Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Friday claimed that demonetisation was the “biggest scam in the history of independent India”. Addressing a rally at Deori in Sagar district of poll-bound Madhya Pradesh, Gandhi alleged that the Centre’s move to ban high-value currency notes in 2016 proved that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had “robbed the poor of their hard-earned money and given it away to a few rich”, PTI reported.
Gandhi said Modi does not speak anymore about tackling corruption as the “chowkidar” (watchman) of the country. “If Modi says he is a chowkidar, people will respond that chowkidar chor hai,” he added.
The Congress president alleged Modi made the honest and hardworking citizens of India stand in queues outside banks during demonetisation, but “allowed the rich [businessmen] like Nirav Modi, Mehul Choksi, Vijay Mallya to flee the country”. While the prime minister had promised to be the chowkidar of the country, he ended up becoming the chowkidar to a few industrialists, Gandhi added.
“We don’t want two Hindustans, one of handful industrialists and another of common man,” Gandhi said according to The Indian Express. “If we wanted two Hindustans we would have hoisted two flags at Independence, one of 15 to 20 industrialists and one of common man.”
He said that if the loans of industrialists worth Rs 3.5 lakh crore could be waived by the government, this could also be done for farmers. However, he said Modi would instead waive the remains Rs 12 lakh crore loans of industrialists.
The Congress president also claimed that Modi cancelled the deal made by the erstwhile United Progressive Alliance government for the purchase of 126 Rafale aircraft from France without informing the Indian Air Force or the defence minister.
“The then-French President Francois Hollande has said the Indian government had asked for [businessman] Anil Ambani to be taken on board for the deal,” the Congress chief said. “Modi gave Rs 30,000 crore to Anil Ambani in this deal. This is the chowkidari he has done.”
The Congress has alleged that not only is India paying more for the 36 jets under the new agreement the government signed with France in 2015, but also that the Centre recommended Ambani’s firm Reliance Defence as an offset partner for the French aviation company Dassault Aviation.
Gandhi promised that the Congress, if it came to power in Madhya Pradesh, would cancel farmers’ loans within 10 days. If this did not happen, it would change the chief minister, he said.
Gandhi also accused the Shivraj Singh Chouhan-led Madhya Pradesh government of ruining the healthcare and education system in the state. He called Vyapam the “biggest scam of the century”, and alleged that the “entire state” knew that the chief minister and his family were involved in it.
Elections for the 230 Assembly seats in Madhya Pradesh will be held on November 28, and the results announced on December 11.