The Congress on Monday called the Bharatiya Janata Party’s manifesto a “jumla manifesto” and a “balloon of lies”. The BJP released its list of election promises for the Lok Sabha elections earlier in the day.

Congress leader Ahmed Patel said at a press conference that the difference between the Congress and BJP manifestos is clear from their cover pages.

“On the one hand, you see I, me, myself,” Patel said about the BJP’s document, which features Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the cover. “This person has no relationship to the country, to his party, or even to the leaders of his party.” On the other hand, he said, the Congress manifesto is about the people of India.

After calling the BJP’s manifesto a document full of fake promises, Patel said the saffron party should instead have brought out an “apology document”. Patel said Modi never fulfils the promises he makes in the BJP’s manifesto, but only resorts to gimmicks such as “chowkidar”, “chaiwala” and “kaamdar”.

The Congress leader said the manifesto contains little about addressing the problem of unemployment. “The manifesto talks about exports, but how will you export when your manufacturing units are not in place?” he asked.

“You can fool all people some of the time, you can fool some people all the time, but you cannot fool everyone all the time,” Patel said. “The people of India have now realised your intentions well.”

Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala claimed that the government has poisoned the trust reposed in it by the people of the country. “When senior BJP leader Murli Manohar Joshi, who headed the 2014 manifesto committee for the party, was asked what marks he would give the Modi government, he said, ‘I can give marks only if something is written in the copy’.”

Surjewala said that Modi did not answer any questions when the BJP manifesto was released, nor did reporters dare to ask him. He claimed there were many major promises the BJP had failed to fulfil over the last five years.

The Congress leader said that instead of two crore jobs being added per year as per the promise in the 2014 manifesto of the BJP, 4.70 crore jobs had been lost in the last four years. He said the rate of unemployment is the highest in the last 45 years.

Surjewala said the government has failed in its promise to provide minimum support price for farmers at 50% more than the cost of production.

Surjewala said India’s debt stands at Rs 81 lakh crore, compared to Rs 54 lakh crore in 2014. He said this translates to Rs 45,000 crore debt per month, and claimed that the Modi-led government is drowning the country in debts.

“They promised to make petrol and diesel cheaper, but then they imposed excise duty on fuel, looting the people of Rs 12 lakh crore,” the Congress spokesperson alleged. “They promised to build 100 smart cities, but not a single one has been built. Only 7% of the funds have been spent. That is why the manifesto is silent on smart cities and Skill India.”

He accused Modi of committing atrocities against the Indian Army and neglecting it while using the Army’s sacrifices for political gain.

Surjewala said that the BJP had promised to reduce the exchange rate of a rupee to a dollar to 40, but after five years, the rupee is the “weakest currency” in Asia. The Congress leader also said that 80% of the funds allocated to the Clean Ganga programme have remained unspent, and the river has remained dirty.

The Lok Sabha elections will be held in seven phases from April 11 to May 19, and the results will be declared on May 23.