Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi Wednesday called the government’s move to impose excise duty on non-silver jewellery as an “assassination attempt” on small businessmen. Rahul, who joined the jewellers’ protest at Jantar Mantar, once again ridiculed the Centre’s ‘Make in India’ initiative, saying it was a “babbar sher” — a reference to the programme’s logo — that wanted to “strangulate” small businesses.
“Why has Modiji made a lion the symbol of his movement? Whose strengths are behind this symbol?…Behind this symbol is the strength of 5-10 industrialists, and today this ‘Make in India’ lion, by means of excise, is trying to strangle small businessmen. That is the truth. When Modiji talks of ‘Make In India’, he talks of five or 10 big industrialists… This is not excise duty, this is an assassination attempt on you… Why are you being killed? Who will benefit from this? First, the big industrialists will benefit from this and second, those who want to take your money through pressure and blackmail,” said Rahul, while addressing a protest rally organised by the All India Bullion Jewellers and Swarnkar Foundation.
Asserting that it was Congress’ job to help traders get rid of their “pain and fear”, he took a dig at PM Narendra Modi saying that while he expresses his ‘Mann ki Baat’, he does not let others do so. “BJP has some politicians who might want to help you, but those politicians are scared. They fear repercussions if they speak up…Modiji says his ‘Mann ki Baat’ but he doesn’t want to hear what farmers, labourers, our small businessmen and our jewellers have in their hearts. My job is to make him hear your voice, and I will do that,” he said.