The Congress on Monday stepped up its attack on the BJP-led Centre over the issue of price rise with Rahul Gandhi saying the biggest problems facing the country were unemployment, inflation and growing hatred.
Congress leaders held press conferences in 22 cities across the country and gave a “Dilli Chalo” call for its ‘Mehangai Par Halla Bol rally’ in New Delhi’s Ramlila Maidan on September 4. The rally will be addressed by senior Congress leaders, including Rahul Gandhi.
In a Facebook post in Hindi, Rahul Gandhi said the biggest problems facing the country today were unemployment, inflation and growing hatred.
“You all would recall the phrase ‘Bahut hui mehngai ki maar’, but today recovery is being made from the public by imposing GST on food items. Employment was promised to 2 crore youth every year, but today the country has the highest unemployment in 45 years,” Gandhi said.
“It was said ‘we will become Vishwaguru by 2022’, but today the country has been thrown into the fire of hatred,” he said.
Gandhi said there are many issues which should be discussed, questions should be raised and answers should be given.
“If the politics of hatred, fear and vendetta will be done by the government for raising the issues of the people, then we are ready to face everything. Make as many attacks on me for telling the truth, I will not back down,” the former Congress chief said.
People are being put under the burden of unemployment, inflation and taxation, against which the Congress is going to start Bharat Jodo Yatra, he said.
“I am not alone in this fight, every citizen of the country is with me and together we will unite India,” Gandhi said.
Addressing a press conference here, Congress spokesperson Gourav Vallabh said the Centre has been “misusing the CBI and ED” to “silence the Opposition” but the party will continue to raise its voice against the rising inflation and imposition of GST on essential food items.
“The Centre doesn’t care about the common man because they only focus on misusing the ED and CBI. They can arrest any leader, they can harass anyone using CBI and ED, but we will continue to raise our voice,” he said.
“Fuel prices skyrocketed after the BJP government came to power. Not just fuel, but even the prices of essential food items are sky high. This is Vikas for the BJP,” he alleged.
Speaking about GST on essential items, Vallabh said, “This is the first government that imposed taxes on wheat flour. Petrol and diesel became unaffordable for the common man.” Addressing a presser in Mumbai, Congress’ media department head Pawan Khera slammed the Narendra Modi-led Centre over inflation, and claimed the ruling BJP was trying to divert the attention from real issues.
He said that during the previous Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government, the price of crude oil was USD 106 per barrel, still the price of petrol was Rs 71 per litre and that of diesel was Rs 55. Since 2014, the BJP-led Centre has been constantly increasing the excise duty on fuel, he said.
“But every week there is a controversy to deflect the attention from real issues. They are dividing society in the name of religion, language, the attire people wear. Everyday there is a new controversy,” Khera said.
Be it demonetisation or rolling of the Goods and Service Tax (GST) regime, everything was done hurriedly, he said.
Addressing reporters in Ahmedabad, Congress leader Yashomati Thakur also slammed the BJP government at the Centre for inflation and unemployment and said her party would continue to raise its voice for the country’s distressed citizens.
Thakur, a former minister in Maharashtra’s previous Maha Vikas Aghadi government, also alleged the Centre was granting massive amounts of money to industrialist friends even as the common citizen was finding it difficult to make ends meet.
“We (Congress) are not scared of the central government. You are going towards dictatorship, and you believe that we can be silenced by threats. However, we are from the Congress, we can get our heads chopped off but will never bow,” Thakur asserted.
Taking a swipe at the central government, she said, “Our respected Prime Minister Narendra Modiji has two brothers, one is unemployment and the other is inflation. He never talks about them, nor does he turn back to look at them.” At a press conference in Lucknow, Congress spokesperson Supriya Shrinate said the Modi government is “trampling” the country under inflation and its record in the last eight years exposes this truth.
Prime Minister Modi “used to make tall claims” on controlling price rise while his party was in the opposition but now he has “crushed people under the burden of inflation”, she alleged.
“Now, unemployment is at the highest in 45 years and income has decreased. The country is being trampled under inflation and the Modi government’s record in the last eight years exposes this truth,” she said.
Shrinate said, “Inflation is not limited to petrol and diesel. Prices of flour, pulses, rice, milk, curd and lassi have increased manifold. The prime minister imposed GST on these items and like every time, when he got caught, he blamed the states.” The press conferences were held in 22 cities including Ajoy Kumar addressing the media in Kolkata, Jitu Patwari in Jaipur, Aradhna Misra in Bhopal, Shobha Oza in Chandigarh, Ragini Nayak in Raipur, Shama Mohammed in Vishakhapatnam and Akhilesh Singh in Patna.