Rahul Gandhi addressing a rally in Howrah. (Photo: ANI)
Taking a dig at West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on issue of unemployment and corruption, Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi ridiculed Prime Minister Narendra Modi's criticism of her and reminded the people that the Trinamool Congress and the BJP had a past alliance in the state.
"Modiji comes to Bengal and says I am opposed to Mamataji. Don't forget that Mamataji's party had an alliance with the BJP in Bengal," Gandhi said at an election meeting in Howrah district on Saturday.
Attacking Banerjee for not keeping the "big promises" she had made before the 2011 assembly polls in Bengal, Gandhi said "She had declared she would usher in change. But five years down the line there has been no change in the state."
Congress vice president said the jute industries which provided jobs to lakhs have now closed down one after the other, while 50,000 people who used to work in brick kilns are now unemployed.
Gandhi said if the Congress-Left coalition government comes to power it would provide alternative employment to workers of closed jute mills and brick kilns.
He said earlier people used to come to Bengal to look for jobs, but now the youth have to venture out to other states. "Everybody knows, Mamataji's government cannot provide jobs," he said.
Bringing up the Saradha chit fund scam, he said under the Mamata regime, money was "looted from the people" by the perpetrators of the scandal.
Gandhi then turned to the collapse of the Vivekananda flyover in north Kolkata last month, and said the injured and the families of the dead told him that the structure came down as the contract was given to a Trinamool worker "who used inferior quality cement and steel" and did not complete the work even in five years.
"But none of Mamataji's party workers suffered. It is the common people whose dear ones died or were injured."
Gandhi said the survivors told him of the "'syndicate raj and mafia raj. "They implored me to eradicate mafia raj."
Comparing Banerjee with Modi, he said both had the habit of making false promises.
"Modi promised two crore jobs. Mamataji promised 70 lakh jobs in Bengal. But have Modiji, Mamataji given employment to a single person? No."
Gandhi said: "Modi promised to bring back black money stashed abroad, and then unveiled a Fair and Lovely scheme where people could make black money white by paying some tax. Similarly, Mamataji promised to fight corruption, and then gave you Saradha."
Congress vice president said his party has entered into an alliance with the Left Front in Bengal against the syndicate raj, and to ensure jobs, development and progress for the people.
He said the coalition government will take strong action against those responsible for the Saradha scam and the Trinamool leaders seen accepting money illegally in a sting operation.
"We will take strong action and give your money back".