Thane: Congress President Rahul Gandhi targeted Prime Minister Narendra Modi here on Tuesday, accusing him of "keeping silent" on crucial issues confronting the country.
"Modiji is mum on major problems like unemployment and farmers. He does not reply to my questions on petrol price hike, inflation and joblessness. A handful of 15 industrialists are running the country," Gandhi told the media after a hearing in the Bhiwandi Court here.
On the court case, filed by a RSS supporter against Gandhi, the Congress leader said: "Ours is a fight of ideology and system. Let them file any number of court cases against me, I shall fight them, I am not bothered."
Earlier, Bhiwandi Court Judge A.I. Shaikh summoned Gandhi to the witness box and read out the charges against him, to which the Congress President pleaded not guilty.
The next date of hearing was fixed for August 10.
This is Gandhi's first visit to Maharashtra after taking over as Congress President.
Hoardings proclaiming Gandhi as the ‘Future Prime Minister' greeted him on the roads outside the Mumbai Airport to Thane as he was accorded a warm welcome by Congress leaders including state President Ashok Chavan and Mumbai city chief Sanjay Nirupam.
Thereafter, Gandhi proceeded to the Bhiwandi Court in adjoining Thane district which was virtually converted into fortress for the framing of charges in a defamation case against him filed by a Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) worker who objected to Gandhi's utterances at an election rally in March 2014 wherein he blamed the RSS for the killing Mahatma Gandhi.
Later, he will interact with the party's over 15,000 booth-level workers at a function in Bombay Exhibition Centre at Goregaon in Mumbai.
In the evening, Gandhi is scheduled to have a meeting with the party's municipal corporators and is also likely to call on Nationalist Congress President Sharad Pawar.