Rahul Gandhi. Photo: ANI
Kochi:The Congress on Wednesday stepped up its attack on the BJP and the Central government by claiming that demonetisation and GST were not mistakes by the Narendra Modi dispensation, rather they were part of a "deliberate" game plan to destroy small businesses and reward a chosen few big industrialists.
AICC general secretary in-charge communications Jairam Ramesh said that during Congress leader Rahul Gandhi's interaction with representatives of the IT and MSME sectors, he was asked about these two economic measures.
Responding, Gandhi termed demonetisation and the Goods and Services Tax (GST) as "deliberate attempts" of the Modi government to destroy the Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) sector, Ramesh said speaking to the media prior to the start of the second leg of the day's yatra.
"It was not a mistake. It was a deliberate move to destroy small businesses, MSME sector and to benefit a chosen few businesses, industries and traders," Gandhi said, according to Ramesh.
"So, rather than looking at demonetisation and GST as mistakes, his (Gandhi) view was that they were part of Modi's game plan to reward his chosen few favourite businessmen and finish off small and medium businesses and the informal sector of the economy," Ramesh told reporters.
He added that besides representatives of the IT and MSME sectors, Gandhi, also the MP from Wayanad, met with members of the transgender community, a delegation of Kerala Congress and 50 others who belonged from a cross-section of eminent academics, lawyers, spokespersons, civil society activists and other citizens.
The Congress delegation from Kerala gave Gandhi a representation regarding problems being faced by the spice and rubber growers in the state due to crashing prices of these commodities and also brought to his attention the issue of demarcation of eco-sensitive zones in the state, Ramesh said.
The Wayanad MP assured them he would raise these issues in Parliament and would also write to the Prime Minister about these matters, he said.
In his interaction with the IT and MSME sector representatives, Gandhi also spoke on the issue of red-tapism and how it affects only small and medium businesses and not influential industrialists as it was all a matter of political access, Ramesh said.
Gandhi was of the view that those with political access see only "green tape", he added.
When asked as to how Congress was different from BJP, the Wayanad MP replied his party was less centralised and authoritarian and did not silence dissent or multiple voices and people were able to speak more openly than in the saffron party, Ramesh said.
Gandhi also said that besides unemployment, one of the major challenges facing the country was the concentration of wealth and economic power in the hands of a few.
Such concentration of economic power in a few was also a deliberate move of the Modi government according to Gandhi, Ramesh said.
Gandhi shared, on Facebook, photographs of his interactions during the yatra break and said the same has strengthened his resolve "to work towards providing them all a conducive environment to express themselves freely, so that our beloved country thrives in the joy of their freedom".
"India is a melting pot of the ancient and the modern, a breathtaking confluence of tradition and innovation that wields the power to resolve even the most complex global issues."
"This capacity can be converted to reality only when ideas are given the space to be expressed, discussed, bettered, and implemented in all earnest. An environment of hate and anger, fear and distrust shrinks this space completely," he further said in his post.
"We are not only listening to you, we are determined to bring out your thoughts and ideas. The #BharatJodoYatra is your platform. Reach out to the world and reclaim your future," he added.
The yatra resumed after 5 PM from Kalamassery Municipal Office here and ended at Paravoor junction in Aluva close to 8 PM.
The Congress' Bharat Jodo Yatra will cover a distance of 3,570 km in 150 days. It started from Kanyakumari in Tamil Nadu on September 7 and will conclude in Jammu and Kashmir.
The yatra, which entered Kerala on September 10, will go through the State covering a distance of 450 km, touching seven districts over a period of 19 days before entering Karnataka on October 1.