Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Sunday accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union Home Minister Amit Shah, and the media of distracting people from problems such as agrarian distress and lack of jobs, PTI reported.

This was the former Congress president’s first public rally since the party’s massive defeat in the Lok Sabha elections.

“When the youth ask for jobs, the government tells them to watch the moon,” Gandhi said in Maharashtra’s Latur district. He was referring to Indian Space Research Organisation’s Chandrayaan-2 mission. “The government speaks about [abrogation of] Article 370 and moon, but is silent on problems plaguing the country.”

He claimed that the media was “silent on farmers’ distress, lack of jobs”, and loan waivers for the rich “as it is owned by them”. “Indian Space Research Organisation was established by Congress,” ANI quoted Gandhi as saying. “Rocket did not go there in two days, it took years. Narendra Modi ji is taking its benefit. Sending a rocket to the moon will not feed youth of the country.”

The former Congress president also raised questions about Modi’s meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping, and sought to know if he had asked the latter about the 73-day Doklam standoff in 2017, when Chinese troops came close to Indian territory.

Maharashtra goes to the polls on October 21, and results will be declared three days later.

‘Man with 56-inch chest’ did what others could not: Amit Shah

Union Home Minister Amit Shah, meanwhile, hit out at the Nationalist Congress Party and the Congress for their opposition to the withdrawal of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir, and praised Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his decision, PTI reported.

He made the remarks at a rally in Maharashtra’s Kolhapur district. He claimed previous governments did not have the courage shown by the “man with 56-inch chest” to integrate the conflict-ridden region with India’s mainstream.

“After people of the country and Maharashtra voted him for the second term, Modi ji did something for which the entire country was waiting for 70 years...he abrogated Article 370 on August 5 and joined Jammu and Kashmir with the country’s mainstream,” Shah added.

He criticised Congress leader Rahul Gandhi and Nationalist Congress Party President Sharad Pawar for their stand on the matter. “It was the Congress which, by imposing Article 370, stopped the process of integrating Jammu and Kashmir with India for several years,” claimed the BJP president. “As a result, thousands of our people lost their lives due to terrorism, but still there was no intention of any party to remove Article 370.”

Shah claimed the Narendra Modi government strengthened national security while during Congress rule terrorists from Pakistan used to infiltrate Indian territory and kill soldiers. “They used to decapitate our soldiers, but the then prime minister ‘Mouni baba’ Manmohan Singh never used to utter a single word,” the home minister added. “But after the Uri and Pulwama attacks, Modi ji showed the courage of killing terrorists in their den through surgical strike and air strikes.”

Shah praised Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, saying the state had improved because of his able administration. “During 15 years of the Congress-NCP regime, the state’s ranking came below 15,” the home minister added. “But, during the present Fadnavis government, the state has managed to gain its ranking and in all these fields, the state is in the first five.”

Earlier in the day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi challenged the Opposition to declare in their manifesto they would bring back Article 370.

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