Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Tuesday said "loot" exists in the DNA of the Congress and this tendency was reflected during its rule as she slammed the Sonia Gandhi-led party for its criticism of the Centre's asset monetisation pipeline scheme.
Addressing a press conference at the Chhattisgarh BJP office Kushabhau Thakre Parisar, she said the Narendra Modi government's development principle is based on empowering people and not only offering entitlements to them.
"The matter of loot never goes out of the mind of the Congress because the same thing was prevalent during their time (rule). Loot in the spectrum, mines, water, they are those who have committed loot.
"The word (loot) is so much in their DNA that they can't think of anything else," the Union minister said when asked about the Congress claims that the asset monetisation plan was aimed at "looting" the nation.
In August, Ms Sitharaman had unveiled a National Monetisation Pipeline (NMP) that included unlocking value by involving private companies across infrastructure sectors -- from passenger trains and railway stations to airports, roads and stadiums.
She also took a dig at the Congress over the turmoil in its ranks in Chhattisgarh where it is in power and said the party fails to deliver whenever it gets people's blessings in the form of majority in the assembly.
"Despite winning with such a huge majority (in Chhattisgarh in 2018), their MLAs are visiting Delhi and its surprising that the Chief Minister is giving statements that Congress MLAs have returned and there is no change (in leadership). You (Congress) have got blessings from people to serve them.
"Instead of doing that you (CM) are sitting here and praying to god (to save his chair) ... What happened to the government here?" she said, referring to recent trips of Congress MLAs to Delhi amid speculation of possible change in leadership.
The Congress, after getting a majority in polls, focuses on just staying in power, the BJP leader said.
"Whenever the Congress gets people's blessing in the form of a majority, it cannot handle it. Remember when Rajiv Gandhi ji was in power with a majority (at the Centre in 1984-89).
"Was he able to run it for five years? Getting support and blessings is one thing but serving people by keeping focused and governance is another thing. They (Congress) just remains focused on looting by staying in power and people are watching it," she added.
Highlighting various welfare schemes of the Modi government, Ms Sitharaman said since 2014, its priority has been to rapidly push development agenda.
"We believe in the guiding principle of ''sabka sath, sabka vikas, sabka vishwas and sabka prayas'' ((with all, development for all and with everyone's trust and effort) to take the nation ahead on the path of development.
"This mantra is aimed at benefiting everyone. It is a principle which is based on empowering people by bringing everyone on the path of development," she said.
"We want to empower (citizens) not through ways of offering entitlement. However, it doesn't mean denying relief to those who need it. For this purpose, several other programmes are being run like PM Awas Yojna, Swachh Bharat Abhiyan and others," she added.
Ms Sitharaman also mentioned about funds allocated to the Chhattisgarh government by the Centre under various schemes.