Bidar, Aug 13: Congress President Rahul Gandhi kickstarted the party’s poll campaign from Bidar on Monday. Addressing a public meeting at Nehru Stadium, he threw an open challenge to the Modi government at the Centre vis-a-vis farm loans. He said, “I challenge PM Modi from this stage. The Karnataka government has waived off loans of farmers. I challenge you (Centre) to provide 50% of the farm loan waived in Karnataka. If you have a 56-inch chest, I dare you to do this. But you won’t do this.” (Also read: Rahul Gandhi’s Latest Blooper)

Trying to pin the Centre down over the Rafale deal, he said, “Nirmala Sitharaman Ji has lied to the youth of the nation. She said India and France have a secret pact and so they can’t reveal the price of Rafale aircraft. I asked the France President if this is true and he denied it.” Gandhi had raised the same issue in Parliament as well, during the no-confidence motion against the Government. Soon enough, France had issued a statement contradicting the Congress chief. It had said that there indeed was a pact between the two countries to keep details confidential.

On the Centre’s promise of employment opportunities for all, Gandhi said, “Do crore yuvaon ko rozgaar dene ki baat ki. Aur ab kehte hain, pakode banao, hum aapko gas nahi denge, gas bhi aapko naale mein se nikal kar cooker me daalni padegi (They promised employment to two crore youths. Now they ask you to do it all by yourself. They refuse to give you LPG; they expect you to extract it from the gutter).” Gandhi was referring to PM Modi’s anecdote at an event where he said that a tea-seller was extricating gas from a gutter and running his stall.

According to Deccan Chronicle, besides the rally, Gandhi would be felicitated by the local unit of the Congress for his appointment as the President of the AICC. It said he would be launching ‘Jana Dwani Yatra’. The rally will also be a special occasion for three-term MLA from Bhalki, Eshwar Khandre, who was recently appointed the working president of KPCC. It’s the first time that a leader from the district has been elevated to the second top position in the party, said daily.