New Delhi, Nov 1: In Gujarat's Dayadra Rahul tore into the government's bastion and posed a very uncomfortable question : "Petrol price is going down in the whole world, why is it increasing in India? Who is benefiting from it?"
Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday attacked the Modi government for demonetization and GST, saying small and medium busie, nesses had been destroyed and they had no ease of doing business irrespective of what the World Bank said.
India has jumped 30 paces in ease of doing business in the World Bank's latest business ranking list of 100 countries.
Speaking at a public meeting here, Gandhi said: "Jaitleyji sits in his office and listens to outsiders. I would request him that he visits small traders or mid-sized business persons and ask them whether ease of doing business has improved for them or not.
"The entire country will scream in unison that there is no ease of doing business. Your demonetization and GST has hit us hard," he said at the rally comprising mostly farmers and small traders in this town in Bharuch, the home district of Congress chief Sonia Gandhi's political secretary Ahmed Patel.
"What is spoken abroad is truth for this government but what the poor say in India is farce for them," he added.
Rahul Gandhi is on his third leg of a three-day visit to poll-bound Gujarat that began on Wednesday. Under the ‘Navsarjan (Rejuvenated) Gujarat' campaign, Gandhi will cover 30 Assembly constituencies across Bharuch, Tapi, Navsari, Valsad and Surat districts in south Gujarat.
He said there was no section of the society in Gujarat which was happy with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) rule and there was widespread anger across the country over demonetization and tardy implementation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST).
"They have destroyed the economy by demonetization and have ensured that the GDP fell by 2 per cent. But he (Prime Minister) did not stop at that. He introduced GST with multiple tax rates and a high rate of 28 per cent in one go," he said.
"I have given GST a new name. Gabbar Singh Tax. It means that poor who sweats it out sees his money snatched away from him."
Gandhi ridiculed Prime Minister Narendra Modi's promise to unearth black money in Swiss banks, saying Modi did not understand that not all money was black and that a very small per cent of it was in cash. The rest was in real estate and jewellery.
"It's been three years of Modi government. Show me one person whom they have put in jail for having black money in Swiss banks? Look at Vijay Mallya, he is enjoying in London. What has Modiji done?," he asked, drawing laughter from the people.
Gandhi said the so-called Gujarat model of development had left virtually every community in the state angry and frustrated.
"The only people who are not unhappy are 5-10 industrialists who are making merry and are supporting Modiji and BJP. Everyone else is on the streets agitating," he said, referring to the ongoing agitations by Patels, Dalits, OBCs and farmers.
"The Gujarat model is take water, electricity and land of the people and give it to a handful of industrialists. In Gujarat Model, if you do not have money, no work will get done."
In his fiery speech, Gandhi accused the BJP governments at the Centre and in Gujarat of promoting crony capitalism.
"These 5 or 10 big industrialists, I will not name anyone, are ruling in every sector. Be it health, education, power, water, manufacturing."
The Congress leader then warned: "The BJP is going to get an electric shock in the Gujarat election. People have realized the truth. The next government in Gujarat will be of farmers, poor, traders and not of Modiji's industrialists."
Gandhi said Modi's 'Make in India' scheme was a total failure.
"Let me give you some figures. India and China house almost the same number of people. But China creates 50,000 jobs every year. In India, we create only 450.
"Modiji speaks about 'Make in India'. He promised everything will be made in India. But today, three million Gujaratis are jobless."
He said demonetisation hit a severe blow to the labour class, farmers, small businesses and traders who rely heavily on cash transactions. They were somehow managing when they were dealt another blow in the form of GST.
"We warned the government don't implement GST hastily. Do it slowly, kindly. They didn't listen. We told them it was not the Congress vs BJP. It is a matter that concerns the nation, the economy."
Addressing the public meeting earlier, Congress leader Ahmed Patel countered allegations that he had links with two ISIS terror suspects caught in Gujarat. One of them worked in a hospital wherein Ahmed Patel was a trustee till 2015.
Chief Minister Vijay Rupani had asked Patel if he had links with the suspect who worked in the Sardar Patel Hospital in Ankleshwar.
"I conducted a research (on the person arrested) and found that he worked in hospitals instituted by BJP leaders. Care Hospital, where he worked was inaugurated by Narendra Modi," Patel said.
News24Bureau with Agencies