Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi, who is on a visit to poll-bound Gujarat, lashed out at the ruling party over host of issues including GST, demonetisation, unemployment as well as the controversy surrounding Amit Shah’s son Jay Shah and his company. The visit that is called the Navsarjan Yatra is said to be Congress’ campaign in Gujarat to understand the local issues as well as to boost the spirit of the party workers. The first phase of the visit ended on September 29.
Today, Gandhi started his day from Ahmedabad and addressed rallies and interacted with people along the way. He also met the Amul Plant workers in Kheda and the representatives of Mahila Milk Cooperatives in Anand. He also visited Nadiad, Sardar Patel’s birthplace. His last stop for the day was Vadodara.
Here are the key takeaways from Gandhi’s Day-1 in Gujarat:
Hitting out at the BJP for making hasty decisions like demonetisation, Gandhi criticised party’s shortsightedness. “Vajpayeeji had called Rajiv Gandhi ‘mad’, when he introduced computers; but a leader has to be visionary. When telecom revolution happened, no one was hurt; it was due to strategic thinking. You cannot implement a policy forcefully in a day,” Gandhi said. He also added that India cannot be made cashless immediately. The process needs to be brought in smoothly.
Gandhi scion also lashed out at the central government for hurrying through the process of GST. He said, “Any economic reform has to be tested with a response from people; law and taxes have to be evolved. We had told the govt to take GST slowly to the people by testing it; but Jaitley ji was not in the mood. We have been telling the govt to make uniform slab of 18 per cent. Idea of GST is one tax, (Modi’s) is flawed tax.” He also added that if petrol and diesel prices are brought under the purview of GST, the plummeting fuel prices can be kept under check.
Warning the parties about the rising rate of unemployment in the country, Gandhi said that in India, 30,000 people come to the job market in every 24 hours. The government is however, able to give employment only to 450 people. Chinese government on the other hand gives jobs to 50,000 daily. “Excuses won’t work when it comes to jobs. If the government does not employ 30,000-40,000 people daily in the next five to ten years, then no one will be able to control the anger that will spread,” he said, adding “Employment should be discussed; we discuss only religion and social anger.”
Continuing his attack against the party, Rahul Gandhi said, “You cannot run this country by cruelty; compassion (Karuna) is the key. If you don’t listen to people in a country like India, you will hurt them; government must hear.” He added, BJP does extreme things; but Congress has also not focused on small businesses perfectly. “I must admit. Our record was better than their’s (NDA), but even our record was five on ten. Both BJP and Congress are parties of India’s ideologies. I Will never say that I want to finish BJP from the country. I will fight BJP”.
Gandhi also thanked BJP for the massive defeat to Congress in 2014. “BJP has done a great favour to me by abusing, attacking and defeating me in 2014; taught me a lesson.”
On Jay Shah’s business:
The Congress leader urged PM Modi to “say something” on the reports of how Amit Shah’s son Jay Shah’s company made a huge turnover post NDA was elected to power. “Modi ji, Jay Shah-jada’ kha gaya. Aap chowkidaar the ya bhaagidaar, kuch to boliye (Modi ji, Amit Shah’s son has eaten a lot. Are you a gatekeeper or a partner, at least say something).” Taking a dig at the party, Gandhi on Sunday in a tweet said “We finally found the only beneficiary of Demonetisation. It’s not the RBI, the poor or the farmers. It’s the Shah-in-Shah of Demo. Jai Amit.”
On Gujarat’s development
Refering to the “Vikas gando thayo chhe” campaign started by the party to mock the claims of development by the BJP government in the state, Gandhi said, “Gujarat knows that Narendra Modi’s Gujarat Model has failed. Gujarat mein vikaas ko kya hua? Ye kaise pagal hua? Ye jhooth sun sun ke pagal ho gaya hai.” (What happened to development in Gujarat? Lies have led to its failure).
(With inputs from Aditi Raja, ANI)