While the Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi took on Narendra Modi in poll bound Gujarat on the second day of his three-day visit to the home state of the PM, the BJP chief, Amit Shah headed to Gandhi's Lok Sabha seat Amethi in Uttar Pradesh along with Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and Union minister Smriti Irani. Rahul tore into the BJP doublespeak on corruption in the context of the Shah scam and Shah mocked at Rahul for leaving his Amethi constituency in crisis and visiting Gujarat ahead of the assembly elections in the state.
Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday continued to attack Prime Minister Narendra Modi, accusing him of remaining silent on the controversy surrounding the tremendous increase in the turnover of a company owned by BJP chief Amit Shah’s son.
There has been an amazing transition from ‘beti bachao, beti padhao’ to ‘beta bachao’, he jibed at the government on its slogan of saving and educating the girl child.
The Congress leader referred to a news portal report on the 16,000-fold increase in the turnover of the company owned by Amit Shah’s son Jay Shah before the firm was shut ahead of the November 8 demonetisation last year.
“Modi ji announced ‘Make in India’ and ‘Startup India’ in 2014. I do not know what came in the mind of Shah ji and how it came. It was a big innovative idea and he did his work. In three-four months, the (turnover of) Rs 50,000 became Rs 80 crore. He got unsecured loan. And a very interesting thing happened. This highly successful company was closed by (Jay) Shah ji in 2016. How the chowkidar (gatekeeper) of India is quiet. He is not speaking a word,” Rahul Gandhi said.
Gandhi, who interacted with the youth here, addressed a series of meetings as part of his campaign for the coming Gujarat assembly polls, and said the central problem of the country was unemployment.
“Prime Minister Narendra Modi came up with a slogan of “Beti bachao, beti padhao (save girl child, educate her). But here, what is happening is save the son of Amit Shah,” he said.
Rahul Gandhi also took potshots at Modi in a tweet. “Amazing transition from Beti bachao to beta bachao,” he said.
The Congress leader continued in the same vein in many of his speeches during the day and raked up the issue of Jay Shah’s business.
“There was talk of ‘Make in India’ and startups. Startup is not visible but there is an icon of all startups. It was about an eight-year-old small company with Rs 50,000 turnover. But after (BJP) coming to power in 2014, it became Rs 80 crore company. What happened that a profitable company was closed? The chowkidar should reply.”
“Is he (Modi) a ‘chowkidar’ (watchman) or ‘bhagidar’ (participant)?” Rahul Gandhi said at a meeting in Gujarat, the home state of both Modi and Amit Shah.
Rahul Gandhi said that the earlier Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government’s record in generating employment was far better than that of the Modi government.
The Congress leader said there should be single-minded focus on job creation. “If our government comes to power, we will do this,” he said.
“We will bring policies after understanding your needs. We will listen to you and not impose our ‘mann ki baat’,” Rahul Gandhi said. ‘Mann ki Baat’ is Modi’s monthly address to the people through All India Radio.
Rahul Gandhi also said that people should be allowed to express themselves and even unpleasant criticism should be tolerated. “I do not believe in suppressing anyone,” he said.
The Congress Vice President slammed the Modi government over demonetisation and the manner in which the Goods and Services Tax was rolled out on July 1, saying it had “blown the economy apart”.
The BJP top guns are going out of their way to clarify on the Jay Shah business.
Jay Shah had done nothing wrong in his business, Union Minister Ravi Shankart Prasad told media persons in Kochi.
“What’s happening now is that a conspiracy has been hatched and allegations of corruption against Jay Shah have been made. Already he has filed a defamation suit to the tune of Rs 100 crores.”
Prasad said Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi has no moral right to level these allegations “because he himself is on bail in a corruption case. He also should not forget that there are cases of corruption against his brother in law (Robert Vadra)”.
A news website last week reported about alleged phenomenal rise in the business owned by Jay Shah after the Bharatiya Janata Party came to power in 2014.
Prasad arrived here to take part in the state-wide “Jana Raksha Yatra”, or “March for People’s Protection”, which began from Kannur on October 3 and will end in Thiruvananthapuram on October 17.
Meanwhile, state Congress President M.M. Hassan asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi to announce a comprehensive probe into the allegations against Jay Shah.
Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh too rejected demands for a probe into the alleged extraordinary spike in the turnover of a company owned by BJP President Amit Shah’s son Jay Shah after NDA came to power, describing them as “baseless”.
“All these allegations are baseless and there is no truth in them. Earlier also there were a number of charges made against him (Amit Shah). No probe is required on the issue,” Singh told reporters in Delhi after inaugurating the National Investigation Agency headquarters.
Singh’s remarks came in the wake of Congress demanding a probe into alleged spike of 16,000 times in the turnover of a company owned by Jay Shah in 2015. The Congress has also demanded resignation of the Bharatiya Janata Party chief over the issue.
Meanwhile, BJP leaders including party President Amit Shah launched a concerted attack on Rahul Gandhi, questioning his work for the development of his constituency Amethi and asking people to defeat him and the Congress in the next Lok Sabha election.
Addressing a public meeting, Shah spoke for around half hour but made no mention of the charges levelled against his son Jay Shah, whose company reportedly recorded a turnover of Rs 80 crore in 2015 after showing just Rs 50,000 the previous year.
“You have trusted the Gandhi-Nehru family for 60 years. You put your trust for once in the BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, you will not regret,” he told the people of Amethi, where the BJP won four of the five assembly constituencies in the last Uttar Pradesh assembly polls.
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and Union minister Smriti Irani, who lost to Rahul Gandhi in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, also attacked Gandhi, questioning his commitment to the development of Amethi, a Gandhi family bastion for decades.
Describing Gandhi as “Shehzada (prince) of Congress”, Shah said the Congress leader can’t see the development work done by the Modi government as he wears Italian glasses.
“He (Rahul) is seeking answers from the Modi government for its performance of last three years but the people of Amethi are seeking answers from the three generations of Gandhi family which has ruled from panchayat to Parliament in the last 70 years.”
Shah said while Amethi had been a VIP constituency for decades, why there was no Collectorate office, TB hospital, FM centre of All India Radio and houses for the poor.
Referring to Gandhi’s presence in Gujarat, Shah said: “There are two development models in the country. One is Gandhi-Nehru model while another is Modi model. In Gujarat there is 24-hour power supply, drinking water in every house, a good public health centre in every tehsil.”
Similarly, he said, after the BJP took power in Uttar Pradesh, development had picked up pace. The government had written off farmers’ loans and given away nine lakh houses for the poor.
“I can assure you that Uttar Pradesh will become a developed state like Gujarat. There is Yogi in UP and Modi in Delhi. This jodi (pair) will together develop the state fully.”
He said the people of Gujarat know what development is. “You just look at Amethi. You have destroyed it.”
Shah said the Centre had initiated a number of schemes for the poor, Scheduled Tribes, Scheduled Caste, youth and farmers. “There are 106 schemes initiated by this government. Rahul Gandhi will not be able to even count them.”
Referring to the surgical strikes on terrorist hubs in Pakistan-administered Kashmir last year, Shah rhetorically told Gandhi: “You cannot even see it because you wear Italian glasses. Changes are taking place in the country. There will be changes in Amethi too in 2019.”
Yogi said the Congress can never do development work for the country as it had no vision.
Irani accused Gandhi of paying lip service to development. She said the Congress leader was making fun of development in Gujarat but had no answer for the lack of it in his own backyard in Amethi.
“This state was once ruled by the Congress and the Gandhi clan has been representing Amethi for long. Now is the time for them to answer the people why there has been no development,” she said.
Irani accused Gandhi of failing the people of Amethi and cheating the farmers by grabbing their land through the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation.
“A vast stretch of land was given by farmers long back for construction of the Samrat cycle factory. When nothing much happened, there is an effort to occupy the land illegally and despite eviction notice they are not letting the land go.” (IANS)