New Delhi: A combative Rahul Gandhi on Thursday launched yet another scathing attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, accusing him of playing vendetta politics by scrapping a proposed food park in his parliamentary constituency Amethi.
While Home Minister Rajnath Singh rebutted the charge, assuring that there was "no question of revengeful politics", Human Resource Development Minister Smriti Irani hit back at the Congress vice president for the lack of development in Amethi, saying what the Gandhi family could not do in decades, the Modi government did in the last one year.
Speaking in the Lok Sabha, Gandhi sought to remind Modi of his 2014 election speech in Amethi when he said that "he was not a practitioner of politics of revenge but one of change".
"In this country, promises are important for politicians, specially those made by the prime minister," Gandhi said, telling Modi to remember his campaign promise now that the food park project was being cancelled.
"The food park project has been cancelled. The food park would make a huge difference to the lives of Amethi's farmers... Please don't cancel it," he said.
Gandhi quoted farmers in Amethi as complaining that they sold a kilo of potatoes for Rs.2 but a pack of potato chips, worth only a rupee, cost Rs.10.
Taking a jibe at Modi, he referred to the prime minister's gold-striped suit as he told the treasury benches: "I am not talking about suit but potato."
The home minister, however, said that "there is no question of revengeful politics."
"I also hail from a farmer's family ... as far as my information (goes), maybe the company has refused (to build) it," Rajnath Singh said in the Lok Sabha, adding that he will "personally inform" Gandhi about it.
"We want to develop the country and the ruling party can't do it alone," he added.
Irani, meanwhile, took on the Congress for failing to initialise the project despite its deep-entrenched rule in Amethi and claimed that Bharatiya Janata Party workers tended to the needs of the people the Gandhi bastion.
"No step was taken by the Congress leader to make Amethi Food Park a reality since its announcement in 2010," Irani said at a press conference at the party headquarters here, without taking Rahul's name.
"Since the member of parliament from Amethi was out of the country for 56 days, and has no time to visit there, he is not feeling the change that has taken place there in the last one year," she said.
Irani also attacked the Gandhi family for poor rail connectivity between Amethi and Rae Bareli, the constituency of party chief Sonia Gandhi.
Meanwhile, Rahul Gandhi, speaking to the media outside the parliament soon after raising the issue, noted that the project must materialise in the interest of farmers and labourers.
"Rajnath ji said that he would look into the issue... But there is nothing hidden in the matter that needs to be looked into. Either the project is approved or it is killed. Anyway, let us give them (the government) some time," he said.
He added the food park was "one of the most important projects" in Amethi and the surrounding districts because it gave farmers the "opportunity... to directly sell their produce and make much better money".
"The prime minster had mentioned he is not going to do 'badle ki rajneeti' (politics of vendetta). But silently the food park project is killed. It is also bad for the credibility of the prime minister... if he goes back on his words."