In a sharp attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday asked him to address the unemployment problem and farmers’ issues urgently or allow an opportunity to the Congress, saying his party will resolve these in “six months”.
Beginning a tour of his Lok Sabha constituency Amethi, the Congress vice president also slammed the government over GST, saying the tax rates are high and the slabs multiple.
He asked the prime minister to review the GST as its aim is ‘one-nation, one-tax’ and emphasised that the tax rate should not be more than 18 per cent.
Gandhi, who arrived here on a three-day visit, said, “Prime Minister Narendra Modi needs to stop wasting time of the countrymen and start giving employment to the youth as promised.”
He said the issues of the farmers and the youth are the two main concerns of the country and “if Modiji cannot address these, he should say so and Congress will come and do his work in six months.”
Speaking at a ‘chaupal’ (village gathering) in Kathaura village under Jagdishpur area, the Congress leader said, “Modiji talks about Make in India, Start Up India, but the biggest issue here is of giving employment to the youth… Modiji could not do so and this is the truth.”
He added, “the whole country knows that this man (Modi) had promised to give employment to 2 crore people but it is not in his capacity (to do so)….but the bad effect of it is that anger among the youth is rising, they want to work for the country but they are not getting an opportunity and farmers are committing suicide.”
Commenting on the employment scene, Gandhi said in India, 30,000 youth start looking for jobs every year, out of whom only 400 to 450 get it.
“Competition of the country is with China…I want to present statistics. While 400 get employment opportunities here, in China every day 50,000 youth get employment,” he said, adding that if India has to compete with China “we have to start working on Made in India, Made in Amethi, Made in Uttar Pradesh.”
Attacking the government over GST, Gandhi alleged that it was implemented without proper planning and that traders were forced to fill three forms in a month, “adding more problems to their businesses”.
Contending that tax rates under GST were high, he said the tax should not be more than 18 per cent and the one proposed by the previous UPA government was on those lines. “The BJP (government) has implemented GST but they did not understand it… (they) brought five kinds of taxes as high as 28 per cent… Every state has got its different law,” the Congress leader said.
“This is a suggestion to Modiji – review GST as its aim is one-country-one-tax,” he said.
The Congress had said there should be one tax and not above 18 per cent, he remarked, adding, “The government should start talking to small businessmen, simplify and lower it.”
UP BJP spokesperson Rakesh Tripathi, while reacting to Gandhi’s comments, said, “The people of Amethi want a solution to their local issues and problems. But, Rahul Gandhi sang the same old tune around note ban and GST.” “Gandhi is worried over the spate of development activities in Amethi and Rae Bareli launched by BJP. Moreover, the news of BJP chief Amit Shah going to Amethi has increased his tension,” Tripathi said.
A third-time Lok Sabha member from Amethi, Gandhi repeatedly said that “most of the business activities have been closed or underestimated and thus Amethi is being badly neglected by this government.”
About the works undertaken by him as the MP of Amethi, Gandhi said he had started work on the highway, hospital, petroleum institute and food park. “Food park, which was the most important thing for Amethi as 40 units would have come here and farmers would have been able to sell their goods, was taken away from here,” he said.
“It is a matter of regret that the BJP has harmed the interest of the people of Amethi…this is wrong. Their (BJP’s) thinking is like this only…but I will fight for you all and will work double of what I did,” he said.
He asked his party workers to seek answers on Modi’s promise of the employment opportunities and good income to farmers. “The BJP and the RSS should first reply to this, why are farmers committing suicide,” Gandhi said.
He also said that the government was taking the schemes of the previous UPA dispensation ahead after initially criticising those. “The BJP and the RSS are running our schemes…Modiji gave speeches in Parliamnet saying that MNREGA is useless but now the prime minister has said that it is good…When the Congress makes a scheme it is for the people and after consulting them, but BJP does not do so,” he said.
“Modi will talk about swachch Bharat but will not consult anyone if they want it…he will start it one fine day and hand over brooms to all…this does not serve the purpose,” he said.