New Delhi [India] :– Congress president Rahul Gandhi accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of sowing division wherever he goes, instead of focusing on undertaking measures to improve the situation prevailing in the country, as promised.
Speaking at a joint protest meeting organised on account of the ‘Bharat Bandh’ against the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led central government, the Congress president accused the ruling party of triggering fights between people of various religions, castes and states.
“When Narendra Modi became the Prime Minister in 2014, he made different promises to the people of the nation, including farmers, youth and women of the country. He promised two crore jobs to youth, safety for farmers and women. In 2014, a lot of people trusted him and made him the Prime Minister. He even said that what didn’t happen in 70 years will be done in four years. In reality, he has done something that didn’t happen in the last 70 years. Today, wherever you see, one Indian is fighting with another Indian. Wherever he (Prime Minister Modi) goes, he just goes to sow division. They are inciting fights between religions, castes and states,” he claimed.
Gandhi further questioned Prime Minister Modi’s silence on the ongoing fuel price hike and said, “Rupee in terms of the dollar has never been this weak. Today, Prime Minister Modi speaks not a single word on petrol and diesel price hike. A gas cylinder that used to cost Rs 400 is now Rs 800. He remains silent on farmer suicide as well.”
Accusing the central government of favouring “crony capitalists”, Gandhi said, “They (BJP government) claimed to have made toilets all over the country, but there is no water in them. He keeps on giving speeches and the country has got fed up with him. Prime Minister Modi is showing way only to 15-20 people in India, who are the biggest crony capitalists of the country. Farmer loans aren’t being waived off, but an industrialist gets a free gift of Rs. 45,000 crore. Questions are being raised on Rafale inside Parliament, but the Prime Minister isn’t answering.”
The Gandhi scion also called for unity among the Opposition to fight and dethrone the BJP.
Present on the dais at the meeting, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) president Sharad Pawar claimed that the real tribute to late BJP stalwart Atal Bihari Vajpayee would be to follow the path shown by him. “The Prime Minister said that nothing happened in the last 40 years but his bravery of four years has been to make rupee weak. Saying that nothing happened in the past is an insult to Atal Bihari Vajpayee, it is an insult to farmers of this nation. When Atal Bihari was alive they never took his name; now after he has left, if they follow the path shown by him only that would be the real tribute (to Vajpayee),” he noted.
Senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad, while addressing the gathering, thanked the 21 national and regional parties supporting the nationwide strike, and added that the aim is to free the public of this country from the clutches of inflation and increasing prices of petrol, diesel, gas and so on.
Congress Rajya Sabha member Ahmed Patel told ANI that the nationwide agitation was the best example of unity. UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi also visited the Ramlila Maidan for a brief period during the meeting. Apart from former prime minister Manmohan Singh, others present at the meeting included Hemant Soren, Sharad Yadav, Sanjay Singh, Manoj Jha, Sukhendu Sekhar Roy, Jayant Chaudhary and others. Samajwadi Party, Bahujan Samajwadi Party and Left had no representation at this joint forum of protest. (ANI)
Bharat Bandh : Cong demands inclusion of fuel under GST
New Delhi [India] : — The Congress Party on Monday asserted that they would continue the agitation against rising fuel prices until petrol and diesel are brought under the Goods and Services Tax (GST).
Addressing a presser after the culmination of the Bharat Bandh, Congress general secretary Ashok Gehlot said, “Today’s Bharat Bandh was a success and I thank everyone who participated in it. The main objective for this was the rising fuel prices and the broken promises of Prime Minister Modi. When fuel prices were rising during the United Progressive Alliance regime due to rising global oil prices, we reduced VAT to take off the burden from the common people.”
He also attacked Prime Minister Modi for his silence on the matter and said, “They talk about opposition unity in their national executive but do not discuss issues concerning the general public. They are not at all worried about public concerns. Prime Minister doesn’t utter a single word.”
Congress national spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala also thanked the participants of the nationwide shutdown and claimed that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was lying about the reason behind the fuel price hike. “Bharatiya Janta Party claims global prices are the reasons for high petrol prices. Again they are lying. High customs duty, excise duty is levied by the Narendra Modi government and they have profited Rs. 11,00,000 crore through it. The global crude oil price has gone down by 40 per cent, yet the price of petrol and diesel is higher than that during the UPA regime. This is due to Value Added Tax (VAT)”.
Detailing about VAT being levied by different states on petroleum products, he questioned the BJP’s stand of global factors influencing fuel prices.
“In Chhattisgarh, VAT on petrol is 26.90 per cent. In Madhya Pradesh, VAT on petrol is 35.80 per cent. Is this high taxation due to global reasons? Until the Modi government brings fuel price under GST or reduce VAT, Congress will continue this people’s movement. Changing Prime Minister Modi’s pictures on petrol bunks costs Rs.60 crore every month. Prime Minister is taking money from people’s pockets and paying it for his publicity,” he added.
The Congress spokesperson also accused the union government of providing petroleum products to other countries at a much lesser rate. “If we take out an average of the Modi government’s 52 weeks then it will come out to be 50 dollars per barrel. When we relinquished government, petrol was 71 (per litre) and today it is 81 (per litre). However, the crude oil prices have reduced by 40 per cent. We want to know where this profit goes.”
Taking a jibe on the decreasing value of rupee, Surjewala said, “They used to say that Indian rupee is in ICU. Today value of rupee has crossed even the age of Prime Minister. By the time petrol diesel will not come under GST, we will continue with our movement.”
A total of 21 opposition parties, both regional and national, participated in the nationwide lockdown called for by the Congress over exorbitant fuel prices.(ANI)