Senior Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge today accused the Narendra Modi-led government of trying to polarise the society to deflect attention from issues such as the sliding rupee and spike in fuel prices.
Mr Kharge said when the rupee fell during the previous UPA government's rule, Narendra Modi, who was then the chief minister of Gujarat, had criticised it, but now, when he is the Prime Minister, he is silent over it.
Petrol prices were today hiked by 15 paise a litre and diesel by 20 paise, according to price notification of state-owned oil firms.
Mallikarjun Kharge claimed the government wanted to increase the petrol price up to Rs 100 per litre and diesel to Rs 78 per litre and said the crude oil price in international market was less than what it was when the Congress-led UPA was in power.
"When the Indian currency was between Rs 45 and Rs 55 against the US dollar, Narendra Modi, then the chief minister of Gujarat, would constantly criticise us. But now he is keeping quiet. The government has collected Rs 12 lakh crore worth excise duty on petrol/ diesel," he said.
"The government is attempting polarisation in the society to deflect attention from important developmental issues," he alleged and claimed the condition of farmers, Dalits and minorities was "bad" in the country.
The AICC general secretary was speaking before the launch of second phase of the party's Jan Sangharsh Yatra here in Maharashtra's Jalgaon district.
He said the Congress had worked hard to uplift the rural economy in Maharashtra and would continue to do so.
Hitting out at the NDA government, he said now farmers who come to Delhi to seek redressal of their grievances are beaten up and tear gas shells are lobbed on them.
"Loan waiver worth Rs 72,000 crore was given to farmers during the UPA rule and now the situation of farmers is similar. But, the Modi government is doing nothing to help the cultivators in distress," the Congress leader in the Lok Sabha claimed.
Notably, Faizpur was the venue of the Congress' first convention in rural areas in 1936 and was then attended by Mahatma Gandhi and Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, among other leaders.
Mr Kharge, Maharashtra Congress chief Ashok Chavan and other state leaders and office-bearers paid tributes to the freedom fighters in Faizpur before embarking on the second phase of the 'Jan Sangharsh Yatra'.
As part of the yatra, the Congress leaders are touring across Maharashtra, covering almost 150 Assembly seats over three months, in what is being touted as the party's largest mass outreach campaign in the state.
The first phase of the yatra from Kolhapur to Pune across western Maharashtra, where the party had lost its grip in the 2014 polls, concluded on September 8.
During the second phase, Congress leaders will campaign across north Maharashtra till October 9, a senior party leader said.
With focus on mass outreach, the Congress leaders are touring on 'raths' equipped with LED screens and focusing on smaller gatherings for a better interaction with people and party workers.
During the first phase of the yatra, the Congress leaders showed people the past campaign videos of senior BJP leaders such as Modi, Amit Shah and Devendra Fadnavis, while alleging the party came to power only on the back of "false promises".
During the second phase, the Congress leaders will tour Jalgaon, Dhule, Nandurbar, Nashik and Ahmednagar districts.
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