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Rahul attacks BJP on Constitution, Rafale

A Rafale fighter jet

Bangalore: Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday dared the BJP and the RSS to even try to amend the Constitution and said his party would show what it could do.

"You try to touch the Constitution and see what we will do," Rahul told a gathering in Bangalore's historic Russel Market.

Addressing a huge crowd that had assembled in the area with a significant presence of Muslims, the Congress leader cautioned the voters about the "hidden plan" of the BJP to amend the Constitution.

Rahul's comments were a reference to Union minister Ananth Kumar Hegde's statement that the BJP government at the Centre would amend the Constitution.

On the penultimate day of the campaign for the May 12 elections, Rahul went on the offensive against Prime Minister Narendra Modi and accused him of launching personal attacks on Congress leaders, including himself.

"You would have seen Modiji speaking bad about (chief minister) Siddaramaiahji, (Mallikarjun) Khargeji and me. Although Congress leaders criticise Modiji's conduct, we respect the position of the Prime Minister," he said.

"Modiji thinks that speaking bad helps him. But he doesn't seem to understand that he is sullying the post of the Prime Minister of India," Rahul added.

He took on Modi for his silence on crucial issues facing the nation. "Wherever he goes he folds his hands before statues of Dr Ambedkar. But when Dalits are beaten up and killed, Modiji is absolutely silent," the Congress leader said.

"The Prime Minister did not say a word when a BJP MLA raped a woman in Uttar Pradesh," Rahul said, alluding to the Unnao case and a woman's allegation on Tuesday accusing another legislator of the party of raping her in 2011.

"For the first time in 70 years, Supreme Court judges are saying they are not getting justice," Rahul said, referring to the unprecedented news conference four senior apex court judges held in January.

Later in the evening, addressing a large gathering near Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd in the east of Bangalore, Rahul brought up the Rafale deal.

In an area where a large number of PSU employees, especially from HAL and BEML, live, Rahul spoke about how the UPA government had sealed a deal with France to purchase Rafale fighter aircraft for Rs 700 crore apiece and HAL had been contracted to manufacture the aircraft on a transfer of technology deal.

"But the new Prime Minister (Modi) went to France, agreed to pay Rs 1,500 crore for each aircraft and snatched the contract from HAL and gave it to his friend's company that has never ever made a single aircraft," Rahul said.

"We kept asking the Prime Minister whether he had followed due procedure before altering the deal, but neither did he respond nor did he allow us to raise these issues in Parliament," the Congress leader added.

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