Rahul reaches out to Patidars and traders at Surat rally
Gandhi began the meeting with a ‘Jai Sardar’ chant, a slogan used by Patidar leaders in honour of Vallabhbhai Patel.GujaratElection2017 Updated: Nov 03, 2017 23:35 IST
Ending the south Gujarat leg of his Navsarjan Yatra, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi on Friday addressed a public meeting in Surat, during which he reached out to the Patidars and traders of the famous diamond and textile hub.
The meeting was held in the Patidar-dominated Varachha area of Surat, which had witnessed violence during the Hardik Patel-led stir demanding quota for community members.
Gandhi began the meeting with a ‘Jai Sardar’ chant, a slogan used by Patidar leaders in honour of Vallabhbhai Patel, the community’s most prominent leader. .
During his address, Gandhi chose to steer clear of the reservation demand and instead spoke on the problems faced by small and medium-sized enterprises, many of which are owned by the Patel-Patidar community members.
Accusing Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the ruling BJP government of misleading people, Gandhi said: “Only a handful of people are gaining in Modi and BJP’s rule. The government gave money, land and water owned by you to this small group of people. The businessmen in Surat can even take on those in China but they are not being encouraged.”
Gandhi also announced that he would return to Surat on November 8 and interact with the GST-hit traders.
The Congress vice-president said the new tax regime and demonetisation had crippled businesses in Surat but the government was not paying any heed to the demands of the affected traders. “Their businesses were affected by note ban. Government said that note ban was done to weed out black money but the traders are not thieves,” he said .
The 47-year-old leader also demanded that PM Modi order an inquiry into the business transactions of BJP president Amit Shah’s son Jay.