Congress steps up offensive on Amit Shah

The Congress today stepped up its offensive on Amit Shah over claims in a media report that a firm owned by his son saw a huge rise in turnover after the BJP came to power in 2014 and asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi to remove him as BJP chief and order a probe by Supreme Court judges.

As part of their strategy, Congress leaders addressed press conferences in several state capitals to target the BJP president over the alleged business dealings of his son while prodding the prime minister to speak on the issue. The charge has been rejected by the BJP and Shah's son, Jay Amit Shah, who termed the report "false, derogatory and defamatory."

Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi took a swipe at Modi pressing him to "say something" on claims in the report by news website The Wire and used the word "shehzada" to describe Shah's son. Modi earlier used to mockingly dub Gandhi as "shehzada" during the 2014 Lok Sabha poll campaign.

"Modiji, ...Did you act as a watchman or were you a partner? Atleast say something," Gandhi said on Twitter.

Addressing a gathering at Kamla village in Kheda district in poll-bound Gujarat, Gandhi again targeted the prime minister.

"Modi ji had also said another thing (before the elections) that he does not want to become prime minister and be the 'chowkidar' (watchman) of the country's wealth. Now, where has the chowkidar gone?."

Recalling Modi's assertion that he would neither engage in corruption nor allow it to happen, the Congress leader said, "Now when Amit Shah's son's company has grown 16,000 times, Modi ji has gone silent," Gandhi said.

Congress senior spokesperson Anand Sharma asked the prime minister to remove Amit Shah as BJP chief and demanded a Commission of Inquiry by two Supreme Court judges.

Party's communications incharge Randeep Surjewala addressed a press conference in Jaipur, while other leaders spoke in various cities including in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh, both poll-bound states.

Sharma said Modi should "break his silence" on the claims and hit out at Union minister Piyush Goyal for defending Jay Shah, asking whether Goyal was "a minister, a spokesperson or business manager."

"He(Modi) speaks a lot, everyday and on each issue. He should break his silence on this issue and declare a Commission of Inquiry (to probe the charges against Jay) comprising two Supreme Court judges. There should be a neutral probe," he told reporters.

"Amit Shah should give up his post until the probe is over. He should do what Advaniji did, Gadkariji did. He should also resign or are there new parameters for him?," he said.

In Jaipur, Surjewala said Modi should relieve Shah of the party president post and get the claims probed by a two- member commission of Supreme Court judges.

Calling for transparency and accountability, he asked why should anyone "shy away" from a probe if there is nothing wrong. "The country was waiting for development...but 'Jai ka Vikas ho gaya'," he said.

In Kolkata, party spokesperson Gaurav Gogoi said Modi should prove that he is above party politics and demanded a probe into the claims of the media report.

"It is very easy to order a probe against opposition leaders but it is tough to order a probe against one's own party leaders," Gogoi told reporters.

In Lucknow, UP Congress chief Raj Babbar termed it as the "son's model" of doing business and demanded a Supreme Court probe and Shah's removal.

"This is the new "son's model" of doing business," he said posing a set of seven questions.

In Shimla, AICC secretary Ranjeet Ranjan repeated the charges and demanded a probe by sitting Supreme Court judge into companies of Jay Shah.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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