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Gandhi criticizes PM Modi over price hikes and Hindu-Muslim divide

thehourlynews 4 weeks ago 0
20220925 122514 1

Thousands of Indians rallied under opposition leader Rahul Gandhi over high unemployment and rising food and fuel prices, as the former Congress party chief attacked Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government for failing to address issues facing the people.

Gandhi accused Modi of pursuing policies that benefit big business groups at the expense of small and medium industries, poor farmers and workers, adding that people are affected by unemployment as well as rising prices.

“Narendra Modiji asks what has Congress done in 70 years? I will say this, that in 70 years, Congress has not shown such a rise in prices for the country,” he said during his speech at the Ramlila Ground in the capital, New Delhi.

He said the government is weakening the country by creating an atmosphere of fear and hatred, referring to the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party’s policy of polarization between Hindus and Muslims.

Congress party leader Rahul Gandhi speaks during a rally in New Delhi.
Thousands rallied on Sunday under Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, who has launched a fierce attack on the Modi government over soaring unemployment and inflation. [AP Photo]

“Together we will defeat BJP ideology and RSS,” he said, referring to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh – the Hindu supremacist organization that is the ideological mentor of the BJP.

Prices of petrol, diesel, cooking gas and basic foodstuffs such as wheat have risen 40-175 percent since Modi took power eight years ago, according to the Congress party leader.

He said Modi was working for two big industrialists, without naming them. He said two major groups of companies run India’s ports, airports, oil refineries, IT sector and major media houses.

He accused Modi of creating two kinds of India: “One belongs to the poor where no dream can be fulfilled, and the other to the few big businessmen where every dream can be fulfilled.”

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But Modi’s government has defended its policies, saying it has provided millions of people with toilets, cooking gas connections, drinking water, bank accounts, free health insurance and homes since it first took power in 2014.

Last month, the central bank raised interest rates to curb inflation.

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman defended the government’s handling of the economy in Parliament and said there was no prospect of India sliding into recession despite fighting the COVID-19 pandemic and supply chain disruptions caused by the ongoing Ukraine conflict.

The rally came three days before Gandhi’s 3,500-kilometre (2,185-mile) Bharat Jodu Yatra – a nationwide campaign of unity – covering Indian cities, towns and villages for the next five months.

The aim is to win people’s support ahead of two major elections to the state legislature in Modi’s Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh that are likely to influence the country’s next national elections scheduled for 2024.

Swapan Dasgupta, a BJP legislator, said in his blog on Sunday that since losing power in 2014, the Congress, which has been the default party of Indians, “has wandered its way from crisis to crisis, lost election after election and remained silent. The spectator on Important leaders deserted.

Congress is also struggling to find a successor to the ailing Sonia Gandhi as party chief, with her son Rahul resigning from the post after the party’s defeat in the 2019 national elections.

The opposition angered the government’s decision last month to impose a tax on canned milk, yogurt, cheese, yogurt, canned rice, flour and wheat. The government earlier raised fuel prices.

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The economy of India, the third largest in Asia, was recovering from the pandemic recession. Multiple waves of COVID-19 outbreaks have affected India’s large informal sector, with unemployment rising to nearly 8.5 percent in August, according to data from the Research Center for Monitoring the Indian Economy.

With e-commerce registering a boom since the outbreak of the epidemic in 2020, medium and small industries are finding it difficult to compete with larger companies with deep pockets to meet the capital requirements to overcome the distress caused by the epidemic.

India’s economy grew 13.5 percent in the April-June quarter from a year earlier, the fastest pace in a year, according to official data released on Wednesday. The jump in growth came on the back of boosting agriculture and industrialization with the easing of restrictions on the spread of the epidemic.

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