Attacking Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his recent Parliament speech accusing the Congress of yearning for an "old India" of scams, Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Saturday said Modi's "backward-looking" thought led to the 2016 Indian banknote demonetisation.
"The country doesn't want to hear about the past, it is concerned about the future. Narendra Modi is the kind of PM who drives the vehicle looking in the rear-view mirror," Gandhi said addressing a party rally here in Hospet in Bellary district, about 350 km from Bengaluru.
"In his recent speech in Parliament, the Prime Minister chose to speak only about Congress and India's past and not about the future of the country's youth, farmers and labourers," the Congress President remarked.
Gandhi asserted that Modi's "backward-looking" thought has caused demonetisation and the Goods and Services Tax (GST), which he referred to as 'Gabbar Singh Tax'.
With the first assembly elections after his taking over the reigns of the party, Rahul Gandhi kicked off the party's poll campaign from Bellary, the Lok Sabha constitutency from where his mother and former Congress President Sonia Gandhi had defeated BJP leader Sushma Swaraj in 1999 general elections. Assembly elections are set up to take place in Karnataka in April-May this year.
Thousands of party cadres and people from different parts of the state attended the rally.
"Unemployment and farmers' crises are two of the major challenges in the country, and dalit atrocities are on the rise, but in his (Modi's) entire speech in Parliament, he did not utter a single word on these issues," Gandhi said in his 40-minute long speech in Hindi. It was simultaneously translated into Kannada by the state Congress unit's Working President Dinesh Gundu Rao.
"The Modi government has also failed in keeping its promises of giving 2 crore jobs to the youth of the country each year," said the Congress chief.
"I ask the PM to learn from (Karnataka) Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, who responded to farm crisis by waiving off their loans and kept his promises," he added.
Terming the BJP a "party of lies", Gandhi asked people to not trust any party that makes false promises. He also accused it of "corruption" in the purchase of Rafale fighter jets from France.
"Bengaluru-based Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd was given the first Rafale contract, and now Modi has given it to a friend of his," Gandhi said.
Over the past few days, the Congress has been attacking the BJP for not revealing the price of the fighter aircraft in the Parliament.
Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman told Parliament last week that the details of the deal for the Rafale fighter jets cannot be disclosed as it was "classified information".