New Delhi, September 1 (PTI): Congress leader Rahul Gandhi Wednesday hit out at the government over rising prices and alleged that farmers, small traders and the salaried class were being demonetised and the wealth of the poor was being transferred to some crony capitalist ”friends of the Prime Minister”.
He also alleged the prime minister was in panic and is unable to face the reality in the country, suffering due to the structural problem and in need of a fresh perspective.
Gandhi also alleged that seeing the prime minister in panic, China is also making its own plan on seeing that India is in an ”economic and leadership crisis” it could to extract something out of it.
Slamming the Centre over rise in the prices of domestic cooking gas, diesel and petrol, he alleged the government has earned as much as Rs 23 lakh crore from taxes on these commodities in the last seven years, and asked where the money had gone.
”The interesting thing is that on one side there is demonetisation taking place with farmers, labourers, small traders, MSMEs, contract workers, salaried class, honest industrialists being hit and on the other side, there is dramatic monetisation taking place.
Their 3 or 5 big industrialists friends of the Prime Minister are being benefitted. There is a transfer of wealth taking place from the poor, from the weak, to the Prime Minister’s friends,” he said at a press conference.
”There is a structural failure and the government is in panic. The government and Narendra Modi are fearing, as he is unable to fulfil the promises made to people. He is seeing this and he is in panic. Both prime minister and finance minister are in panic and they do not know what to do. This is the reality,” he said, adding that they are living off by raising fuel prices. He said he wanted the young people of the country to think about this as it was a question about their future and should ask who this Rs 23 lakh crore money is going to. He alleged this money has been taken out of the pockets of common people including farmers, labourers and the poor through taxes on gas, petrol and diesel.
Gandhi also alleged while people’s assets and those of this country are being given away to 3 or 4 favourite people of the PM, the finance minister calls it monetisation. The former Congress chief said the government has come up with a new concept of GDP, wherein a rise in GDP meant a rise in prices of Gas, Diesel and Petrol.
He said the day international crude oil prices rose to about USD 90-100 per barrel, the situation will spiral out of control here.
”GDP – gas-diesel-petrol prices continue to rise, which are beneficial only for the industrialist friends. Question the one who is answerable,” he also said in a tweet in Hindi.
Asked why the people were not on the streets protesting against the government, Gandhi said their voice is being systematically suppressed and the media also does not highlight this. ”But, there is tremendous anger among the people and this will come out finally,” he said.
Comparing the economic situation with that of the 1991 crisis, he said, ”Today’s problem is not systemic, but a structural one and without changing the direction and vision, we cannot come out of that.” He said the economic policies that the Congress ran from 1991 to 2012 stopped working after sometime and a new approach was required thereon. The Congress, he said, gave a new perspective to the economic policies after the 1990 catastrophic failure.
”The prime minister should give a new perspective, which he is not giving. The finance minister does not understand anything. The prime minister should talk to experts,” Gandhi said, suggesting the Congress can send experts to him if he does not want to talk to those in the government.
”Narendra Modi promised to bring a new approach, but he has not. It is hollow….A new vision is required,” he stressed, urging the prime minister to talk to farmers, small industrialists and shopkeepers to know what new perspective is to be given.
Referring to the boom in the stock markets, the Congress leader said it is only 50-odd companies which are benefitting and the rest which are the backbone and would provide employment opportunities are shutting down. ”All this work is to strengthen 5-7 people,” he alleged.
The rise in petrol and diesel prices affects everyone in the country and has direct as well as indirect effect, as transport costs of every commodity rises when there is a rise in diesel prices and the country is bearing a massive cost as a result of this dramatic increase, the Congress leader said.
He also compared the prices of cooking gas cylinders, petrol and diesel between the time when UPA was in power in early 2014 to now.
Gandhi said when in 2014, the UPA left office, LPG Gas price was Rs 410 per cylinder, which has now gone up to Rs 885 per cylinder, a 116 percent increase. Petrol was at Rs 71.51 per litre and is now at Rs 101.34, a 42 percent increase, while Diesel was at Rs 57.28 and is now at Rs 88.77 a litre, a 55 percent increase International prices of petrol, diesel and cooking gas are down since 2014, but prices are still rising in India, he said.
The Congress has been attacking the government over rise in petrol, diesel and LPG prices and has been demanding a reduction in them by removing taxes.
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