Prime Minister Narendra Modi is not the only one championing the cause of Make in India. Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi is lending support to the Swadeshi cause as well, albeit in his style.
Addressing a poll rally in Manipur on Tuesday, the Congress leader, making a pitch for a food-processing unit, said,“Here (in Manipur) you grow nimbu (lemon), narangi (orange), pineapple… I hope that a day comes when someone in London drinks pineapple juice, and sees ‘Made in Manipur’ on the box.”
Earlier, several news outlets, including Hindustan Times, erroneously quoted Gandhi as referring to coconuts instead of pineapples. Coconuts do not grow in Manipur, pineapples do.
The northeastern state votes for a new assembly in two phases -- on March 4 and 8.
By the time the mistake was realised, Gandhi’s comment had triggered several jokes on social media. This, however, was not the first time that the 46-year-old Amethi MP’s ideas on boosting industry have caused mirth.
February 8 (Ghaziabad): Speaking at a rally, Gandhi said, “I want to see the day when bed sheet used in Barack Obama’s house will have Made in Uttar Pradesh mark.”
The Congress leader also criticised the Prime Minister for failing to deliver the promised “achche din (good days)”. He said the promise has come true only for industrialists as the country’s farmers continue to face “burey din (bad days)”.
The Congress has often accused the government of following pro-industry and anti-farmer policies.
Ghazibad, which has a thriving steel and dyeing industry, was one of the 73 constituencies that voted on February 11, the first of the seven phases of polling for the UP state assembly.
February 17 (Rae Bareli): The Congress leader again used the government’s ambitious Make in India programme to hit out at the Prime Minister at a poll meeting in Rae Bareli, saying “we only see Made in China on everything”.
Sister Priyanka by his side, Gandhi went on to explain, “It is because our PM only listens to 50 corporate families in India and he has helped Vijay Mallya escape and collectively waived off six lakh crore loan for his corporate friends.”
The PM, he said, could have helped with some money in setting up food-processing plants in the area. “I want to see Made in Rae Bareli on packaged products one day,” Gandhi said.
Rae Bareli, which has five assembly segments, is the Lok Sabha constituency of his mother and Congress president Sonia Gandhi. Rae Bareli voted on February 23.
October 1, 2016 (Firozabad): Addressing a gathering of farmers in Uttar Pradesh’s Firozabad, Gandhi said he ask the government to set up a potato factory. This was in reply to villager asking him to set up a potato chips factory so that they would be able to get a good price for their crop.
Gandhi had told the farmers: “You all are demanding a potato factory in your area, but you should understand I am an opposition leader. I can put pressure on the government, but cannot take the decision. I cannot open a potato factory for farmers”.
March 6, 2014 (Mirzapur): Addressing a rally in the carpet-manufacturing belt of Uttar Pradesh, Gandhi said he wanted the American president to one day wear a wrist watch bearing Made in Mirzapur tag.
“I want to see a day when the American president is asked: ‘Bhaiya, what is the time?’ He looks at his watch and on it is written Made in Mirzapur. He then asks his people: ‘Where is this Mirzapur? These youth of Mirzapur are snatching jobs from American youth. Where is this place?” sources quoted Gandhi as saying.