Addressing his first rally in poll-bound West Bengal, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday criticised both the Bharatiya Janata Party as well as Trinamool Congress leader, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, reported PTI. Gandhi said the saffron party can only offer hatred and violence, and also took a dig at Banerjee for allying with the BJP in the past.

“BJP wants to destroy Bengal’s culture, heritage and divide it,” Gandhi said at a rally in Goalpokhar. “In Assam, they are doing the same thing; in Tamil Nadu, they are trying to do the same thing with their alliance partner AIADMK [All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam]. The BJP has nothing to offer except for hatred, violence and divisive politics.”

The Congress MP said the BJP’s claim of building “Sonar Bangla”, or golden Bengal, was only a mirage. He added that the saffron party “sells the same dream” in all states. “But, they only offer dividing people on the basis of religion, caste and language.”

Gandhi said Banerjee’s fight against the BJP was only a political one. “We have never aligned with the BJP and the RSS,” he said. “Our fight is not just political but ideological too. For Mamata ji, it is just a political fight.”

Gandhi said that if the Congress-Left-Indian Secular Front alliance was voted to power in Bengal, it would usher in a new era of development.

Like several BJP leaders, Gandhi too hit out at Bengal’s “cut money” culture. “You gave opportunity to TMC,” he said. “But, they failed. People of the state have to venture out in search of jobs. This is the only state where you have to pay cut money to get jobs.”

Elections in West Bengal are being held in eight phases, of which four phases are over. The results will be out on May 2.