Gandhinagar, October 23: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Monday launched a scathing attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), terming the Goods and Services Tax (GST) as ‘Gabbar Singh Tax’ that has hit hard the country already nursing the wounds of demonetisation.
The Congress vice-president arrived in Gujarat on Monday morning and attended a rally by Thakore under the banner of OBC Ekta Manch. Gandhi said by imposing demonetisation last year on a personal whim, PM Modi pushed lakhs of people into distress.
“Ye jo inka GST hai, ye aam aadmi pe bojh hai… Ye GST nahi, ye Gabbar Singh Tax hai,” Gandhi asserted at a massive rally in Gujarat’s capital Gandhinagar where OBC leader Alpesh Thakore joined the Congress.
And if this was not enough, he introduced the Goods and Services Tax (GST) in a tearing hurry.
“The GST was brought by the Congress, but there was a ceiling of 18 per cent and did not have five slabs like the present. We requested the government to go slow, but they just would not listen,” Gandhi said.
He called the Modi government anti-poor and said it was working against the interests of the common people.
“The entire Gujarat is today caught in restlessness. There is not a single section of the society here that is not agitating against the government over one issue or the other.”
Gandhi also asked Modi to break his silence on BJP President Amit Shah’s son Jay, whose business fortunes allegedly sky-rocketed after the NDA came to power.
“What happened on November 8? Modiji came on television and said I don’t like Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes. So I have decided to spike them from that midnight. And by doing that he attacked the whole country by one stroke.
“For the first two or three days days he too did not understand what has happened. And in a concert in Mumbai he announced ‘I have done this’.
“But after five-six days he realised he made a mistake. Then again he appeared on television and said if I don’t end the menace of black money by December 30, then hang me.”
Gandhi asked farmers in the crowd if they buy seeds and fertilizers from their mobile phones and with cheques. The crowd replied with a booming ‘No’.
“He destroyed the entire economy. He did not stop there but went ahead with the GST.
“GST was our thinking. We brought it, it was a thought of single tax of 18 per cent across the nation with less forms to be filled.”
He also took a dig at Finance Minister Arun Jaitley for rejecting Congress recommendation of cutting tax slabs.
“Now there is a GST with 28 per cent tax and three return forms. Now GST has become a Gabbar Singh Tax,” he said, punning on the name of the famous Bollywood villain in “Sholay”.
Gandhi also attacked Modi’s “Make In India” slogan, saying Chinese goods had swept India.
“Should employment go to China or come to India? Most products you use have the label Made in China. Whether it is a shirt, cameras or anything else. When you click selfies or press a button for a picture, a Chinese youth gets employment.
“In Gujarat alone there are 30 lakh unemployed youth. Every day 30,000 people across the country enter the job market. But only 450 people get jobs.”
Referring to allegation by Patidar leader Narendra Patel that a bribe of Rs 1 crore was offered to him to join the BJP, Gandhi said that “priceless voices” of Gujarat can neither be stifled nor bought.
“Even Hardik, Jignesh Mewani (Dalit leader), cannot remain silent. They too have a voice. And this is no ordinary voice. It cannot be suppressed or bought.
“Whether they give Rs 1 crore, Rs 100 crore, Rs 1,000 crore or India’s total budget or the wealth of the world, the voice of Gujarat cannot be bought or suppressed.”
(With inputs from ANI)