The Congress has lost all political credibility when it comes to addressing the issue of poverty, Union minister Nitin Gadkari said on Thursday, taking a dig at Rahul Gandhi's proposed "Nyay" scheme by invoking Congress prime ministers, who, he claimed, had vowed to eradicate poverty and failed.
Addressing a press conference at the BJP office in New Delhi, Gadkari also alleged that the Congress had deliberately created "fear" in the minds of the minorities to divert attention from performance, work and development, which should have been the issues in the ongoing Lok Sabha election.
"The Congress party has no credibility. After 1947, (then prime minister Jawaharlal) Nehru said he will remove poverty. Then Indira Gandhi said this. She used the slogan of removing poverty and won (elections), but poverty did not go. Then Rajiv Gandhi repeated that, then Sonia Gandhi and then Manmohan Singh, but poverty did not go.
"Now, even Panditji's (Nehru) great-grandson is saying the same thing. If he (Congress chief Rahul Gandhi) will remove poverty by giving Rs 72,000, then what did Pandit Nehru, Indira Gandhi, Manmohan Singh do? That is why the political credibility of the Congress in removing poverty has ended," he said.
The senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader further alleged that the Congress had a history of injustice and since 1947, it had been responsible for "wrong economic policies, bad and corrupt governance and visionless leadership".
"So, 'Nyay' will not happen, because with justice, the person doling it out should also be trustworthy," he said.
Gadkari also lashed out at the opposition party for the abuse it had meted out to Prime Minister Narendra Modi during its poll campaign and said he had a list of 56 such abuses.
"The Congress deliberately wants to ensure that performance and work do not become poll issues. That is why they have done two things.
"One, fear is their biggest capital. Create fear in the minds of Dalits, minorities, SCs and STs. Two, ensure that a discussion on the work done in five years, which had not happened in 50 years, does not take place. If the discussion revolves around development, then they know they will be in trouble," he said.
Under the Modi government, the social sector had benefitted immensely, Gadkari said, while talking about opening of bank accounts, roads, water and electricity.
"Last time during the Kumbh, the prime minister of Mauritius could not go for a bath in the Ganga.... This time, 20 crore people visited the Kumbh and took bath in the river. For the first time, the Ganga was pure and clean.
"We did what we promised. We made the waterways and that is why (Congress leader) Priyanka (Gandhi Vadra) could travel from Prayagraj to Varanasi on a boat while abusing us continuously. I want to ask her, had we not made the waterway, how would she have done that? She could drink the water thrice because we have cleaned the Ganga water. Or else, she would have also had to leave like the Mauritius PM," the Union minister for road transport and highways said.
He said it was unfortunate that those who had promoted the accused in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots, those who had failed to give justice to the victims were now talking about "Nyay".
"The politics of performance and development is our biggest asset. Our schemes have reached every nook and cranny of this country and that is how we want to fight the election. The lowering of the standard of the discourse during this election has been noticed by the people of this country. We will form a BJP-led NDA government with a record mandate," Gadkari said.