Elections

Rahul Gandhi Defends His Wealth Distribution Plan, Says ‘PM Has Panicked’

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said Prime Minister Narendra Modi seems to be ‘scared’ of his party's promise to ensure equality for 90 per cent of the nation.

PTI
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi | Photo: PTI
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Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday defended his party’s wealth distribution plan, saying he will give back 90 percent of funds given to businessmen as loan waivers. His reaction comes at a time when BJP particularly Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been cornering the Congress in his rallies that “the party’s aim is to redistribute wealth to infiltrators".

“I have not said we will take action yet... I am just saying let's find out how much injustice has been done,” Rahul Gandhi has reportedly said, while referring to plans by his party and the INDIA opposition bloc to conduct a national caste survey should it win the election.

He added, “This exercise will include an economic and institutional report, and is an important step in understanding how different sections of the society had developed over the years and what is needed to ensure socio-economic justice and equality for all groups.”

"Don't think the caste census is just a survey of castes. We will also add an economic and institutional survey to it. After 70 years, it is an important step, we should assess what is the situation now and what direction we need to take. We will implement this..." he said, as per NDTV.

While referring to Modi, he said, “So, did you like the Congress manifesto? You must have seen the PM has panicked... it is a revolutionary manifesto."

He also said Modi seems to be "scared" of his party's promise to ensure equality for 90 per cent of the nation.

"Injustice is being done to 90 percent of Indians. (But) the moment I called for checking and correcting this injustice, the Prime Minister and the BJP started attacking me," Rahul Gandhi said.

On April 6, a day after the Congress released its manifesto, Rahul Gandhi at a rally in Hyderabad had said if voted to power, the party will conduct a financial and institutional survey to ascertain the distribution of wealth among the people in the country.

“We will first conduct a nationwide caste census to determine how many people belong to the Other Backward Classes [OBCs], Scheduled Castes [SCs], Scheduled Tribes [STs) and minorities. After that, we will conduct a financial and institutional survey in a historic step to ascertain the distribution of wealth.”

He had also asserted that the Congress will ensure representation of all communities in all sectors, Rahul Gandhi said the party will ensure that it will give the rightful share of the people.

Rahul Gandhi's April 6 Hyderabad speech where he spoke about "financial and institutional survey had went viral on social media.

Earlier, the row erupted over the Congress' promise to ensure wealth and income equality after the Modi’s election speech in Rajasthan's Banswara.

Modi had said, "... Congress says they will calculate gold with mothers and sisters... and re-distribute that... Manmohan Singh's government said Muslims have first right..."

Besides, the BJP also posted an old video of former Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh addressing a government body meeting, in which he said underprivileged sections, including SCs, STs, and OBCs, as well as Muslims, must be "empowered to share equitably in the fruits of development".

Modi's comments - repeated a few days later - triggered a massive storm, with the Congress and other opposition parties, accusing him of spreading "lies" about the manifesto.

This was after Modi labeled the Congress' manifesto a "Muslim League imprint".

Sam Pitroda's Inheritance Tax Row

Indian Overseas Congress (IOC) Chairman Sam Pitroda, waded into the row when he told news agency ANI "(For the Prime Minister) to say they (his party) will steal your gold... you are making stories up on your own."

He cited an example from the United States - the inheritance tax - which says a portion of large financial inheritances is taken by the government. "(The law) says you, in your generation, made wealth... and you must leave your wealth for the public... half of it, which sounds fair," he said.

This triggered a massive backlash from BJP who renewed its attack on the Congress with Union Home Minister Amit Shah claiming that it meant the Congress wanted to seize 55 per cent of an individual's wealth and re-distribute it.

Congress Distances Itself Away From Pitroda

"Mr Pitroda expresses his opinions freely on issues he feels strongly about... this does not mean his views always reflect the position of the Congress," party spokesperson Jairam Ramesh said.

He accused the BJP of "sensationalising" the remarks in a "desperate attempt at diverting attention away from Mr Narendra Modi's malicious and mischievous election campaign".

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