Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Thursday said the Bharatiya Janata Party-led central government wants to trap India like a golden bird in cage. Gandhi was speaking at the Sanjhi Virasat rally in New Delhi that was attended by representatives from several Opposition parties. Gandhi said the Opposition parties wanted to stop the BJP from imprisoning India.

Loktantrik Janata Dal leader Sharad Yadav, who spearheaded the event at Talkatora stadium, thanked the representatives of the Opposition parties who attended the meeting. Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader Sitaram Yechury was among the leaders seen on stage.

The Congress leader took a jibe at his BJP counterpart, Amit Shah, when the microphone that he was using went inaudible for a few seconds. “Amit Shah ne mike off kar diya [Amit Shah turned the microphone off,” Gandhi joked after the technical glitch.

In his address at the event, Gandhi said there were two perspectives on the country in India. “The media asks that the people of the Opposition are standing against the BJP and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, but they all have different ideologies,” Gandhi said. “The country has two different perspectives. BJP President Amit Shah has proposed that India is a gold bird...The British also called India a gold bird. He [Shah] is imprisoning this bird in a cage.”

The Congress leader said that the Opposition does not want a BJP-free country. “We want to show them that our ideology is strong, sustainable and will defeat their ideology,” Gandhi said. The Congress leader accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi “stole the Rafale defence contract from Hindustan Aeronautics Limited and handed it to his friend who had a debt of Rs 45,000 crore”.

Gandhi also appealed to people to donate to the Kerala flood relief fund. “Let us rally behind the people of Kerala in their time of need and use the power of social media to do some good,” Gandhi said.

Invitations to the convention were purportedly sent to several Opposition leaders, including Samajwadi Party President Akhilesh Yadav, West Bengal Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee, Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati, Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Nara Chandrababu Naidu, Janata Dal (Secular) chief HD Deve Gowda, former Jharkhand chief minister Hemant Soren and Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam working president MK Stalin, ANI reported.