Ahmedabad: Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi on Monday launched a frontal attack on the Narendra Modi government, accusing it of crony capitalism, and hit out at Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) chief Amit Shah over allegations that his son’s business fortunes soared after the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government came to power in New Delhi.
Addressing enthusiastic crowds in Nadiad in central Gujarat, on the second phase of his party’s Navsarjan Yatra in the poll-bound state, Gandhi took pot shots at the Modi government as the gathering cheered loudly.
“When it comes to helping, they help only a handful of industrialists. For 10-12 years, Amit Shah’s son’s company had nothing, but started earning only after 2014. It’s a strange world. He [Jay Shah] started with Rs50,000 (Dh2,806), and in a year it jumped to Rs80 crore [Rs800 million, Dh44 million]. This is ‘Start Up India’, ‘Make in India’,” he said, mocking the prime minister’s pet schemes.
At his aggressive best, Gandhi went on an interactive mode while addressing the crowd. “Complete my sentence, ‘I will not indulge in corruption, nor let others indulge in corruption. Where is the gatekeeper? This is the reality of Gujarat’,” he said, as the cheering crowds repeated after him.
Gandhi was referring to Modi who has often said he is the chowkidar [gatekeeper] of the nation and will not allow any corruption.
Quoting from Modi’s earlier speeches, Gandhi said in a taunt: “I have a 56-inch chest. I will alone provide employment. No one needs to do anything.
“Every 24 hours, 30,000 unemployed youth come in the job market but only 450 get jobs. In China, everyday 50,000 youth get jobs. The biggest problem in this country is unemployment.
“Modi should accept he has failed. He should say, ‘the promises I gave, I was not able to fulfil, and I have failed’.”
He said that former BJP Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee acknowledged in Parliament that the Congress party had done developmental work, but Modi was constantly blaming it.
“For 22 years, you are with the Congress party. I will not forget this, you will be respected,” he said taking a potshot at Modi’s monthly radio talk show Mann ki Baat.
Gandhi spoke to the crowds at the popular historic Santram Temple in Nadiad. It is a 250-year-old highly revered temple. A spirited Gandhi also gave a flying kiss to crowds and they applauded loudly. He was also seen taking pictures from his cell phone.
The Congress leader was greeted by enthusiastic crowds wherever he went in Central Gujarat’s Charotar region. The ruling BJP and Congress are evenly placed in this region.
The Congress lost two senior legislators, Shankersinh Vaghela and Ramsinh Parmar, during the run up to the August Rajya Sabha elections in this region.
Later, the Congress vice-president visited the home of Sardar Patel in Karamsad and garlanded his statue as well as one of Mahatma Gandhi. Sardar Patel, who was born at his maternal uncle’s home in Nadiad, belonged to Karamsad in the same region.
Addressing crowds there, Gandhi again attacked Modi and Shah.
“Is it Start Up India, is it Make in India? Modi destroyed small traders, ordinary people, and from that fire rose a company, that of Amit Shah’s son,” he said, to loud cheers.
He was also interact with workers of the Amul dairy plant.
Gandhi’s latest visit comes a day after Prime Minister Modi ended his two-day trip to Gujarat, where he visited his hometown Vadnagar and launched the “Intensified Mission Indradhanush”.