Hours before his Iftaar with the prominent leaders of Opposition, Congress president Rahul Gandhi said that a grand alliance to take on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the BJP and the RSS is the “sentiment of the people” and not just the political parties.
Gandhi, on Wednesday, will be hosting his first iftaar as a Congress president, which in the past has often been party’s extended platform to the ‘like minded political parties’.
“It is the sentiment of the people and not just political parties which are opposed to the BJP, to have a ‘mahagathbandhan’ that can take on the BJP, the RSS and Prime Minister Narendra Modi,” Gandhi told reporters in Mumbai, where he was on a 2-day visit.
Criticising the incumbent BJP-led NDA government at the centre, he charged the ruling party of attacking the Constitution and other institutions of the nation.
“Prime Minister Modi and the BJP are attacking the Constitution and institutions of the nation,” he alleged, saying the question faced by the people was how to stop this.
The Congress is trying to join together these voices and the work is going on, Gandhi said adding that the opposition has been asking Modi to bring prices of petrol and diesel under the Goods and Services Tax (GST) to provide relief to the common man, but “he is not interested.”
“There was an attack on Mumbai (through demonetisation). There are small industries, traders here… the leather industry and the cloth industry are all here. They were attacked by the ‘Gabbar Singh Tax’,” Gandhi said.
“The whole country is sad, small businessmen are sad because of demonetisation and we are fighting for them,” he said.
Rahul Gandhi also told his party workers that during the UPA government’s rule, the crude price was USD 130 a barrel that has now come down to USD 70 a barrel. “…the benefit has not been passed on to the common man. Where does this money go?,” Gandhi said.
Meanwhile, his Iftaar this evening will be keenly observed in the political circles as some senior opposition leaders, including West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee and newly appointed Karnataka CM HD Kumaraswamy, are likely to miss out and send their representatives instead.
Sources said Telangana Chief Minister and TRS chief K Chandrashekhar Rao, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister and TDP chief Chandrababu Naidu and Delhi Chief Minister and AAP supremo Arvind Kejriwal have not been invited for the event.
Former president Pranab Mukherjee and former vice president Hamid Ansari have been invited as well.