In­dia is not PM, Modi is not coun­try, says Rahul

IN HOUSE Cong V-P says black money com­pli­ance win­dow is ‘fair and lovely scheme’

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - HT Navi Mumbai Live - - FRONT PAGE - HT Correspondent let­ters@hin­dus­tan­

NEW DELHI: Cong ress vi­cepres­i­dent Rahul Gandhi on Wed­nes­day launched a no-holds­barred at­tack on Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi, ac­cus­ing him of go­ing soft on hoard­ers of black money and mak­ing re­peated U-turns on his Pak­istan pol­icy.

Gandhi said Modi did not con­sult even his own min­is­ters be­fore de­cid­ing on mat­ters of na­tional im­por­tance, cit­ing the Naga ac­cord and the im­promptu Christ­mas de­tour to have tea at Pak­istani PM Nawaz Sharif ’s farm­house. Main­tain­ing that the PM could not run the coun­try on his whims through a cen­tralised style of func­tion­ing, Gandhi said, “The coun­try is not the PM and he is not the coun­try.”

Punc­tu­at­ing his 35- minute speech with barbs tar­get­ing the PM rather than the govern­ment, Gandhi played on the per­cep­tion that Modi sin­gle-hand­edly de­cided on im­por­tant mat­ters. And, he went on to ques­tion the PM on all of them — Modi’s si­lence on the rag­ing de­bate on free speech, es­pe­cially the at­tack on jour­nal­ists and teach­ers in a Delhi court, the Naga pact that no one else knew about, and also the am­bi­tious Make in In­dia cam­paign that promised to be a job-spin­ner.

Gandhi first picked on the one­time com­pli­ance win­dow for black money hold­ers an­nounced in the bud­get, de­scrib­ing it as a “fair and lovely” scheme — a ref­er­ence to a pop­u­lar skin-whitening cream. “No­body who has black money will be jailed un­der Modi’s Fair and Lovely scheme. All those who have black money can make it white un­der this scheme,” he said.

Gandhi did fum­ble in be­tween but re­cov­ered quickly to de­liver an­other punch. “Yes, I do make mis­takes. I am not from the RSS (Rashtriya Swayam­se­wak Sangh, the BJP’s ide­o­log­i­cal men­tor),” said the Congress leader, who last year came up with the “suit­boot ki sarkar” jab, ac­cus­ing the Modi govern­ment of be­ing pro- in­dus­try and anti-poor. Modi is slated to re­spond on Thurs­day to the dis­cus­sion on the mo­tion of thanks to the Pres­i­dent’s ad­dress to Par­lia­ment.The BJP’s front-line min­is­ters were not in the House when a clean-shaven Gandhi dressed in his trade­mark white kurta spoke. Rul­ing party MPs who were present did not dis­turb and, at times, some even seemed to en­joy the speech.

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