It is better to earn a living selling pakodas instead of being unemployed, BJP president Amit Shah said in his maiden speech in the Rajya Sabha on Monday while countering an Opposition attack.
“Selling pakoda s is not shameful, what is shameful is comparing such a person to a beggar,” Mr. Shah said in an election campaign-style speech that spoke of every major scheme launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the past three-and-a-half years. “It is better for a youth to earn living selling pakodas instead of being unemployed”, he said adding that a tea-seller’s son has become the Prime Minister today.
“A pakoda -seller’s children may tomorrow become big industrialists,” he said. He said the BJP government had distributed ₹4.5 lakh crore under the Mudra Loan. He conceded that unemployment was a problem in the country. “We have been in power only for eight [of the 70] years. Even after 55 years of your rule the problem still exists, then who is to blame,” he asked.
Mr. Shah picked on Congress president Rahul Gandhi for his “Gabbar Singh Tax” jibe made during the Gujarat Assembly polls campaign — Gabbar Singh being the legendary dacoit from the film Sholay . “Is dacoity taking place here? Is legally claiming taxes from people dacoity?”
Giving it an emotional twist, he said the money collected from the GST paid for social welfare schemes. “It goes into the bank account of jawans for giving one rank, one pension. It goes into the bank account of widows of martyrs. It goes towards giving the poor women clean cooking fuel,” he said.
He also insisted that none of the BJP-run State governments opposed the GST during the Congress-led UPA regime. Mr. Shah said that the BJP was only opposed to the way UPA wanted to implement the GST.
He also used the occasion to slam the opposition for allegedly stalling the Triple Talaq legislation. Invoking the Shah Bano case, he said that the then Congress government headed by Rajiv Gandhi framed a law to oppose the Supreme Court’s verdict. And now Congress is once again opposing the law.
After the Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh assembly polls, Mr Shah said he can say emphatically that three vices plaguing the country — dynastic politics, casteism and appeasement — had ended. Even the Opposition, he claimed can’t pin any corruption charge on the government in the last three and a half years.
He also pitched for simultaneous elections calling for a healthy debate on the issue.