Congress leader Rahul Gandhi addresses an election campaign rally for the upcoming Assembly polls, in Mahendergarh district of Haryana (Photo: PTI)

Mahendragarh: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Friday launched a scathing attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, saying he has no understanding of the economy, and claimed that the world is mocking India due to the BJP’s politics of pitting people against each other.

As the poll campaign for the 90-member Haryana assembly entered the final lap, Gandhi stuck to the issues of economic slowdown, unemployment and farm distress to attack the government. The elections are scheduled to be held on October 21 and counting will take place on October 24.

Addressing a public rally here in place of his mother and Congress president Sonia Gandhi, who he said was down with a viral infection, the former party chief also trained his guns on media, alleging that it was scared and not showing the truth.

“Our friends from the media who are under pressure, show PM Modi’s speeches 24/7. Have you ever seen the media showing news of rampant unemployment and farmer suicides. Media will only show Modi ji’s face, his speeches, talk of Article 370, moon (Chandrayaan), Modi’s picture in Corbett Park,” he said.

“Media persons say ‘we know the truth but we can’t show it because we will lose our jobs’…The media, the channels and newspapers are in the hands of 5-10 businessmen,” Gandhi alleged.

“Modi has just one job — to divert” the attention of the country from the real issues, he claimed.

“India is being mocked at by the world. The country which used to show the way to the world, used to live with love, used to progress fast…Today one caste is fighting the other, one religion is fighting the other and the country’s pride — its economy — Narendra Modi has destroyed it by demonetisation and Gabbar Singh Tax,” Gandhi said. He has been using ‘Gabbar Singh Tax’ to refer to Goods and Services Tax.

“What they (the BJP) are doing, that is the most dangerous is wherever they go, they make one Indian fight another. They make a Hindu fight a Muslim, Jat fight a non-Jat, people from north fight south, they will go to Maharashtra and say ‘thrash and throw out the people of UP and Bihar’, and in Bihar say ‘we will protect you’,” Gandhi said.

“The country cannot progress through division. This country has progressed by working together. If the country will be divided, it will not be able to progress,” he asserted.

Attacking the government over the state of the economy, Gandhi said unemployment is the highest in the last 40 years and farmers are committing suicide. However, he did not cite any any official data to support his claims.

“Small and medium businesses –the spine of the country– say demonetisation and Gabbar Singh Tax have destroyed them,” Gandhi said.

He also said under the UPA rule, then US President Barack Obama used to say that India and China are competition for America.

The Congress leader asserted that in order to spur growth money should be put in the pockets of the poor.

“When we introduced MNREGA, news papers used to say it is a useless scheme. PM Modi said in Parliament that there is no scheme worse than MNREGA. Narendra Modi has no understanding of economics,” Gandhi alleged.

Slamming the government’s move to cut corporate tax, Gandhi claimed that after just three days “its balloon burst and things became clear”.

Gandhi claimed that if the Congress would have won in the Lok Sabha polls and its minimum income guarantee scheme NYAY implemented, unemployed would have been “wiped out” and the farmers would not have been facing problems.

“But, Modi won the elections, how he won all of you saw, where he took the attention of the people. Don’t make that mistake in Haryana, make the Congress win,” he appealed to the people.

Slamming the government over privatisation, Gandhi said Modi was privatising PSUs such as BSNL MTNL, Bharat Petroleum and alleged that this was “destroying jobs”.

“This country’s strength cannot be in billionaires. India is for the poor,” he said, adding the strength of this country is in its poor — farmers, labourers and unemployed youth.

He also highlighted the Congress’ promise to give 50 per cent reservation in panchayats and 33 per cent in jobs to women.

He accused the Prime Minister of taking lakhs of crores of rupees from the people and giving it to 15 businessmen.

“He (Modi) keeps giving your money to those 15 businessmen. It is just the start, look what happens to the economy and unemployment in the next six months. These 15 businessmen are taking the money out –Vijay Mallya, Nirav Modi, Mehul Choksi, Lalit Modi, and more will go,” he alleged.

“You have a chance in Haryana. In India there is no choice, but you can jumpstart Haryana’s economy,” Gandhi said.

The Congress is looking to wrest power from the BJP, which had came to power on its own in Haryana for the first time in 2014.


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