Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday called Prime Minister Narendra Modi a “democratically elected autocrat” as he attacked demonetisation and GST on the first anniversary of the note ban. Gandhi, in an article in the Financial Times newspaper, said while the Prime Minister had “claimed” the demonetisation decision taken on November 8 last year was aimed at wiping out corruption, but “Twelve months on the only thing he has wiped out is confidence in our once booming economy”. Gandhi also attacked the Goods and Services Tax (GST), and accused the Prime Minister of converting anger created by joblessness into communal hatred. “Demonetisation has wiped out 2 per cent of India’s gross domestic product, destroyed the informal labour sector and has wiped out many small and medium businesses. It has ruined the lives of millions of hard working Indians. The Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy has calculated that over 1.5 million people lost their jobs in the first four months of 2017 due to demonetisation,” he said.
The Congress Vice President also called the GST a “hastily imposed and poorly conceptualised” step and said that it created a modern day licence raj. “Bureaucratic and complex, it has devastated livelihoods, creating a modern day ‘Licence Raj’ that imposes rigid controls and gives vast powers to government officials,” he said. “These two acts come at a time when global forces place particular demands on India’s economic model,” he said. The Congress leader linked the rise of Prime Minister Modi to anger and frustration created due to joblessness, and also linked the same frustration to the election of US President Donald Trump and the UK choosing to exit the European Union.
“The rise of democratically elected autocrats, such as Mr Modi, is driven by two factors: a massive increase in connectivity and its profound impact on institutions; and, second, China’s dominance of the global job market,” Rahul Gandhi said. “China’s global monopoly on blue collar jobs is a fundamental challenge to other states. This has created millions of disenfranchised and angry workers who express their frustration at the ballot box — whether in votes for Mr Modi, Brexit, or Donald Trump.” He also accused Prime Minister Modi of hiding behind a hate-filled political narrative. “Modi has damaged India by converting anger created by joblessness and lack of economic opportunity into communal hatred. He has chosen to hide behind a shallow, hate-filled political narrative. Anger might have brought Mr Modi to power but it will never create jobs or fix India’s institutions,” he added.