Bhilai: Targeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Congress president Rahul Gandhi said Saturday that the BJP's 2014 slogan of "Acche Din" has now given way to "chowkidar chor hai". Gandhi was addressing an election rally at Bhilai, Chhattisgarh's steel-city.
As the crowd chanted ‘chowkidar chor hai' (the watchman is thief), Gandhi said, "This slogan is trending. Wherever you go, when you speak the word "chowkidar", comes the same reply," he said.
"In Kerala, Chhattisgarh, Andhra Pardesh, Telangana Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, wherever you go and say "chowkidar", the reply is "chor hai"," the Congress chief said.
Gandhi started using the catch phrase ‘chowkidar chor hai' to accuse the Narendra Modi government of irregularities in the Rafale deal, as Modi had earlier dubbed himself as the country's chowkidar or watchman.
"Earlier the slogan used to be Acche Din Aayenge (good days will come). In five years, the country has seen the truth of chowkidar," the Congress chief said.
The Congress government, after winning the Assembly election in Chhattisgarh, did not tell people "Man ki Baat", he said, in a dig at the prime minister's radio program.
"We started work. We waived farm loans, procured paddy at Rs 2,500 per quintal and returned land acquired for Tata project in Bastar to farmers," he said.
Saying he would not make false promises like the BJP, he said, "Even if you put pressure on me, I will not deposit Rs 15 lakh in your account.
"Five months ago, I told economists in the Congress party's think tank that Modi had promised to deposit Rs 15 lakh in the account of people.... I said Congress would not give Rs 15 lakh but I want a figure (amount of money) which can be put in the accounts of poor people," he said.
"I told them if Rs 35,000 crore can be given to Mehul Choksi...and loans of 5,50,000 crore rupees of 15 industrialists can be waived, then why money cannot be put into accounts of the poor people," said Gandhi.
"(Congress leader and former finance minister) Chidambaram said we can give Rs 72,000 to five crore poor families per year which will benefit 25 crore people," he said, referring to ‘Nyay' (Nyuntam Aay Yojna), a promise made by his party in the poll manifesto.
"We will take money from thieves like (industrialist) Anil Ambani and deposit it into account of the woman member of poor families," he said.
"I don't promise you to give two crore jobs (unlike the BJP's promise) but 22 lakh posts are vacant in the government sector and if we are elected, all these vacancies will be filled. Ten lakh youths can be given employment in panchayats," Gandhi said.
Continuing his attack on Modi over the Rafale fighter jet purchase issue, Gandhi reiterated the allegation that the prime minister took away the contract for Rafale from PSU Hindustan Aeronautics and gave it to Anil Ambani.
"Modi has been attacking government sector companies. His target is to hand over all the public sector firms to private entrepreneurs and thieves," he added.
He also promised a simplified Goods and Services Tax "within six months of coming to power".
"Farmers said to me that businessmen who took loans of thousands of crores were roaming in private jets. While the farmers who took loans of Rs 20,000 and were unable to pay were sent to jail. Now this will not happen, not a single farmer will be sent to jail for failing to pay debt," he asserted.
The Congress has fielded Pratima Chandrakar from Durg Lok Sabha constituency which will go to the polls on April 23.