New Delhi: The BJP slammed Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Friday for his remarks that the National Population Register (NPR) and the citizenship law were a "tax" on the poor, saying he was the "liar of the year" for his numerous lies that had "embarrassed" people and even his party.
Senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader and Union minister Prakash Javadekar accused the Congress of trying to fan instability by misleading people over issues related to citizenship, which have triggered protests in different parts of the country, but asserted that people were with the government on the new citizenship law and NPR.
Noting that these exercises did not involve any monetary transaction and the NPR data was used to identify targeted beneficiaries of welfare schemes, Javadekar hit back at the Congress, saying collecting tax was the "culture" of the opposition party, be it the "Jayanthi" tax, the "coal tax" or the "2G tax", a reference to the monikers used by the saffron party to describe several alleged scams under the UPA government.
The NPR exercise was undertaken in 2010 as well, the minister said.
"When Rahul Gandhi was the Congress president, he would say anything and lie all the time. Now he is no longer the president, but continues to lie. If there was a category of the liar of the year, he would be in it. His comments used to embarrass his family. His lies now embarrass his party and the entire country," Javadekar told reporters.
Highlighting the benefits of the NPR data and also that of the Aadhaar, he said the Modi government had directly transferred ₹9 lakh crore to tens of crores of beneficiaries of welfare schemes and saved ₹2 lakh crore of leakage.
Former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi used to say only ₹15 reached the beneficiaries of his government's schemes of the ₹100 meant for them, the BJP leader said, adding that all the money was reaching the poor now under the Modi government.
He said the BJP had two demands from the Congress -- first it should stop lying and that people should not be misled by its comments.
Gandhi should also visit the hospital in Rajasthan's Kota, where the Congress is in power, as 77 children died there in a month, Javadekar said.
The Congress should also stop making loan waiver promises as it had never honoured those, he added.
Asked about the announcements by states ruled by opposition parties such as West Bengal and Kerala that they would not carry out the NPR exercise, the Union minister said such a decision was an "insult" to and a "betrayal" of the poor.
To a question on allegations of police excesses in Uttar Pradesh, he said an inquiry was on.
Asked about Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan's tweets against the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), Javadekar claimed that the neighbouring country and the Congress were speaking the same language.
This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text. Only the headline has been changed.