Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi today attacked Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the floundering Nano project of leading automobile manufacturer Tata Motors. "PM's pet "Make in India" project just died. 33,000 crores of Gujarati taxpayer money turned to ash. Who is accountable?" Mr Gandhi tweeted.
This is Mr Gandhi's second volley on the subject. Earlier this month, he had zeroed in on the Rs 33,000 crore worth of "benefits" that he claimed were given to the Nano car plant in Sanand, near Ahmedabad.
On November 1, Mr Gandhi, during his visit to a spot near Sanand, had claimed he had not seen a single Nano on the road. This, he said, was despite a huge benefit to Tatas from the Gujarat government. The amount, Rs 33,000 crore, was almost as much as the erstwhile UPA government had spent on MNREGA, its flagship rural employment scheme.
"UPA spent Rs. 33,000 crore on MGNREGA. Modiji gave that much money to one company (Tata) in this state," he said. "But did you get any benefit from the factory? Do you drive a Tata Nano? Do you have a Tata Nano at home? Did your children get employment in the factory?" he asked.
The sale of Nano, the cheapest car envisaged by Ratan Tata, had dropped enough to make its production non-viable, Tata Motors have recently said. But the company had also said it was not thinking of discontinuing production yet in view of the car's emotional connect with the people.
Rahul Gandhi had cited the instance of Nano to hit out at the Gujarat model of development, which the BJP used as a yardstick ahead of the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. The Congress contends that the Gujarat model has worked only for the state's industrial houses, not its farmers, labourers or fishermen.
The big BJP push in Gujarat -- a state full of small and medium businesses -- despite being in power for 22 years is seen as a sign of the ruling party's nervousness over the reaction to the governmnet's flagship Goods and Services Tax. Though GST is seen as a key reform, small traders have expressed reservations about its complex structure and rules for filing returns, most of which has now been simplified.