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Rahul calls Modi 'darpok'; dares him to 5 min debate on Rafale and national security

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

Mounting a fresh offensive on Narendra Modi, Thursday called the a "darpok" (coward) and dared him to a five minute face-to-face debate on issues such as the controversial Rafale jet deal and national security.

Addressing the Congress' minority department convention here, a combative Gandhi also alleged that the RSS was trying to capture the institutions of the country and said his party's governments in Rajasthan, and Chhatisgarh will remove the organisation's loyalists from the system.

In his speech covering a range of topics, Gandhi slammed Modi for his policy, saying the flew to the country and held a summit without an agenda while sent its to Doklam, a reference to the China-border standoff in 2017.

Modi folded his hands before China, the claimed, adding that realised within two months that "leave alone 56 inches, he doesn't even have a four-inch chest".

"I know his (Modi) character after fighting him for five years...I say to leaders... make stand with me on stage for five minutes and debate on national security, Rafale," Gandhi said in his speech in Hindi.

"I want to say he is a darpok (coward) person. I have recognised him. He gets scared when he faces someone who says I will not back off, he backs off," the said, walking away dramatically from the mike for visual effect, eliciting applause from Congress workers.

In a speech laced with sarcasm, Gandhi did not spare Hindutva ideologue V D Savarkar, mocking him for allegedly taking instructions from the British.

Gandhi urged his party's workers to face the RSS, the and Modi with all their might. If Congress workers stand together, they (RSS, BJP, Modi) will run away as "they are cowards", he added.

The Congress said fear was writ large on Modi's face and asserted that those who spread hatred will be defeated.

Declaring that the "image of is finished", Gandhi said, "He now knows you can't rule by dividing people."

The Congress chief alleged that the RSS was attempting to capture the country's institutions, from the judiciary to the

"We have not merely formed governments in Rajasthan, and .. we will ensure that RSS people put in institutions in these states are removed," he said.

Gandhi claimed that informed him that there was a special ministry in the state under the rule to which Rs 800 crore were given and it was full of RSS people.

"In these states (MP, Chhattisgarh, and Rajasthan), one by one, we will do the work of removing RSS people from government's institutions. The bureaucracy of these states should know and India's bureaucracy should know that you are not RSS' bureaucracy, but India's bureaucracy," Gandhi said.

He asserted that irrespective of language, religion, and caste, the Congress party will always protect all Indians.

The aim of the RSS is to set aside the Constitution and run the country from Nagpur, he alleged.

"The RSS puts its people in the judicial system, in the The if he wants to probe Narendra Modi, he is set aside and an RSS person is put in his place. Their aim is to finish all institutions in the country," Gandhi alleged.

He also alleged that Modi was the face but the government was being run by

"With as PM, four judges come out and say that 'we are not being allowed to work' and in the same line take the name of Justice and indirectly say that BJP is not allowing the to do its work," Gandhi said, referring to CBI B H who was hearing the Sohrabuddin Sheikh and died in on December 1, 2014.

The RSS and the BJP think that they are above India, but in three months the country will make them understand that it is not so, Gandhi said.

He alleged Modi snatched the Rafale contract from and helped to make a profit of Rs 30,000 crore.

The government, as well as Anil Ambani, have strongly denied any wrongdoing in the fighter jet agreement with

"Do you accept that five years ago PM Narendra Modi's reputation was very good. Do you accept that today Narendra Modi is a thief. He can't even speak openly," Gandhi said.

In his tenure Modi gave Rs 3.5 lakh crore to 15 industrialists, Gandhi alleged.

"I asked the team framing the Congress manifesto to give something that shakes up the country. I asked them to give me something that I could offer loudly and change the mood of the people," he said of his party's minimum income promise for the poor.

The minimum income amount will be deposited in the of the poor across the country by the Congress, he said.

"If Modi ji can give lakhs of crores of rupees to 15 individuals, we can also put money in the pocket of the poor people," he said.

This decision will be first of its kind in the world, where a big country like will directly transfer money in the accounts of poor people, Gandhi said, adding that this will eradicate poverty.

Gandhi again brought up the Rafale deal while talking to reporters after his meeting with the party's general secretaries.

"The Prime Minister has helped steal Rs 30,000 crore from the defense forces and handed it to and he has done it personally. Please remember what I have said. He has done it personally," he alleged.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Thu, February 07 2019. 21:00 IST