Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Saturday took aim at Prime Minister Narendra Modi while campaigning in Tamil Nadu's Thoothukudi, accusing him of being "scared" of China as well as working for the interests of the privileged few in the country.
"Question isn't whether PM is useful or useless. The question is who is he useful to? PM Modi is extremely useful to two people i.e. 'hum do, humare do', who are using him to increase their wealth, and useless to the poor," he said, repeating his allegation of PM Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah helping crony capitalists.
Mr Gandhi, speaking to lawyers at a college in Thoothukudi, also said PM Modi was scared of China over the standoff in Ladakh and had allowed the Chinese to "test the idea" in Doklam near Arunachal Pradesh in 2017.
"Essentially the Chinese occupied certain strategic areas in our country. They first tested the idea in Doklam. They tested the idea to see how would India react and they noticed India did not react. And then they carried out the idea again in Ladakh and also I believe in Arunachal Pradesh," he said, according to news agency PTI.
Launching his three-day tour of Tamil Nadu ahead of the April 6 assembly elections, the Congress leader said PM Modi's first reaction to the Chinese incursions was "that nobody has come into India".
"That indicated to the Chinese that the Prime Minister of India is scared of them. That is the message he indicated to the Chinese, that he is scared of them and the Chinese understood it. And since then the Chinese have negotiated on that principle," he said.
"They know that the Prime Minister of India cannot stand up to them. Mark my words, our land in Depsang, which is the most important land, is not going to come back under this government. The Prime Minister will not get that land back. He will pretend everything is sorted out, but India is going to lose that territory," Mr Gandhi said.
Sending such a message to the Chinese was "very dangerous to the future because the Chinese are not going to stop with Ladakh," he alleged.
He said the government under the Congress "always dealt with the Chinese without any hesitation".
"The Chinese understood very well that India cannot be pushed around. Even in 2013 when the Chinese entered into India, we took action that forced them, forced them to compromise...we went and occupied other spaces," he said.
"They have now understood the Prime Minister doesn't have the courage...the Chinese know the Prime Minister is going to compromise," he added.
(With inputs from agencies)