Rahul Gandhi sees Adani hand in Narendra Modi’s growth model

Rahul Gandhi during a public rally in Botad on Saturday. (Javed Raja) Rahul Gandhi during a public rally in Botad on Saturday. (Javed Raja)

Claiming that the ‘Gujarat Model’ propagated by BJP’s prime ministerial candidate and the state’s Chief Minister Narendra Modi was benefiting only one business group — the Adanis, at the cost of farmers and small businessmen, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi on Saturday said in Amreli and Botad that this was either a ‘Modi Model’ or even an ‘Adani Model’. He also scoffed at BJP’s claims of women empowerment, citing the case of his government snooping on the woman architect.

Addressing an election rally in Amreli, Rahul said the RSS’s “poisonous” ideology was engrained in the BJP’s PM candidate, something that Sardar Patel had warned as being potent enough to destroy the country.

Reiterating his earlier statement that Gujarat thrived on a “toffee model” under Modi, Rahul said, “They gave away 45,000 acres of land to Adani for Re 1 per sqm, they awarded Adani power contracts worth Rs 26,000 crore at a meager amount of Rs 10,000 crore and also gave away land belonging to poor farmers and labourers. This is the Gujarat model,” Rahul said, also alleging that the BJP was setting up huge billboards with money given by Adanis.

Gandhi went on to allege that education has become a business in Gujarat that only the children of the rich can afford. “We spent Rs 30,000 for NREGA across the country. But Modi handed over gifts, worth Rs 40,000 crore, to only one businessman in Gujarat. This means, he gave away more money to one businessman (Adani) than our total spending on NREGA for the entire country… Gujarat government’s budget for education and health is Rs 10,000 crore. But he gave away four times that amount to one businessman,” he said, adding on a sarcastic tone, “Gujarat is shining…”.

Gandhi alleged that the Gujarat government was taking away farmers’ land “in two minutes”, while the the UPA amended the 100-year-old land acquisition act to stop just that.

While maintaining that Congress was the party that worked for the poor, he toed Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s line when he described the 2014 elections as a “fight between two ideologies”, in Botad, and said, “…And on the other side there is the BJP ideology .an ideology of anger…an ideology that makes people fight against each other…an ideology that forms a government of 2-3 businessmen.”

According to Rahul, it was because of Modi favouring Adani that a few other businessmen that senior BJP leaders like L K Advani, Sushma Swaraj, Jaswant Singh and Yashwant Sinha had been sidelined.

Also taking a dig at Modi over the alleged snooping on a woman by Gujarat police, Rahul said, “There are posters in Delhi telling he would empower women. But women in India are already powerful. All they need is some respect. But what do they here? Gujarat police taps phone calls of a woman.

They ask police to keep a watch on her movements.”
Speaking in the newly formed district of Botad, he said, “Neither would women have any respect, nor would farmers or labourers…there will be only be one word …I did this…I did that…I, I,. I, I,.)”

Accusing Modi of spreading lies, Gandhi said, “Modiji’s style is to snatch from the poor and give to that one person, so that he would take care of his marketing…speak lies before the country and that is how he will pull it off.”

Taking further potshots at Modi, he said that he does not get sleep “.until he tells 5-6 lies a day”. Praising Gujarat’s age-old dairy co-operatives and diamond industry, he slammed Modi for taking all the credit, when he said, “Modiji the cows of Gujarat and that is how India got milk. India drank that milk…what he did to Gujarat, .he will now do to the country. He will milk each and every cow in the country and distribute it to the entire world,” Gandhi said.