Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Wednesday hit back strongly at Congress President Rahul Gandhi with a six-point rebuttal to the latter's remarks at a public address in Mandsaur in Madhya Pradesh.
Rahul Gandhi had launched a scathing attack on the Narendra Modi-led NDA govt while addressing a rally at Pipliya Mandi in Mandsaur district to commemorate the first anniversary of police firing on farmers during an agitation in which six farmers were killed on June 6 last year.
In an article, posted on his Facebook page titled 'How much does he know', Jaitley said; "Every time I listen to the view of Shri Rahul Gandhi, both inside and outside Parliament, I ask myself the same question – How much does he know? When will he know?
"Listening to his speech delivered in Madhya Pradesh today reaffirms my curiosity about the answer. Is he being inadequately briefed or is he being a little too liberal with his facts", wrote Jaitley before providing a six-point counter-argument to what the Congress chief said during the rally.
1. Loan waiver of top industrialists
Jaitley said that Gandhi’s accusation that Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government had waved loans of Rs 2.5 lakh crore of top 15 industrialists of the country was ‘factually false’.
The finance minister clarified that the Centre had not waived “a single rupee due from any industrialist”.
Instead, those who owed money to the banks and other creditors “have been declared insolvent and removed from their companies” by the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC), Jaitley claimed.
2. Loans inaccessible to farmers
Replying to Rahul Gandhi's Gandhi’s charge that loans are not made available to farmers and are only available to the industrialists, the finance minister said, “This was during the UPA Government, particularly UPA II, when bulk of amount constitute the NPA’s today were given by the banking system during the period 2008-14. From 2014 we have been systematically taking one step after the other to recover these monies back.”
3. Nirav Modi scam
Talking about the Congress president’s charge that Prime Minister Modi ‘gave Rs 35,000 crore each to two diamond jewelers, who escaped the country,’ Jaitley replied that the “banking fraud started in the year 2011 when the UPA II was in power. It was only detected during the NDA period.”
4. ‘Case of inadequate knowledge’
Responding to the Gandhi's claim that mobile phones that are manufactured in China will be manufactured in India, if Congress comes to power, the finance minister said it was “a case of inadequate knowledge.”
Further, Jaitley claimed that there were only two mobile manufacturing unites in India in 2014, when UPA lost power, while the number has increased to 120 units with an investment of Rs 1,32,000 crore in 2018 as a result of Modi government’s electronics policy and the incentives.
5. On job creation
Rebutting Gandhi’s charge that India has not been able to create enough jobs under the Modi government, the finance minister said that the latest Gross Domestic Product (GDP) data has “re-emphasised India as the fastest growing economy in the world.”
“There is a double digit growth in construction, expansion in manufacturing, an increased capital formation which indicates investment increase, large investment in physical infrastructure and increased investment in rural India. All these are job creating sectors,” Jaitley said.
6. Connecting rural and urban Madhya Pradesh
In his public address on Wednesday, the Congress president had said that if elected, the Congress would connect farms and villages to cities.
Taking a jibe at the Congress president, Jaitley said that Gandhi's “impression is of the Digvijay Singh era in Madhya Pradesh.”
“Madhya Pradesh had the worst set of roads in India when the Congress was voted out in 2003. Poor quality roads was one key reason for ousting the Congress. Thanks to Shri Shivraj Singh Chouhan and Prime Minister Modi who during the NDA Government, has tripled the investment in rural roads, in comparison to what the UPA spent, there is a revolution in the Gram Sadak Yojana,” Jaitley claimed.
Congress communications in-charge Randeep Surjewala quickly hit back at Jaitley over his jibe at Gandhi, asking instead how much does he know, alleging that arrogance of the BJP has touched its "zenith" as they have turned "blind" to farm distress.
How much does Shri Arun Jaitley know? Has 'Arrogance of Power' reached such a zenith where BJP is blind to 'Farmer Distress'? How are empty worded 'Blogs' an answer to 'Betrayal of Farmers' by Modi Government?," Surjewala asked.
Surjewala also reminded the finance minister of former prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru's words that "facts are facts, and will not disappear on account of your likes".
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