Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi attacked Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday on the issues of demonetisation and the Goods and Services Taxes (GST). He said GST had ruined Indiaâ€™s economy and called it â€œGabbar Singh Taxâ€.
Mr. Gandhi was addressing a gathering of supporters of OBC leader Alpesh Thakor, who had recently joined Congress.
Mr. Gandhi also asked the PM to break his silence on BJP President Amit Shahâ€™s son Jay whose business fortunesÂ allegedly sky-rocketed after the NDA came to power. The Congress leader also alleged that the BJP had tried to buy â€œpricelessâ€ voices of Gujaratis and said it wonâ€™t succeed.
On demonetisation and GST
â€œWhat happened on November 8? Modiji came on television and said I donâ€™t like Rs.500 and Rs.1,000 notes. So, I have decided to spike them from that midnight. And by doing that he attacked the whole country by one stroke.
â€œFor the first two-three days days he too did not understand what has happened. And in a concert in Mumbai he announced, â€˜I have done thisâ€™ But after five-six days he realised he made a mistake. Then again he appeared on television and said if I donâ€™t end the menace of black money by December 30 then hang me.â€
Mr. Gandhi then asked farmers in the crowd if they buy seeds and fertilizers from their mobile phones and with cheques. The crowd replied with a loud â€˜Noâ€™.
â€œHe destroyed the entire economy. He did not stop there but went ahead with the GST. GST was our thinking. We brought it, it was a thought of single tax of Rs.18 across the nation with less forms to be filled.â€
He also took a dig at Finance Minister Arun Jaitley for rejecting Congress recommendation of cutting tax slabs. â€œBut they said that they will do it in the same way they did it with demonetisation with all celebrations at midnight. Now there is a GST with Rs.28 tax and three return forms.
â€œNow GST has become a Gabbar Singh Tax,â€ he said, punning on the name of famous Bollywood villain inÂ Sholay.
Make in India and employment
Mr. Gandhi also attacked the â€œMake In Indiaâ€ slogan of the Prime Minister, saying it was Chinese goods everywhere in the country. â€œThe government has to give employment to youth. Indiaâ€™s competition is with China. Should employment go to China or come to India?
â€œMost of the products you use have the label of â€˜Made in Chinaâ€™. Whether it is a shirt, cameras or anything else. When you click selfies or press a button for a picture, a Chinese youth gets employment.
â€œModiji talks of Make in India. InÂ GujaratÂ alone there are 30 lakh unemployed youth. Everyday 30,000 people across the country enter the job market. But only 450 people get jobs.â€
â€œPriceless voices of Gujaratâ€
Referring to anÂ allegation by Narendra Patel, a Patidar leader close to Hardik Patel, that a bribe of one crore was offered to him to join the BJP, Mr. Gandhi said the priceless voices of Gujarat can neither be stifled nor bought. â€œAlpesh ji, you asked these people to remain silent. But how they can remain silent. Modiji has harassed them a lot and that is why they cannot remain silent.
â€œEven Hardik, Jignesh Mewani, (a Dalit leader), cannot remain silent. They too have a voice. And this is no ordinary voice. It cannot be suppressed or bought.
â€œWhether they give one crore, Rs.100 crore, Rs.1,000 crore or Indiaâ€™s total budget or the wealth of the world. The voice of Gujarat cannot be bought or suppressed,â€ he said.