PM corners Congress with ‘Ambani-Adani’ rhetoric; Sam Pitroda quits after ‘racist’ remark | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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PM corners Congress with ‘Ambani-Adani’ rhetoric; Sam Pitroda quits after ‘racist’ remark

May 09, 2024 09:36 AM IST

From ‘Ambani-Adani’ barbs to Sam Pitroda’s ‘racist comments’, poll temperatures have peaked in India during this year’s general elections

There are many theories as to why Prime Minister Narendra Modi made a startling allegation that Congress got cash loaded in tempo from “Ambani and Adani”. The PM’s remarks is seen as an attempt to tarnish the Congress and Rahul Gandhi’s image as a recipient of black money, take the sheen out of the Congress’ campaign against corruption on a larger scale and possibly also to send a subtle message to those who are funding the principal Opposition party.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi with senior Congress leader Sonia Gandhi. (Arvind Yadav/ HT File Photo)
Prime Minister Narendra Modi with senior Congress leader Sonia Gandhi. (Arvind Yadav/ HT File Photo)

Modi to Congress: How much funds did you get from Ambani, Adani?

PM Modi on Wednesday accused the Congress of receiving bags full of black money from “Ambani and Adani” and alleged that the opposition party stopped attacking the top industrialists after receiving illegal cash, in what were striking comments coming in the middle of a heated general election.

Modi’s remarks, made at a rally in Telangana, is a twist on the conventional political narrative because the Congress, especially senior leader Rahul Gandhi, has repeatedly accused the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of being hand-in-glove with the Ambani and Adani groups. Gandhi on Wednesday mocked Modi’s comments and asked him to order a federal investigation against the firms.

This is the first time in this general elections campaign that the PM has publicly named Ambani and Adani, two of India’s richest industrialists who run vast conglomerates spanning several sectors.

Rahul Gandhi to Modi: Are you talking from personal experience?

Hours after Modi’s barb, Rahul Gandhi hit back and said, “Normally, you (Modi) take the name of Ambani-Adani behind closed doors. You took their names in public for the first time,” Gandhi said. “You also know that Adani-Ambani send money in tempo? Is this your personal experience? Do one thing: send CBI and ED to them. Get a thorough investigation done, don’t panic.”

Gandhi also took the opportunity to say, “The amount of money that PM Modi has given to them, we will give the same to the poor in India. We will make many ‘lakhpatis’ with the ‘Mahalakshmi Yojna’ and ‘Pehli Naukri Yojana’”

Sam Pitroda sparks another row, quits party post

Trust Sam Pitroda, the Chicago-based inventor, entrepreneur, development thinker, and policy maker, to create a controversy when there is none. This time, he referred to Chinese, Arabs, white people and Africans to describe the looks of people in India’s east, west, north and south, respectively.

Pitroda’s comments in an online interaction – while trying to describe the importance of India’s diversity – triggered a political row, with PM Modi attacking Rahul Gandhi for disrespecting the countrymen on the basis of their skin colour. Late in the evening, Pitroda, a friend of late PM Rajiv Gandhi, resigned from his position as the overseas cell chief of the Congress.

This is not the first time the outspoken Pitroda has shot from the hip. Last month, he spoke about the merits of inheritance tax, sparking a whole new debate and allowing PM Modi and other BJP leaders to campaign that the Congress plans to take away people’s wealth. During the last elections, Pitroda, when asked about the 1984 anti-Sikh riots, retorted, “Hua to hua!”.

“We have survived 70-75 years, in a very happy environment where people could live together, leaving aside a few fights here and there. We could hold the country together, as diverse as India – where people in the east look like Chinese, people in the west look like Arabs, people in the north look like, maybe white, and people in the south look like Africans. It doesn’t matter. We are all brothers and sisters,” Pitroda told The Statesman in a web interview.

Almost immediately, the controversy began.

Addressing a rally in Warangal, Modi attacked Rahul Gandhi over Pitroda’s comments. “Shehzade (or prince, a reference to Rahul Gandhi), you will have to answer. My country will not tolerate the disrespect of my countrymen on the basis of their skin colour. Modi will never tolerate this,” he said.

Akhilesh hits out at BSP over Akash Anand’s removal

Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav on Wednesday reacted to Mayawati’s decision to remove her nephew Akash Anand as her successor and as national coordinator of the party till he becomes ‘politically mature’.

Yadav described the BSP chief’s announcement as an indication that her party is not winning a single seat as its traditional voters are shifting towards the INDI Alliance “to save the Consitution and reservation”.

“Whatever step the BSP has taken to bring about a big change in its organisation is an internal matter of the party,” Akhilesh Yadav wrote on X. “Actually, the real reason behind this is that BSP is not seen winning even a single seat because most of the traditional supporters of BSP are also voting for INDIA bloc this time to save the Constitution and reservation.”

Mayawati, however, didn’t take Yadav’s criticism lightly. Responding to the criticism by SP, Mayawati said that the Akhilesh Yadav-led party should not worry about the happenings in her party and rather concentrate on the Yadav candidates fielded by them, who, she claimed, are in a very bad condition. She also accused the Samajwadi Party of being “extremely anti-Dalit”.

Bengaluru cops summon Nadda and BJP’s IT head

The Bengaluru Police has summoned BJP president JP Nadda and the party’s IT cell head Amit Malviya in connection with an animated clip posted by the party’s state unit that showed the Congress appeasing Muslims at the cost of other faiths and castes, people aware of the matter said on Wednesday.

The police summon came against the backdrop of the Congress’s Ramesh Babu filing a case against Nadda, Malviya and the BJP’s Karnataka chief BY Vijayendra under the Indian Penal Code’s (IPC) Section 505(2) (statement conducing public mischief), and the Representation of People Act’s Section 125 (promoting enmity between classes).

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