Narendra Modi's Banswara speech, Sam Pitroda's tax remarks take centre stage in phase 2 election campaign | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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Narendra Modi's Banswara speech, Sam Pitroda's tax remarks take centre stage in phase 2 election campaign

Apr 25, 2024 02:06 AM IST

As campaigning was drawing to a close, remarks by Congress leader Sam Pitroda on inheritance tax gave ammunition to Modi and other BJP leaders.

The high-decibel campaign for second phase of Lok Sabha elections covering 89 seats across 13 states ended on Wednesday.

Prime Minister Narendra kicked up a row on Sunday while addressing a rally in Rajasthan's Banswara.
Prime Minister Narendra kicked up a row on Sunday while addressing a rally in Rajasthan's Banswara.

While the campaigning in the first phase was about ‘Modi ki guarantee’ vs Congress's ‘Nyay Patra’, the second phase witnessed heated debate around Prime Minister Narendra Modi's controversial speech in Rajasthan's Banswara.

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Prime Minister Modi claimed that the Congress party, if voted to power, would snatch the wealth from common public and distribute it among “infiltrators” and “those who have more children”, referring to the Muslim community.

The prime minister's remarks triggered a massive outrage in the opposition ranks who alleged that the BJP was resorting to hate speech after realising the ‘dent’ to its prospects in the first phase of Lok Sabha elections. The opposition parties demanded Election Commission to take action against the prime minister for his divisive pitch but the poll body declined to even comment on the matter.

Read: PM Modi's ‘zindagi ke saath bhi…’ dig at Congress over Sam Pitroda's 'inheritance tax' remarks; Kharge reacts

The controversy was not even over when senior Congress leader Sam Pitroda, president of the Indian Overseas Congress, gave ammunitions to the Bharatiya Janata Party by calling for a debate and discussion on the inheritance tax.

Pitroda described the inheritance tax in the United States’ as an interesting law.

“I don’t know what the conclusion would be at the end of the day but when we talk about redistributing wealth, we are talking about new policies and new programs that are in the interest of the people and not in the interest of the super-rich only,” he said.

To be sure, India did have an inheritance tax between 1953 and 1985. It was abolished by the Rajiv Gandhi government in 1985. VP Singh, who was the finance minister, said it hadn’t helped reduce the unequal distribution of wealth or raise money for development schemes. The estate duty raised only about 20 crore.

Read: Rahul Gandhi calls caste census his life mission and Congress’ first task

Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched a blistering attack on the party, saying Pitroda’s comments on inheritance tax had revealed the Congress’s “dangerous intentions.

The Congress party was quick to distance itself from Sam Pitroda's comments, asserting that it has no plans to introduce inheritance tax in the country.

“I would like to categorically state that Congress has no plan on the inheritance tax. (Sam) Pitroda is a very distinguished professional and has made many contributions to the development of India. He expresses his views on the topic he feels strongly about,” Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh said.

“He has expressed his views in the American context, which has no relevance for us. He does not speak on behalf of the Congress,” he added.

Polling is scheduled in all 20 seats of Kerala, 14 of the 28 seats in Karnataka, 13 seats in Rajasthan, 8 seats each in Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh, 7 seats in Madhya Pradesh, 5 seats each in Assam and Bihar, 3 seats each in Chhattisgarh and West Bengal, and 1 seat each in Manipur, Tripura and Jammu and Kashmir.

Among the prominent contestants are Union minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar (Thiruvananthapuram), BJP's Tejasvi Surya (Karnataka), Hema Malini and Arun Govil (both Uttar Pradesh), Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi (Wayanad) and Shashi Tharoor (Thiruvananthapuram), Karnataka Deputy Chief Minister DK Shivakumar's brother DK Suresh (Cong), former Karnataka chief minister HD Kumaraswamy (JDS).

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