PM Modi won’t debate with me as he can’t answer questions on Adani links: Rahul Gandhi

Gandhi had on 11 May accepted an invitation to a debate with Modi and also said the nation expects the prime minister to participate in it.

ByPTI

Published May 19, 2024 | 9:57 AMUpdatedMay 19, 2024 | 9:57 AM

Rahul Gandhi. (X)

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Saturday, 18 May, claimed that Prime Minister Narendra Modi refused the debate with him as the latter cannot answer questions about his “links” with a few “favoured businessmen” and how he “misused” electoral bonds.

Addressing a public meeting organised by the Congress in New Delhi, he urged workers of his party and of the AAP to work together to ensure the victory of their alliance on all seven Lok Sabha seats in the national capital.

“It’s interesting that I’ll vote for AAP and Arvind Kejriwal will vote for Congress in these elections,” he said.

Gandhi said the first aim of everyone should be to save the Constitution from those “hell-bent on destroying it”.

Also Read: INDIA bloc leaders flay PM Modi’s bulldozer remark, Congress seeks EC action

Slams Modi

Attacking the prime minister, the Congress leader said, “PM Modi is giving non-stop interviews to his favourite journalists but he will not have a debate with me because he knows he cannot answer my questions.”

“PM Modi talks about the Congress getting tempo-loads of money from Adani-Ambani, but he doesn’t dare to get it probed,” he said.

“I’m ready to debate with PM Modi whenever and wherever he wants, but I’m sure he won’t come. The first question I would ask PM Modi is what is his relationship with Adani, next I want to ask him about electoral bonds,” the former Congress chief said.

Gandhi said the debate would end after these two questions only, but he also wanted to ask the prime minister “why he told the public to bang plates and flash mobile phones when people were suffering from the Covid pandemic”.

“He won’t join a debate with me but he speaks in his rallies only about issues I raise. When I said why he does not talk about Adani-Ambani, he talked about it immediately,” he said.

Former Supreme Court judges Madan B Lokur and Ajit P Shah and senior journalist N Ram had written to Gandhi and the prime minister recently inviting them to a platform for a debate on key Lok Sabha election issues.

Gandhi had on 11 May accepted an invitation to a debate with Modi and also said the nation expects the prime minister to participate in it.

Also Read: Telangana Congress asks for review of voters’ list, alleges ‘double voting’

Hits out at media

On Saturday, the former Congress president also hit out at the media, alleging they were “friends of 2-3 industrialists” as they would either show Ambani weddings, Bollywood stars or Narendra Modi on their channels round the clock.

“Still, stringers and cameramen working for these media houses will vote for Congress only,” he said.

In his speech, the senior Congress leader also referred to his questioning by the Enforcement Directorate.

“They got me interrogated by ED for 55 hours till they got tired… They snatched my house, I told them I don’t want your house as the entire country is my home,” he said.

On those defecting to the BJP, Gandhi said he was fine with it. “We don’t want coward (darpok) leaders, we want ”Babbar Sher”. We don’t want those who cower fearing CBI-ED action.”

He also cited the examples of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and former Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren who were put behind bars.

Also Read: Amit Shah attacks Rahul Gandhi for not attending Ram temple event

Lists out policy plans

Talking about Congress and INDIA bloc plans if they are able to form a government at the Centre, Gandhi said, “We will throw the Agniveer scheme in the dustbin, simplify GST and help small businessmen rather than big industrialists.”

He alleged that Prime Minister Modi has done nothing for small businessmen, “but gave ₹16 lakh crore to industrialists like Adani and Ambani”.

He said the government brought demonetisation and a complex tax like GST that broke the back of small and medium businesses and also led to the closure of many such businesses.

“I urge Congress workers to vote for Congress candidates on three seats of Delhi and for AAP candidates on four seats. Similarly, I urge AAP workers to vote for their party leaders in four seats and for Congress candidates in three constituencies,” he said.

Gandhi spoke about the Mahalakshmi Scheme the party intended to bring if the INDIA bloc came to power.

Also Read: Karnataka Deputy CM Shivakumar to campaign for Rahul Gandhi in Raebareli

‘Will make crores of lakhpatis’

“We will make crores of lakhpatis. Under the scheme, a list of all families living below the poverty line will be drawn and a woman will be chosen from each family and the INDIA bloc will give them one lakh rupees in a year by depositing ₹8,500 per month,” he said.

He said they will give MSP for farmers and the MNREGA wages will be increased to ₹400 from the current ₹250.

“Two crore youths have been rendered unemployed. We will bring the Pehli Naukri Pakki Yojana,” he said.

Referring to Delhi as the ”Brotherhood Capital”, he said that if people work together with love, there is progress.

He said that they will simplify GST so that small and medium businesses can grow since they can generate employment.

“You will compete with China. Made in Chandni Chowk will give tough competition,” he added. Gandhi also gave credit for the free ration scheme to the UPA.

“If we come to power, we will give 10 kg ration every month to the poor,” he added.

Under a seat-sharing arrangement between the two constituents of the Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance (INDIA), the Congress has fielded candidates from three of the seven Lok Sabha seats in Delhi while AAP is contesting the remaining four.

(Disclaimer: The headline, subheads, and intro of this report along with the photos may have been reworked by South First. The rest of the content is from a syndicated feed, and has been edited for style.)