCs. Our welfare schemes target these sections of society. But Modi works for Adani. He waived off Rs 14 lakh crore (worth of loans taken by) select industrialists. We (Congress governments) give cheap gas cylinders and (follow the) old (and higher) pension scheme."
He added: "Crores of our youths are being cheated every day. Money is stolen in front of their eyes. I am demanding a caste census because we must know the composition of our population. But (Prime Minister Narendra) Modi, who presented himself as OBC, now says there are no castes.
"When we talk of representation, Modi says there is only one caste and that's the poor. When he wants to divide, castes and religions emerge. He can't order a caste census because he works for Adani. He should say, 'Adani ki jai'. We can’t accept Adani’s Hindustan.”
The tenor and content of Modi’s speech at a rally in Taranagar, in the Churu district of Rajasthan, were entirely different.
"Even taking the name of God has become difficult in Rajasthan," he said.
"The BJP opened the Kartarpur Corridor through Pakistan and brought the copy of the Guru Granth Sahib from Afghanistan. Here, the Congress government even stops religious yatras. But the PFI’s (banned outfit Popular Front of India) rally is allowed."
Modi said his government was poised to make the Indian economy the third largest in the world and recalled how grandly the G20 summit had been organised in New Delhi.
He then asked the people in the crowd to switch on their mobile phones to wish success to the Indian cricket team playing the World Cup final against Australia.
Rahul, at his meeting, accused the Prime Minister of engaging in gimmicks, recalling how he had asked people who were struggling for survival during the Covid pandemic to bang on plates and flash their mobile phone lights.
Modi attributed the high price of petrol in Rajasthan to corruption, asking who was pocketing the loot.
"Prices and unemployment have become uncontrollable because of the Congress’s misrule. What’s the price of petrol in Churu? Around Rs 109,” he said.
“You get petrol in neighbouring Haryana for Rs 97 a litre. In whose pocket is this extra Rs 10-11 going (in Rajasthan)? This is Congress loot. The central government made petrol cheaper for you. The BJP-ruled states offer double benefits to the people. After December 3, the (prospective) BJP government in Rajasthan will review the petrol pricing in Rajasthan.”
The average price of petrol in BJP-ruled Madhya Pradesh is Rs 109.70 while some cities charge Rs 110.30 for a litre. In Maharashtra, where the BJP is a ruling partner, the average price of petrol is Rs 106.96. In Mumbai, the price is Rs 111 a litre.
Modi never mentioned the price of petrol in his campaign speeches in Madhya Pradesh.
The price of petrol crossed the 100-rupee mark for the first time on Modi’s watch, while that of LPG cylinders reached a mindboggling Rs 1,100. The Congress had accused the Modi government of robbing people, flagging the high domestic fuel prices even when the price of crude had crashed in the international market.
Modi has countered the criticism merely by highlighting the high VAT levied by the states.