Making his maiden speech in Rajya Sabha, BJP chief Amit Shah today tore into the Congress over its criticism of GST, “failure” to tackle unemployment and other issues, as he listed his government’s achievements on various fronts. Initiating the debate on the Motion of Thanks for the President’s address, Shah took on senior Congress leader P Chidambaram for his ‘pakoda’ jibe and said it was “better to sell pakodas than to beg”. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said in a recent interview that a person selling pakodas was employed. “Those selling pakodas are self-employed. Can you compare them with beggars,” he asked and pointed out that a “chaiwala’s (tea-seller) son has become the Prime Minister today.” In his over an hour-long speech, Shah said “I accept there is unemployment in the country. It is a problem. But you (Congress) have been ruling the country for so many years. We have been in power for eight years (including Vajpayee rule).” He also lashed out at the Congress for its opposition to the Goods and Services Tax (GST) and for dubbing it as ‘Gabbar Singh Tax’.
Noting that “Gabbar Singh Tax is named after the filmy dacoit” (a character in Bollywood blockbuster Sholay), Shah asked “is this (GST) dacoity? How much do those who have named this as Gabbar Singh Tax understand? It is not dacoity but the revenues go to pay subsidies for various services of widows and the poor.” The BJP President also pitched for simultaneous assembly and Lok Sabha elections, besides touching upon a host of measures taken by the government — ranging from power supply, toilets, gas, employment and health facilities to the people.