Jambusar (Gujarat), Nov 1 (IANS) Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi’s sharp criticism of the government over a World Bank report on ease of doing business and the state of economy on Wednesday triggered a bitter war of words between him and the BJP.
While Gandhi rejected India’s improved rank in the latest World Bank report on ease of doing business, asserting the government’s demonetisation and GST decisions wreaked havoc with the economy, the BJP hit back, saying the Congress leader was clueless on the subject.
Addressing a public meeting in poll-bound Gujarat, Gandhi said: “Jaitleyji sits in his office and listens to outsiders. I would request him to visit small traders or mid-sized business persons and ask them whether ease of doing business has improved for them or not.
“The entire country will scream in unison that there is no ease of doing business. Your demonetization and GST have hit us hard,” he told the gathering of mostly farmers and small traders in Jambusar town of Bharuch, the home district of Congress chief Sonia Gandhi’s political secretary Ahmed Patel.
“What is spoken abroad is truth for this government but what the poor say in India is farce,” he said, referring to the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business report released on Tuesday that saw India jump 30 ranks to number 100.
He said no section of the society in Gujarat and elsewhere was happy with the Modi government’s sudden note ban last year and tardy implementation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST).
“They have destroyed the economy by demonetization and have ensured that the GDP fell by 2 per cent. But he (Prime Minister) did not stop at that. He introduced GST with multiple tax slabs and a high rate of 28 per cent in one go.
“I have given GST a new name. Gabbar Singh Tax. It means that poor who sweats it out sees his money snatched away from him,” the Congress leader said.
Gandhi mocked at the Finance Minister on Twitter with the spoof of a Ghalib couplet, saying everyone knows the “reality” of ease of doing business in India but “Dr Jaitley” prefers to delude himself.
“Sabko maaloom hai ‘ease of doing business’ ki haqeeqat; khud ko khush rakhne ke liye ‘Dr Jaitley’ khayal achha hai,” Gandhi tweeted.
Jaitley shot back, pointing out the difference between the Congress-led UPA and BJP-led NDA governments.
“The difference between the UPA and NDA — the ease of doing corruption has been replaced by the ease of doing business,” the Finance Minister tweeted.
Replying to Gandhi’s charges, the BJP in Delhi said the Congress leader was exposing his lack of knowledge on economy with his “shallow statements”.
“Should I presume that he has absolutely no knowledge about what world organisations like the World Bank have to say about India’s economy,” said Union IT and Law Minister Ravishankar Prasad.
Prasad said Gandhi ought to know that India had been in the range of 130-140 previosly.
“In the last two years, we made it to 131 and 130 spot. This year, we have jumped 30 points to 100. Does he know that this is the highest jump any country has made in World Bank’s ease of doing business ranking? He doesn’t do any home work, anyway. Those who do it for him also don’t have their facts correct,” the minister said.
He also mocked at Gandhi’s likely elevation to head the Congress, saying he owed this to “the family he belongs to”.
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