Congress Holds Pressers in 22 Cities, Slams Centre Over Rising Prices
Congress spokesperson Gourav Vallabh said the Centre has been "misusing the CBI and ED" to "silence the Opposition."
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The Congress on Monday, 29 August, stepped up its attack on the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led Centre over rising prices and accused the government of diverting attention from real issues of the people.
Congress leaders held press conferences in 22 cities across the country and gave a "Dilli Chalo" call for its 'Mehangai Par Halla Bol rally' in New Delhi's Ramlila Maidan on 4 September. The rally will be addressed by senior Congress leaders, including Rahul Gandhi.
Addressing a press conference, Congress spokesperson Gourav Vallabh said the Centre has been "misusing the CBI and ED" to "silence the Opposition" but the party will continue to raise its voice against the rising inflation and imposition of GST on essential food items.
'Centre Doesn't Care About the Common Man'
"The Centre doesn't care about the common man because they only focus on misusing the ED and CBI. They can arrest any leader, they can harass anyone using CBI and ED, but we will continue to raise our voice,” he said.
"Fuel prices skyrocketed after the BJP government came to power. Not just fuel, but even the prices of essential food items are sky high. This is Vikas for the BJP,” he alleged.
Speaking about GST on essential items, Vallabh said, “This is the first government that imposed taxes on wheat flour. Petrol and diesel became unaffordable for the common man.” Addressing a presser in Mumbai, Congress' media department head Pawan Khera slammed the Narendra Modi-led Centre over inflation, and claimed the ruling BJP was trying to divert the attention from real issues.
He said that during the previous Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government, the price of crude oil was USD 106 per barrel, still the price of petrol was Rs 71 per litre and that of diesel was Rs 55. Since 2014, the BJP-led Centre has been constantly increasing the excise duty on fuel, he said.
"But every week there is a controversy to deflect the attention from real issues. They are dividing society in the name of religion, language, the attire people wear. Everyday there is a new controversy," Khera said.
Be it demonetisation or rolling of the Goods and Service Tax (GST) regime, everything was done hurriedly, he said.
Union Govt Granting Massive Amounts of Money to Industrialist Friends: Congress leader
Addressing reporters in Ahmedabad, Congress leader Yashomati Thakur also slammed the BJP government at the Centre for inflation and unemployment and said her party would continue to raise its voice for the country's distressed citizens.
Thakur, a former minister in Maharashtra's previous Maha Vikas Aghadi government, also alleged the Centre was granting massive amounts of money to industrialist friends even as the common citizen was finding it difficult to make ends meet.
"We (Congress) are not scared of the central government. You are going towards dictatorship, and you believe that we can be silenced by threats. However, we are from the Congress, we can get our heads chopped off but will never bow," Thakur asserted.
The Congress will continue to raise the truth before the public who feel the heat of inflation and unemployment, she said.
Taking a swipe at the central government, she said, "Our respected Prime Minister Narendra Modiji has two brothers, one is unemployment and the other is inflation. He never talks about them, nor does he turn back to look at them." Slamming the BJP government in Gujarat on the Bilkis Bano case, Thakur said the 11 convicts were released on the same day when the people celebrated 'Har Ghar Tiranga' (15 August).
Thakur said Union Minister Smriti Irani used to stridently protest while in the opposition when prices of gas cylinders touched Rs 400, but was silent when it had risen to Rs 1,000 per cylinder now.
The poor are making ends meet by filling petrol worth just Rs 20, while Ujjwala Yojana beneficiaries (who got gas cylinders as part of the central government scheme) had gone back to using fossil fuels due to cylinders becoming unaffordable, the Congress leader claimed.
'Unemployment is Highest in 45 Years Now'
This was part of the government's "doob maro" policy of ignoring citizens and letting them fend for themselves after winning polls with their votes, she alleged.
The Agnipath military recruitment scheme was an attempt to create a labour class while ignoring employment generation and job security, Thakur said.
At a press conference in Lucknow, Congress spokesperson Supriya Shrinate said the Modi government is "trampling" the country under inflation and its record in the last eight years exposes this truth.
Prime Minister Modi "used to make tall claims" on controlling price rise while his party was in the opposition but now he has "crushed people under the burden of inflation", she alleged.
"Now, unemployment is at the highest in 45 years and income has decreased. The country is being trampled under inflation and the Modi government's record in the last eight years exposes this truth," she said.
Shrinate said, "Inflation is not limited to petrol and diesel. Prices of flour, pulses, rice, milk, curd and lassi have increased manifold. The prime minister imposed GST on these items and like every time, when he got caught, he blamed the states." She alleged that the "directionless policies of the Modi government have brought the unemployment situation to a disastrous turn".
The press conferences were held in 22 cities including Ajoy Kumar addressing the media in Kolkata, Jitu Patwari in Jaipur, Aradhna Misra in Bhopal, Shobha Oza in Chandigarh, Ragini Nayak in Raipur, Shama Mohammed in Vishakhapatnam and Akhilesh Singh in Patna.
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