Where has the chowkidar gone, asks Rahul as he takes dig at PM

On a tour of Gujarat, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi today targeted Prime Minister Narendra Modi over a media report which had claimed that a company owned by BJP chief Amit Shah's son Jay had recorded huge increase in turnover after the saffron party came to power in 2014.

"Where has the chowkidar (watchman) gone," Gandhi asked, apparently referring to Modi's earlier statement that he does not want to behave like a prime minister but a 'chowkidar' (watchman) of the country's wealth.

The Congress vice president, who began the second leg of his campaign tour in poll-bound home state of Modi, raked up the issue to target the prime minister as also Shah at about 10 small and big public meetings that he addressed throughout the day.

He also cajoled the media to ask questions without fearing Modi and Shah.

Gandhi, who landed at Ahmedabad airport this morning, travelled to the Hatijan area of the city from where he started his tour in a specially designed bus. He travelled from Ahmedabad to Vadodara, addressing small and big public gatherings at around 10 places in the day.

Referring to newspaper reports which quoted a news website 'The Wire', Gandhi said the company owned by Shah's son grew 16,000 times in a short span.

"This is a strange world. In 2014, the company was nothing. Modi ji came (to power in 2014) and launched 'Start up India', 'Make in India', then introduced demonetisation and GST. This destroyed small businessmen and farmers," Gandhi told a gathering at Kamla village in Kheda district.

"But from this fire, one company comes up. It was nothing in 2014 but in a few months it became so big that this company's worth of Rs 50,000 rose to Rs 80 crore," he said.

Mentioning the entrepreneurial skills of Gujaratis for which they are well known, Gandhi asked whether they can do such thing.

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."

"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?" Gandhi asked.

In his brief interaction with the media, he was asked about his Gujarat campaign tour.

"Why don't you media ask question to Narendra Modi? Why don't you ask this thing to Amit Shah? Are you afraid of them. Have some courage to ask them such questions," he said.

The Congress vice president also hit out at the NDA government over the state of economy, and demanded that the rates under the Goods and Services Tax not exceed 18 per cent.

"In spite of our request to the Centre, they are charging rates of over 18 per cent under the GST...They should revert to the 18 per cent tax slab," Gandhi said, adding high taxes have ruined many businesses.

Demonetisation resulted in loss of business of many small traders, he said.

The famed Gujarat model of development had failed, the Congress leader said.

"Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the people of Gujarat know that the so-called Gujarat model has failed. If we come to power, we will propagate the old Gujarat model under which cooperative societies like Amul developed," he said.

Gandhi also attacked the government over its failure to create jobs.

India, he said, is competing with China these days. China creates 50,000 jobs every day, but India under the Modi government is able to generate just 450 jobs per day, he said.

"This is because their focus is on development of 100 big industries. When the Congress comes to power, it will develop small and medium scale industries which can create many more jobs," Gandhi said.

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

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