After returning from a trip to the US, where he delivered lectures targeting Narendra Modi government at the Centre, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi has taken up the battle against the BJP in PM’s home state Gujarat. The Congress vice-president has used the opportunity to start a full-scale political battle against BJP in the state. Addressing a meeting in Kheda on Monday, Rahul accused BJP of not running a government of the people. He said, “If Congress comes to power here, it will function as your government. Even small decisions will be taken after consulting you.”
Taking a dig at the PM, Rahul said, “Gujarat knows that Narendra Modi’s Gujarat Model has failed.” “Gujarat mein vikaas ko kya hua? Ye kaise pagal hua? Ye jhooth sun sun ke pagal ho gaya hai (What happened to development in Gujarat? Lies have led to its failure.”
Amid controversy over a media report against BJP chief Amit Shah’s son, Rahul used this to target Modi, who has often called himself a “chowkidar” of the country. Seeking a clarification, the official Twitter handle of Rahul Gandhi tweeted, “Modi ji, Jay Shah-jada’ kha gaya. Aap chowkidaar the ya bhaagidaar, kuch to boliye (Modi ji, Amit Shah’s son has eaten a lot. Are you a gatekeeper or a partner, at least say something).”
Rahul also mocked Modi’s ‘Mann Ki Baat’, a monthly radio address by the PM. “Hum apko apne mann ki baat nahi batayenge, hum apki mann ki baat sunenge (We won’t tell you how we feel, we will listen to what you have to say.),” he said.
Rahul is expected to take over as the party’s president, from mother Sonia Gandhi, by the end of this month.
Commenting on Modi’s claim that nothing happened in the country in 70 years, Rahul said when PM says this, he is not questioning the Congress but people of India. The Congress leader said whatever progress India has been able to achieve it is not because of some party or politician but because of the people of this country.
In Dedarda village, Rahul hasked, “If farmer loans can be waived off, why not of women milk cooperatives?”.
Rahul also targeted Modi government’s policy on loans, saying, “Modi government’s new model is a model for industrialists. Loans given to poor is their right, not a gift. In case the Congress comes to power, we will give loans to the poor, farmers, women, who Modi government ignores.”
In Vadodra, Rahul targeted Modi on issues like jobs, GST etc. “Any economic reform has to be tested with a response from people; law and taxes have to be evolved. We had told the govt to take GST slowly to the people by testing it; but Jaitley ji was not in the mood.”
The Congress leader also said petrol and diesel should be brought under the ambit of GST as it will lead to fall in their prices. In a dig at BJP, Rahul said, “You cannot run this country by cruelty; compassion (Karuna) is the key. If you don’t listen to people in a country like India, you will hurt them; govt must hear. It benefits.”
Rahul said, “BJP does extreme things; but Congress has also not focused on small businesses perfectly, I must admit.” He accused the Gujarat government of privatising all sectors. “Gujarat government is privatising every sector; neglecting public sector, especially education,” Gandhi said. He added that in coming days, competition for employment is between India and China.
On demonetisation, Rahul commented, “India cannot be made cashless immediately; it has to be effected smoothly.”
“Vajpayeeji had called Rajiv Gandhi ‘mad’, when he introduced computers; but a leader has to be visionary. When telecom revolution happened, no one was hurt; it was due to strategic thinking. You cannot implement a policy forcefully in a day,” he added.
He also almost thanked BJP for teaching him a lesson. “BJP has done a great favour to me by abusing, attacking and defeating me in 2014; taught me a lesson,” he said. (With ANI inputs)