Rebutting allegations that the recent Income Tax Department searches on premises of opposition party leaders or their aides were politically motivated, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday said in Sidhi, Madhya Pradesh, that the law is equal for all Indians, and raids should be carried out at his home, too, if he has done anything wrong.
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Addressing a rally later in the evening at Mumbai’s Bandra Kurla Complex, he said that the question being discussed now is whether the Congress will cross the 50-seat mark in this election. Referring to the recent I-T raids on people close to MP Chief Minister Kamal Nath, Modi said in Sidhi that money meant for pregnant women had been diverted to “Tughlaq Road”, a likely reference to Rahul Gandhi’s residence in New Delhi’s Tughlaq Lane. He alleged that the money was used to fund the campaign of “naamdar” — or dynast, a word the Prime Minister uses to refer to the Congress president.
“Yet,” Modi said, “his aides ask why Modi carries out raids only at Congress leaders’ premises. I don’t carry out raids, the Income Tax Department does. They say, ‘we belong to the Congress — we are leaders. We are relative of the chief minister’.”
He added: “Agar Modi bhi gadbad kar raha hai to uske ghar bhi raid padhna chahiye — kanoon sabke liye samaan hona chahiye (if Modi does something wrong, then his house should also be raided — the law should remain the same for all.”
In Mumbai, Modi tried to woo the middle class by saying that his government has checked a rise in tax, curbed inflation and tackled corruption. Stressing that the middle class has the potential to drive the country and its honesty and hard work is the backbone of “New India”, Modi said the Congress has called this section of the population “selfish”.
He said, “Our government has maintained three constants that have a direct bearing on the honest middle class. (Rise in) tax, inflation and corruption have been checked. During the Congress regime, the middle class was always overburdened with rising taxes and inflation. The inflation index has come down from 10 per cent to 4 per cent, and in 2019 (interim) Budget, tax exemption up to Rs 5 lakh has been considered, providing huge relief to the middle class.”
Earlier, addressing a second election rally in MP — at Jabalpur — Modi defended his demonetisation decision and said people supported his hard decisions because they trust him, and that only a handful of people did not like the decision. The Congress is so affected by demonetisation that its leaders are still crying, he said.
He also said that the Congress abuses nationalism because its leaders are busy perpetuating dynastic politics and cited the examples of the chief ministers of Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh. He said both leaders are busy improving the prospects of their sons — for Lok Sabha elections from Jodhpur and Chhindwara, respectively.
“Will those busy in improving the careers of their son worry about crores of others? That’s why they abuse nationalism. It’s due to your and the country’s power that their mouths are sealed, otherwise they outdo each other in batting for Pakistan,’’ he said. In Mumbai, Modi said: “Confusion is the other name of the Congress. If 2014 saw its worst performance, in 2019 the party is going to create another record of contesting the fewest seats…. What is being discussed about Congress is, will they get 44 seats or cross 50 seats or 40 seats?”
He also accused successive Congress governments of having neglected the police force and turning it into a “punching bag”. Had it not been for the alertness of Mumbai Police, who paid a heavy price, the city would have paid a greater price due to terror activities, he said.
Modi’s praise for the police comes days after BJP candidate and Malegaon blast-accused Pragya Thakur’s controversial statement about slain IPS officer Hemant Karkare.