New Delhi: In another scathing attack on the government, Rahul Gandhi on Thursday accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his government of "killing" the economy with "two quick shots to the chest," referring to last year's notes ban and new national tax GST, which he also alleged has "unleashed a tsunami of tax terrorism."
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"Commandos in hostage situations fire what is called a double tap, two quick closely placed shots fired at the chest to ensure that their terrorist target is down, is dead. Modi ji and his Government have fired a double tap at the heart of our economy. First Notebandi, bang, and then GST, bang, has crippled our economy," said the Congress vice president, who asserts that the government's policies have brought small businesses to their knees.
Mr Gandhi also said in a sharp attack on PM Modi, "The PM failed to grasp the basic concept of the Indian economy - All cash is not black and all black is not cash...the PM used his vast power to unleash terror on the citizens of India. To make millions of Indian citizens stand in queues for over two months desperately running from one ATM to another many of them dying in the process, millions losing their jobs and their livelihood. To do all that you surely need someone with a very big chest but a very small heart."
He added, "Start up India is welcome for the economy but it cannot be accompanied by Shut Up India."
He spoke hours after PM Modi said at a function that GST is giving India a new business culture and consumers will be biggest beneficiary of the new tax regime. He said prices will come down as a result of competition among companies following the implementation of GST.
The Congress and the BJP face off in a series of key state elections starting with Himachal Pradesh and Gujarat this year, and several others next year before the national elections in 2019. Rahul Gandhi, who is expected to take over as his party's president from his mother Sonia Gandhi later this month, has constructed his election campaign for crucial Gujarat around what he calls the failure of the Modi government on the economic and development front.
The government, Mr Gandhi alleged on Thursday, has disrespected small businesses. "50,000 jobs are created by China every single day. India creates 450. The only force capable of meeting China's challenge is MSMEs (Micro, Small and Medium Businesses)," Mr Gandhi said, pledging that his party "will always have the humility" to stand with MSMEs. "We will ensure you all get dignity; your troubles are India's troubles. Your successes will drive India forward," he said.
Once again admitting that the previous government at the Centre led by his party had shortcomings "towards its closing day," Rahul Gandhi on Thursday pitched for another shot at power, saying a new Congress government "would be a much more decentralised government, that distributes power much more than even the last Congress Government did."
Rahul Gandhi and his party have accused the government of misleading people with this week's presentation on the state of the economy made by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and top officials of his ministry. Mr Jaitley and his team said GDP growth, after a slump in the June quarter, is ready for take-off.
"Mr Jaitley addresses press conferences and tries his best to assure the country that 'everything is fine.' He gives us numbers, shows us charts, does detailed presentations and says that by 2019, things will be normal again," Mr Gandhi said, asserting that "trust in this government is dead."