Gujarat elections: Will criticise PM Modi, but won’t disrespect his position, says Rahul Gandhi
Ahmedabad/Palanpur: Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi said on Sunday that he and his party may criticise the Bharatiya Janata Party and Prime Minister Narendra Modi for their “mistakes”, but will not disrespect the position of the prime minister the way they did when they were in opposition.
“We may spot Modi’s faults or disturb the BJP but we won’t disrespect the PM’s position. When Modiji was in opposition he would disrespect the PM. This is the difference between us and them. No matter what Modi says about us we will not go beyond a certain point as he is our Prime Minister,” Gandhi said while interacting with the social media volunteers of the Congress at Ambaji in Banaskantha district of North Gujarat. He is in Gujarat for the fourth phase of Congress’s Navsarjan Yatra ahead of the state elections in December.
Gandhi’s social media presence has become a topic of discussion lately, especially after he tweeted a video of his dog Pidi.
To a question on the reason behind his large Twitter following, Gandhi said, “I said it is Pidi who tweets…the political tweets are mine but the routine ones like birthday wishes are posted by my team.”
Gandhi said that Congress believes in self-introspection and self-improvement and unlike the BJP does not blame others for its own faults.
“Demonetisation and GST (goods and services tax) implementation were whose faults? They were Modiji’s mistakes. But did he even once accept that he made a mistake? Reality is that everyone commits a mistake be it a politician or a social media worker. But one must accept a mistake and move on. This is the difference between them and us,” he added.
Later in the day while addressing an election rally in Banaskantha, Gandhi said that the popular sentiment among the people is that government should curtail GST on most commonly used items and control inflation by bringing petrol, diesel and LPG cylinders under GST in a uniform rate which should not be more than 18%.
The Congress vice president visited Palanpur as well where he targeted Gujarat chief minister Vijay Rupani over the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) slapping fine on his firm for alleged manipulative share trade, and asked the prime minister to speak out on the issue.
Gandhi claimed that Sebi has termed Rupani “beimaan” (dishonest) and imposed the fine on him. Gandhi asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi to speak out against his “dishonest” chief minister. “Gujarat is more corrupt than the entire country. Surat businessmen told me that policemen come to their units every two minutes (allegedly to demand bribe),” he said.
“Some days ago, Sebi said your chief minister is beimaan (dishonest) and they fined him. “Modiji used to say ‘na khaoonga, na khane doonga’ (I will neither take bribe nor allow others to take bribe). Please open your mouth on this subject now. But he is silent. Now his slogan is ‘na bolta hu, na bolne dunga’ (Neither do I speak nor do I allow others to speak),” Gandhi said. “Jay Shah, son of (BJP chief) Amit Shah, increased the turnover of his company from Rs50,000 to Rs80 crore in a few months after the BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party) came to power in 2014. The people of Gujarat know this cannot be done without corruption,” he added.
“The people of the country want to listen what you (Modi) have to say on Amit Shah’s son’s company, on Vijay Rupani. The people of Gujarat will believe that you are not ‘chowkidar’ (watchman) but ‘bhagidar’ (collaborator) if you don’t say anything on the issue.”
The Congress vice-president began his three-day tour on Saturday by visiting the famous Akshardham Temple of the Swaminarayan Sect that has a huge following of the Patel community, and followed it up with a visit to the Ambaji temple on Sunday.
PTI in Palanpur, Gujarat, contributed to this story.
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