Satna: Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Thursday mounted attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, accusing him of cheating the people of the country by projecting himself as the country’s ‘chowkidar’ (watchman). He said Modi had claimed to be a watchman to protect the country’s interests but he “turned out to be a ‘chowkidar’ of (industrialists) Anil Ambani and Vijay Mallya”. Gandhi was addressing a rally at Satna on the first day of his two-day visit to the Vindhya region of Madhya Pradesh ahead of assembly polls due later this year.
He began the tour of the state by offering prayers at famous Kamta Nath temple in this religious town associated with Lord Rama. “The prime minister has cheated the people of the country. Modi became prime minister by stating that he will be the chowkidar (watchman) of the country, but he turned out to be the chowkidar of Ambani and Mallya and put the nation’s Rs 30,000 crore in the pocket of Ambani through Rafale scam,” the Congress leader alleged.
Ambani has already rejected Rahul Gandhi’s allegations and emphasised that the government had no role in the Rafale- manufacturer French company Dassault picking up his company as a local partner. He had written to Gandhi on December 12, 2017, refuting allegations of his Reliance Group lacking experience to get the Rafale fighter jet deal.
He had written that Reliance Defence has the largest shipyard in the private sector at Pipavav in Gujarat and is currently building five Naval Offshore Patrol Vessels (NOPVs) for the Indian Navy and 14 Fast Patrol Vessels for the Indian Coast Guard. Taking a jibe at Modi and Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, Gandhi said, “There are two types of machines working in the country.
“First is of Modi, who runs a machine of lies and the second one is of Chouhan who operates a machine of making announcements. Because of these machines, they have lost the faith of the people in the country.” Earlier, while addressing a public meeting at Chitrakoot, Gandhi said changes will be made to the Goods and Services Tax (GST) to reduce rates on items, if his party comes to power.
He said the Modi government has “destroyed” small businesses and employment through demonetisation and ‘Gabbar Singh Tax’, a reference to GST. “As soon as we come to power, we will change the ‘Gabbar Singh Tax’ into the real tax. We will implement one tax at lowest rates,” the Congress leader said.
He said all power would be used to generate employment. GST, which brought a one-tax regime in the country, was rolled out last year. In his speech at Chitrakoot, Gandhi also accused Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman of speaking untruth on the Rafale deal issue.
“In Parliament, the defence minister said the price of Rafale fighter plane can’t be disclosed due to secret pact. I met the French president, who said there is no such pact and the price can be disclosed,” the Congress chief said alleging that the price of Rafale fighter plane gone up to Rs 1600- crore from Rs 526-crore.
The prime minister also spoke for one-and-a-half hour in Parliament but did not talk about Rafale issue, he added.
Gandhi also reiterated his promise of waiving the farmers’ loan within ten days, if elected to power in Madhya Pradesh.
Earlier, he reached Chitrakoot from Allahabad by a helicopter and visited the Kamta Nath temple where he performed ‘puja’.
The temple is located in the forested hills of Kamadgiri where, according to mythology, Lord Rama stayed during his exile.
The 48-year-old Amethi MP was accompanied by Madhya Pradesh Congress president Kamal Nath, state party campaign committee chairman Jyotiraditya Scindia and Leader of Opposition in MP Assembly Ajay Singh.
Senior party leader Digvijaya Singh was conspicuous by his absence.
The visit is part of the Congress’ campaign for the Assembly polls in Madhya Pradesh due later this year.
The Congress has been out of power in Madhya Pradesh since 2003.
During his earlier visit on September 17, Gandhi held a roadshow in Bhopal after performing a puja and taking blessings from 11 priests.