Himachal Pradesh 2017

Rahul rakes up GST, demonetisation in Himachal

Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi with Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh in Nagrota on Monday.  

Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi, who reached Himachal Pradesh on the penultimate day of campaigning, raised the issues of demonetisation and Goods and Services Tax (GST), and promised voters that he would review it once his party came to power at the Centre.

Mr. Gandhi, who addressed meetings at Paonta Sahib, Nagrota Bagwan and Chamba, said that Himachal Pradesh’s development model was far better than that of Gujarat.

He blamed the Modi government for helping the rich exchange their “black money” in the guise of demonetisation. “Black money was attacked by demonetisation but where is the black money,” he asked. “It has not surfaced anywhere but has changed colour from black to white for the big industrialists.”

Mr. Gandhi said the GST regime would be made “easier and more people-friendly”.

He attacked the Prime Minister for having double standards in dealing with the issue of corruption: “The Prime Minister does not say anything on the scams of Amit Shah’s son and never utters a word on the encroachment of government land by the former Himachal Chief Minister’s son who became the BCCI [Board of Cricket Control in India] president and was finally removed by the Supreme Court.”

He asked why the Prime Minister had no issues over the induction of Mukul Roy, Narayan Rane and B.S. Yeddyurappa into the BJP.

He also mocked the Modi government on its promise of providing employment to millions of jobless youth in the country, saying employment had been given to people in China. “People who are indulging in big talk should remember that what China does in a day, India takes a year to do.”

Politicking in the middle

After the meetings at Paonta Sahib and Chamba, Mr. Gandhi persuaded Himachal Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh to accompany him for the rally in support of senior leader G.S. Bali at Nagrota Bagwan. Mr. Singh was initially reluctant to go and had no scheduled programme for it. Unsurprisingly, he faced an embarrassing situation when Mr. Bali’s supporters began shouting slogans against him and demanded that he [Mr. Bali] should be made the next Congress Chief Minister in the State.

Mr. Virbhadra Singh requested the crowd to stop the slogan-shouting and be disciplined. But he was forced to end his address midway when Mr. Bali’s supporters did not relent.

Mr. Singh and the senior Cabinet Minister, who has the backing of the Congress high command, do not see eye to eye within the party. There has also been talk of Mr. Bali joining the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) before the elections like some traditional Congress leaders Sukh Ram and of Y.S. Parmar, the first Chief Minister of the State.

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Printable version | Mar 2, 2021 10:55:38 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/elections/himachal-pradesh-2017/rahul-rakes-up-gst-demonetisation-in-himachal/article19993375.ece

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