Questioning Prime Minister Narendra Modi's "silence" over alleged atrocities on Dalits, Congress president Rahul Gandhi today accused him of muzzling Dalit voice in Parliament.
Modi, he alleged, was favouring a handful of industrialists and neglecting the weaker sections.
"Modiji talks about (Baba Saheb) Ambedkar, but does not allow Kharge ji (Mallikarjun Kharge) to speak in Lok Sabha.
"His men (saffron outfits) are crushing and beating up Dalits and tribals across the country, but Modiji does not utter a word," Gandhi told an election meeting here.
The Congress chief's counter-attack came a day after Modi claimed at an election rally at Kalaburagi that the Congress did not make Mallikarjun Kharge, a Dalit, the chief minister of Karnataka even though he was projected for the top post during the 2013 polls.
Kharge, the leader of Congress in the Lok Sabha, had hit back at the prime minister, saying he does not need Modi's "crocodile tears" for Dalits or himself.
"They killed Rohit Vemula and beat up Dalits in Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra, and yet he remains silent," Gandhi, on his 8th visit to election-bound Karnataka, said.
He said the Congress government in Karnataka was the only one in the country to have added half the money to the funds allocated by the Centre for the welfare of Dalits and tribals, and spent it on them.
Gandhi alleged that the money the Modi government saved due to fall in international crude oil prices was given to 5-10 industrialists, instead of spending it for the welfare of weaker sections, Dalits and women.
The Congress leader said even Modi acknowledged Karnataka's employment record which would improve further under the party government.
The Congress, he said, would waive the loans of farmerswithin 10 days of coming to power at the Centre after the 2019 polls.
He said the Congress government would also set up food processing plants to add value to agricultural products and benefit farmers.
Voicing confidence about winning the Karnataka Assembly polls, he said the Congress would defeat BJP and Modi in subsequent elections in Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan before forming the government at the Centre in 2019.