Assembly elections

The defeat in 2014 election drilled sense into the Congress, says Rahul Gandhi in Gujarat

He called Jay Shah, the son of BJP President Amit Shah, the ‘icon of start-up India’.

Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday claimed that the party’s loss in the 2014 Lok Sabha election, in which it won just 44 seats, had helped him a lot. “The BJP have really helped me,” said Gandhi at an event in Gujarat ahead of the Assembly elections.

He said the defeat in the 2014 election has opened his eyes. “Itni buri tarah haraya ki pit pitkar humein akal aagayi [They beat us so badly in 2014 that it drilled sense into us].”

The Congress scion criticised the government’s implementation of the Goods and Services Tax. “In spite of our request to the Centre, they are charging rates of over 18% under the GST... They should revert to the 18% tax slab,” Firstpost reported him as saying.

Gandhi said that fuel prices should come under the GST too, adding that the inflationary impact of the tax would soon be felt, The Hindu reported. The Congress leader claimed that smaller businesses had suffered big losses because of higher taxes coupled with demonetisation. He also said the ruling government has not focused on generating employment. “When you take selfies, we see the phone is ‘made in China’. This means we are giving jobs to the Chinese,” he said.

Gandhi accused the Bharatiya Janata Party government of being oppressive towards women. “They think that as long as a woman stays quiet, it’s fine, but the moment she speaks up, we should silence them,” Gandhi said, though he did not refer to any specific incidents.

He called Jay Shah, son of BJP President Amit Shah, the “icon of Start-up India” and criticised Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his silence on a recent news report about Jay Shah’s company, ANI reported. The news report had on Sunday claimed that the company’s revenues increased massively the year after Modi’s government came to power at the Centre.

“The chowkidaar [security guard] of India is quiet, he does not like to speak on such things,” Gandhi said about Modi at a public meeting in Vadodara. On Monday, Gandhi had said Shah’s company had risen “from [the] ashes” of demonetisation, even as other businesses suffered.

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