Union Home Minister Amit Shah, while campaigning for the Assembly elections in Puducherry on Sunday, hit out at Congress leader Rahul Gandhi for not knowing that the Centre had set up a fisheries department back in 2019. Several Bharatiya Janata Party leaders have criticised the Congress leader for his remark.

“Bhaiya [brother] Rahul, you were on vacation [when the fisheries department was set up],” Shah said at a rally in Puducherry’s Karaikal town. “Modi ji [Prime Minister Narendra Modi] had finished work on the department in 2019 itself, but you [Gandhi] don’t know that.”

Shah added: “I want to ask the people of Puducherry something. The party whose leader has been in the Lok Sabha for four terms does not even know that a fisheries department already exists. Can that party benefit Puducherry?”

Shah also hit back at the Congress for accusing the BJP of toppling its government in the Union territory. “A person who lied to his own leader while translating was made the chief minister by the Congress,” Shah added.

The Union home minister’s reference was to controversy surrounding former Puducherry Chief Minister V Narayanasamy’s incorrect translation of a fisherwoman’s remark at an event earlier this month, which was also attended by Gandhi.

Has he [Narayanasamy] come and met us even once during the cyclone [Nivar]?” the woman said, according to The Hindu. Narayanasamy, on the other hand, told Gandhi the exact opposite. “During cyclone Nivar, I came here and distributed relief assistance,” the former Puducherry chief minister said.

Also read: After Modi mocks Rahul Gandhi’s ‘fisheries’ remarks, Congress leader says ‘need dedicated ministry’

Shah added that the Congress had weakened because of dynasty politics. He accused Narayansamy of focusing more on serving the Gandhi family than the welfare of the people.

Rahul Gandhi had on February 17 talked about the need for a separate fisheries ministry, drawing heavy criticism from several Union ministers. On Wednesday, Gandhirepeated his promise to form a central ministry dedicated to the fisherfolk during a visit to Kerala’s Kollam city. Modi, while campaigning in Puducherry on Thursday, had expressed shock at Gandhi’s error.

Elections for 30 Assembly seats in Puducherry will be held on April 6 in a single phase. The counting of votes will take place on May 2.

The recent collapse of the Congress government in Puducherry led to the imposition of President’s Rule on Thursday. The BJP said it will not stake claim to form a government, but expressed confidence that the it will win in the Assembly election.

‘Wealth disparity became stronger under BJP’: Rahul Gandhi

Meanwhile, Gandhi, while campaigning in election-bound Tamil Nadu, alleged that wealth disparity had become wider under the BJP government, PTI reported.

“When we were in government in the UPA [United Progressive Alliance], we noticed that the wealth distribution in India was becoming very skewed,” the Congress leader said. “While a few people were getting very very rich, many were poor. “And now since the BJP has come [to power at the Centre] that has become much much stronger.”

He assured salt pan workers in Tamil Nadu that the Congress will implement the NYAY scheme when it comes to power at the Centre. The scheme promises to provide Rs 72,000 to the poor annually.