Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi will arrive in Mumbai on April 12 to express solidarity with striking jewellers at Zaveri Bazaar.
Gandhi’s visit is to exploit the growing unrest among the jewellers across the country against the Modi government for its decision to levy one per cent excise duty.
The jewellers’ associations displaying their unity have sustained their protests for the last 40 days across the country. The commercial capital has maximum jewellers operating in Zaveri Bazaar, in south Mumbai.
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Former MP Milind Deora on Saturday said, “Rahulji will visit Mumbai to support the jewellers’ concern which has been completely overlooked by the Modi government. The Congress VP had also expressed solidatiry with the striking jewellers when they staged a protest at Delhi’s Jantar Mantar.”
Deora, who had represented the South Mumbai Lok Sabha constituency last term, said, “It is unfortunate that nobody from the government is giving audience and understanding the jewellers’ problems. I would appeal to the government to withdraw the excise duty.”
Interestingly, Deora has played a significant role in getting the Congress leader’s nod to visit Zaveri Bazaar.
The BJP now finds itself in the catch. While on one hand, it cannot oppose its government’s budget decision to enforce one per cent tax, on the other, it fears it would lose its support among the jewellers if they don’t give up their strike.
Mumbai Congress president Sanjay Nirupam said, “There are seven crore families who rely on jems and jewellery business. The BJP government is determined to destroy their businesses. It is extremely unfortunate that the manner in which they have ignored the jewellers.”
“The least one expected was to hold a dialogue with them and try to address the concerns. The jewellers have been on stirke seeking help for last 40 days. And there is no response from the Modi government,” he added.