Prime Minister Narendra Modi stole from the people of Andhra Pradesh and given the money to industrialist Anil Ambani, Congress president Rahul Gandhi alleged on Monday as he extended his party's support to Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu who is on a day-long fast here.
TDP president Naidu's fast, demanding that the Centre fulfil promises made during Andhra Pradesh's bifurcation in 2014 and alleging that the prime minister was not following 'raj dharma' by denying the state special status, became a rallying point for various opposition leaders, who gathered at the venue to back him.
"I want to let you know that we are all standing together. We are going to defeat the BJP-Mr. Narendra Modi," Gandhi said at Andhra Bhavan in an apparent reference to the Rafale fighter jet deal with France.
The government and Ambani had earlier rejected Gandhi's allegations of corruption and favouritism in the fighter aircraft deal.
Gandhi alleged that the prime minister lies on various issues "wherever he goes".
"...he goes to Andhra Pradesh, he lies about special status. He goes to the Northeast, he tells another lie over there. He goes to Maharashtra and he tells another lie over there. He has got absolutely no credibility left," Gandhi said.
In just a couple of months, opposition parties will show Modi exactly what the sentiment in the country is, he said.
Gandhi also referred to a report in The Hindu newspaper, claiming that critical provisions for anti-corruption penalties and making payments through an escrow account were dropped days before the signing of the inter-governmental agreement (IGA) between India and France in 2016 on Rs 59,000 crore Rafale deal.
The report, he said, clearly shows that the anti-corruption clause was removed by Modi.
"So it is clear that prime minister has stolen in this Rafale matter...Chowkidar Chor hai," he alleged.
Accusing the prime minister of not keeping his commitment, Gandhi demanded that they be fulfilled.
"What sort of Prime Minister is he? The Prime Minister of India made a commitment to the people of Andhra Pradesh and this Prime Minister does not fulfil that commitment which was made to the people of Andhra Pradesh. Is Andhra Pradesh not part of this country?
"So, how dare he not fulfil this commitment? I have made it very clear whatever the commitment the Prime Minister of India makes, the Prime Minister of India will fulfil. So that is why you are here, I stand with you; I stand with the people of Andhra," he said.
Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who headed the UPA government at the Centre when Andhra Pradesh was bifurcated, said that he stood by the people of the state.
"This demand had support of all parties when it was discussed in Parliament. I stand in solidarity with Naidu. These demand should be met immediately without any more loss of time," he said.
He attacked Modi over "the language used by him against Naidu" at a rally in Guntur in the state on Sunday.
"It's unbecoming of the prime minister. He has dragged the political discourse to such a low level. Therefore, we decided to unite against him. Standing together need is the hour," he said.
Party leader Ahmed Patel alleged that the prime minister betrayed Andhra Pradesh and that its people should expect not anything from this government as it is a dispensation of cheaters and "tod-jod" (patchwork).
"We are solidly supporting Andhra. We are standing with Naidu," he said.
On Monday morning, Naidu said in his speech, "If you won't fulfil our demands, we know how to get them fulfilled. This is about self-respect of people of Andhra Pradesh."
"Whenever there is an attack on our self-respect, we won't tolerate it. I am warning this government and particularly the PM to stop attacking an individual," he added.
Various opposition leaders, including Farooq Abdullah of the Jammu and Kashmir National Conference, NCP's Rajya Sabha member Majeed Memon, Trinamool Congress's Derek O'Brien and Samajwadi Party founder Mulayam Singh Yadav, visited Naidu.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)