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Rahul targets Modi in Gujarat, BJP hits back over ‘fake’ unemployment figures

The BJP’s media cell circulated a video on social media saying Rahul Gandhi was faking unemployment figures.

assembly elections Updated: Nov 25, 2017 22:46 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Bayad (Gujarat)
Rahul Gandhi,Congress,Narendra Modi
Congress party Vice President Rahul Gandhi addresses an election rally near Bayad in Gujarat's Aravalli district, India, Nov. 25, 2017. (AP)

Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi alleged during his campaign in poll-bound Gujarat’s north and central regions on Saturday that the BJP government was favouring big industrialists but doing little for distressed farmers, small-time traders and the jobless.

He promised a Congress government, if his party is voted to power after two decades in the state, will be for labourers, farmers and small-time businessmen.

“Narendra Modiji gave away Rs 33,000 crore (soft loan) to Tata for Nano plant. But he would not waive your farm loans,” he told farmers at Bayad in Aravali district.

Also, he accused the government of caring little for the unemployed.

“While five-10 industrialists have seen all the growth under the Modi government, Gujarat has today 30 lakh unemployed youth,” he said.

The BJP was quick to respond to Gandhi’s unemployment jibe. The party’s media cell circulated a video on social media with a caption, “Rahul Gandhi is caught faking unemployment figure. Gujarat is leading in the sector of employment generation. Rahul Gandhi should apologise for misleading and maligning people of Gujarat”.

The video shows Gandhi saying in Porbandar on November 24 that Gujarat has 5 million unemployed youth. Later in the day in Ahmedabad, he is heard putting the jobless figure at 3 million.

Gandhi, however, quoted 3 million during his Bayad speech on Saturday.

He began his second day of a two-day tour by visiting the family of the late Congress leader, Mirza Irshad Baig, and called on former chief minister Madhavsinh Solanki too.

In Lunawada that has a sizeable tribal and Muslim population, Gandhi hit out at the government’s Rafale jet fighter deal with France.

“Hindustan Aeronautics Limited has manufacturing experience. But this industrialist who got the deal has not made a single aircraft,” Gandhi said and demanded an answer from Prime Minister Modi.

“But winter session of Parliament is delayed. Parliament won’t open before the Gujarat elections so that answering such questions can be avoided,” he said.

Industrialist Anil Ambani’s company is involved in procuring 26 Rafale jets from France in accordance with the 2015 deal.

The two-phase Gujarat elections are due on December 9 and 14 and results will be declared on December 18 along with Himachal Pradesh, where polls were held on November 9.

Gandhi also hit out at the BJP’s development model.

“Gujarat is developed because you have worked hard for it. But what Modiji has done is take away your money, water and land, and gave it to a few industrialists. He would make you listen to his Mann ki Baat. But the Congress will listen to your mann ki baat,” he said.

He was referring to the Prime Minister’s radio address Mann ki Baat, roughly meaning voice of the mind.

The Prime Minister will campaign in his home state on November 27. Since Gandhi has targeted his radio show, the BJP workers plan to listen to his next programme on Sunday at gatherings across Gujarat.

First Published: Nov 25, 2017 17:59 IST