GST, in his words “Gabbar Singh Tax”, demonetisation and the government’s waiver of corporate loans — these were among Rahul Gandhi’s pet topics to attack Prime Minister Narendra Modi and seek votes for the Congress in the Lok Sabha poll campaign.
Cut to October. Nearly five months after his party faced defeat in the Lok Sabha polls, Rahul more or less spoke on the same issues. Unlike last time, he did not embark on a whirlwind campaign in Maharashtra and Haryana. He addressed only five rallies in Maharashtra and two in Haryana, but his speeches largely mirrored those made during the Lok Sabha campaign. The only addition was the slowdown in economy. The cut in corporate tax figured along with the corporate loan waiver attack. Sample these:
Demonetisation; April 5, Chandrapur (Maharashtra)
Did you benefit from notebandi? Is there a single person here who can say that they notebandi benefited him?…small businesses, middle-sized businesses, industry…all of them were finished. Lakhs lost their jobs. And he says hang me…the fight is against black money. The fight was against black money…you all were standing in queues before banks…did you see any of the corrupt standing in the queue. Did you see Anil Ambani? Standing in queues were farmers, labourers, unemployed youth, women…and those with black money converted their black money into white.
October 13, Dharavi (Maharashtra)
“He did notebandi. You were told that it was a fight against black money. You saw the queues. Did you see any black money thief in the queue? You all were standing in the queues. The poor people of Dharavi queued up outside banks…..was Adani in the line? Was Ambani in the queue? Vijay Mallya, Lalit Modi..were they all there? The fight against black money ended in taking money from your pockets and putting in the bank accounts of Nirav Modi,”Adani and Ambani.”
NPA write-off; May 17, Solan (Himachal Pradesh)
“Narendra Modi has waived off debts to the tune of Rs 5.55 lakh crore. Wherever I go, I say why don’t you waive off the debts of farmers. Think. Rs 35,000 crore is the annual budget of MGNREGA. Narendra Modi gave Rs 35000 crore to Nirav Modi. He gave Rs 10000 cr to Vijay Mallya….apples are grown here. How much debt of yours has been waived off by Narendra Modi. Rs 5.55 lakh crore of 15 peop”e has been written off.”
October 3, Latur (Maharashtra)
“Loans of how many farmers in Maharashtra have been waived off? You are silent. That means it has not been done. Now you think…India’s richest people, who are the owners of the media, you know the names… Ambani, Adani… there are 15-20 such people… Rs 5.5 lakh crore of their debt has been waived off. To run the MGNREGA, it takes Rs 35,000 crore. Narendra has given 5.5 lakh crore to 15 people. Farmers who have not repaid their loans are put in jails. But India’s richest people don’t repay their debts…and the doors of banks are opened for them again.
Ideological battle; April 5, Wardha (Maharashtra)
“We unite the people. We unite all the people….You have heard my speech. There was no hatred. I speak the language of love. And on the other side, it is always hatred. They try to divide…Hindu religion does not talk about spreading hatred. It doesn’t talk about killing people, indulge in violence…Hindu religion talks about living with harmony, love….that is the battle. The battle is to unite India.
October 14, Nuh (Haryana)
It is an ideological battle. People of different castes and religion live in this country. Both rich and poor, young and old…all live together…The Congress party tries to unite the people. BJP and the RSS try to divide like the English used to do. Make one person fight with another. Make the rich fight with the poor, pit Hindu against Muslim, the people of Maharashtra against the people of Haryana. Wherever they go, they make people fight.”
Rafale; April 26, Ahmednagar (Maharashtra)
They talk about nationalism and patriotism. Air Force people wrote on the file…that Narendra Modi was doing parellel negotiations. Narendra Modi was talking directly to French government, Dassault…the entire country knows what chowkidaar has done. The truth is before you. The entire country knows.
October 13, Chandivali (Maharashtra)
The entire country knows there was a scam in Rafale…Defence Ministry people had written clearly that Prime Minister is interfering in the Rafale issue….So there is an element of guilt. Rafale naam chubta hain. So Rajnath Singh went to France. Chubta hain thoda. There has been a theft. Defence Minister goes to France with much pomp to receive Rafale aircraft. Have you seen such a thing before? Because chubta hain, chori kiya hain, toh karna pad raha hain.
Chowkidaar becomes loudspeaker; April 5, Wardha (Maharashtra)
“He is a chowkidaar. Not the Prime Minister. Have you seen a chowkidaar outside the house of a farmer or a labourer. Chowkidaars are at Anil Ambani’s house. He has done chowkidaari, he has done surgical strikes on the poor….
October 15, Wardha (Maharashtra)
Look at these loudspeakers…Narendra Modi is the loudspeaker of Anil Ambani, Adani. What they want, Narendra Modi does it for them.
Unemployment; March 1, Dhule (Maharashtra)
Prime Minister had told India that he will give 2 crore youths jobs every year…Unemployment is the highest in 25 years now. And Narendra Modi talks about Make in India, Start-up In”ia, look right India, look left India, look down India…”
October 18, Mahendragarh (Haryana)
You know the country’s situation now. Nothing can be hidden from you. Unemployment is the highest in 40 years. And it is not confined to any particular state. You go to any state and ask the youth…what do you do…they say nothing.
‘Gabbar Singh Tax’: April 12, Krishnagiri (Tamil Nadu)
Gabbar Singh tax destroyed industry in Tamil Nadu. Tirupur, the textile hub of India, was destroyed. Kanchipuram, the silk capital of India, was destroyed. Millions of Tamil youngsters lost their jobs. Gabbar Singh Tax ensured that weavers have to pay taxes to buy y”rn, dies and other material.
October 15, Yavatmal (Maharashtra)
“On GST, the Finance Minister says it is a law..how can we change it? They can change laws made for the poor in two minutes. But they will not change the GST law, which steals money from the pockets of small shopkeepers, small and medium businesses. Go to any small business..factory.. ask them did the GST benefit you…Did Gabbar Singh Tax give you any benefit or loss. You cannot find a single person in t”e country who will tell you that he benefited from G”bbar Singh tax.”
Attack on media: May 17, Solan (Himachal Pradesh)
“I am asked talk about employment, talk about farmers, tell us about Nyay scheme. And they ask him how do you eat mangoes? Modiji aap kurta kaise pahente ho. Modiji tell us about radar and clouds. Tell us about digital camera. Tell us about the photograph you had clicked of Advaniji using a digital camera… even before digital camera was invented…tell us about that. And they ask me where will you find the money for Nyay Y”jana, how will you give the right price to farmers…
October 13, Latur (Maharashtra)
“Have you seen the media reporting about growing unemployment, that farmers’ debt was not waived off in Maharashtra, that there is drought…farmers are under distress. The media will report about Modi in Corbett park, reports about Moon. People’s issues cannot be in media. There is a reason. The media, Modi, Amit Shah want to divert your attention from the real issues to Corbett park, Moon, China, Pakistan, Japan, Korea…