Demonetisation and Goods and Services Tax introduced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi were a well-thought-out strategy for destroying small and medium businesses in the county to clear the way for big players, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said on Thursday.
He was addressing a public meeting at Chalakudy in connection with the Bharat Jodo Yatra on Thursday.
“Many thought demonetisation was a mistake committed by the Prime Minister without understanding the consequences. It is not true. The PM knew exactly what demonetisation would do to the country,” he said.
“It was a financial attack on the country's small traders. It was designed to destroy their cash flow and businesses. He knew it very well that when small/medium businessmen are deprived of cash flow even for a small period, they are finished. Millions and millions of small/medium businesses were wiped out,” Mr Gandhi said.
“The Prime Minister did not stop there. He designed the GST. It was again designed to break the backbone of small businesses. Idea was to introduce complicated taxes. To engage time of businessmen to file GST month after month. To put pressure on them and to harass them,” he added.
“You know how demonetisation and GST affected small and medium players in various fields and they continue to affect them.”
“Do you think demonetisation and GST are harming big businesses? Do you think they affect their cash flow? They were designed to remove you from the way of big players,” he told traders.
“Five or six huge businesses running the entire show in the country – that is Mr. Modi’s vision of India,” Mr. Gandhi said.
“Reason is simple. Small/medium businesses do not give him funds. They don’t own TV channels. They can’t control the narratives of the country.”
“Same thing happened during COVID. Entire tourism industry was wiped out. So were rubber, cashew and coir sectors. Millions and millions of people lost jobs. The ways have been cleared for the big players. During COVID, when lockdown was imposed without notice, workers were walking. The PM didn’t help them. But he forgave taxes worth lakhs of crores for the big businesses.”
“When a small /medium trader cannot repay his loans he is a criminal and his house and everything will be snatched from him. But when a large businessman fails to repay the loan it is called non-performing assets. What we ask is fairness. Same rule for everything.”
“The BJP government is dividing the country by inciting hatred. Unemployment is increasing manifold. Prices of essential goods are skyrocketing. The Bharat Jodo Yatra is to address such issues that are affecting the common man,” Mr. Gandhi said.