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Sunday, Oct 20, 2019

‘Tughlaq Road poll scam’, says PM Modi as he targets Congress over tax raids

In this first rally in Gujarat since the Lok Sabha elections were announced, PM Narendra Modi said cash seized from people linked to the Congress showed that “the list of corruption” by the opposition party has grown longer.

lok-sabha-elections Updated: Apr 10, 2019 17:39 IST
Hiral Dave
Hiral Dave
Hindustan Times, Junagadh
Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses an election rally in Junagadh, Gujarat on Wednesday.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses an election rally in Junagadh, Gujarat on Wednesday.(REUTERS)

Ahead of the first phase of Lok Sabha elections, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday accused the Congress of funding elections by “looting” money meant for pregnant women and kids and said “nothing will be left if they return to rule India again’’.

Addressing a public rally in Gujarat’s Junagadh, Modi referred to Income Tax raids in various parts of the country over the last few days and said the cash seized from people linked to the Congress showed that “the list of corruption” by the opposition party has grown longer.

“A new name has been added to the list of corruption by the Congress. The identity of the Congress is linked to corruption under many names. Now, a new scam – backed with evidence – has been added to the account of the Congress and its leaders. It is Tughlaq Road poll scam,” Modi said.

“The Congress has snatched away food from the mouths of poor children. The Congress is grabbing the meal of those children to fill the stomach of its own leaders. The Congress is looting the money allocated for pregnant women (under welfare schemes),” the PM added.

Junagadh in the heart of Saurashtra, has seven out of Gujarat’s 26 seats. In the 2017 assembly elections, the BJP lost 14 seats in Junagadh and the nearby Amreli district as its tally in the 182-member House fell to 99, the lowest since 1995.

While Patidar agitation coupled with agrarian distress were reasons cited for the BJP’s debacle, the PM focused his speech in attacking the Congress over nationalism and corruption.

“The entire trail of the money – where it came from and where it was going – it’s all there in the media. It has not been even six months since the formation of a new government in Madhya Pradesh. Earlier, the Congress had made Karnataka its ATM. Now, they have turned Madhya Pradesh into their ATM. It is likely that the fate of Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh won’t be any different,” he said. “Now is the time to save India. Nothing will be left if they return to rule India.”

Pitching for another term at the centre, Modi said that one needs to see “our track record and Congress’ tape record”. “Our track record is of fight against terror, focus on development, and taking up the cause of the poor. But their tape recorder plays only one song, remove Modi. They don’t have any other agenda,” he said.

The PM invoked Gujarati pride saying that the Nehru-Gandhi family has always harboured “hatred towards Gujarat”. “There is no abuse that has not been hurled by the Congress at your son, this chowkidar. History is witness to what this family did to Sardar (Vallabhbhai) Patel and Morarji Desai… and when my turn came, the family was rattled that a chaiwala completed five years (at the Centre) with full strength,” Modi said.

In this first rally in Gujarat since the Lok Sabha elections were announced, Modi also attacked the Congress over Jammu and Kashmir and the Balakot air strike.

‘’Today the Congress is out to hurt Sardar Patel’s dream and every Indian’s sentiments of a united India. The Congress is supporting those who wants to separate Jammu and Kashmir from the country…they want a separate Prime Minister for J&K…you tell me whether this country should have two Prime Ministers? Do you think anyone from Gujarat, Bihar or Assam will make such a demand? But the Congress is walking shoulder to shoulder with those who are making such a demand’’, he added.

He further said, “What is the reason that time and again the demand for separate nation comes from J&K? The country has left no stone unturned for the development of J&K…the country has sacrificed its brave sons for the security of J&K people…there would not be a single state of India whose son has not martyred on J&K soil to ensure peace and security’’.

Modi took a swipe at India’s first Prime Minister Jawahar Lal Nehru for the problems in Kashmir. “Sardar Patel united several kingdoms into the country including Junagadh and Hyderabad. Just one issue (of J&K) was left to Nehru and even today it is the reason the blood of soldiers is being spilled’’.

He also reiterated the BJP’s charge that the Balakot air strike had hurt the Congress.

“The Congress is scared after the Balakot air strike. While our soldiers bravely conducted air strike on Pakistan, it caused pain to the Congress in India. You tell me, aren’t you are satisfied with air strike… Should India have done it or not? And do you think this son of Gujarat would have sit back and not done this?” Modi said.

He accused the UPA government of taking no action against terrorism. “Now and then, there were bombings reported in India. Akshardham in Gujarat, Ahmedabad and the Mumbai attack. But no steps were taken by the remote control government for 10 years. Did anyone stop you? You lacked will and strength…but do not try to be obstacle for the one who wants to do it. And, now we have decided to finish its (terrorism) roots),” he said.

Modi also lashed out at Congress over its manifesto that calls for reviewing the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act and scrapping the colonial-era sedition law.

“The Congress manifesto, which I call Dhakoslapatra, has all the plans to demoralize the armed force. To support the tukde-tukde gang, they want the sedition law to be scrapped. But between 2015 to 2019 I have brought them almost near to bars and in 2019 they all will be put behind bars,” he said.

First Published: Apr 10, 2019 17:33 IST

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