Karnataka: Rahul Gandhi terms electoral bonds ‘biggest extortion scam’ | Bengaluru - Hindustan Times
close_game
close_game

Karnataka: Rahul Gandhi terms electoral bonds ‘biggest extortion scam’

By, Mandya
Apr 18, 2024 02:34 AM IST

Senior Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday attacked Prime Minister Narendra Modi calling electoral bonds the “biggest extortion scam in the country”

Senior Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday attacked Prime Minister Narendra Modi calling electoral bonds the “biggest extortion scam in the country”.

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi with chief minister Siddaramaiah and deputy CM DK Shivakumar during a public meeting ahead of the Lok Sabha elections in Mandya district on Wednesday. (PTI)
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi with chief minister Siddaramaiah and deputy CM DK Shivakumar during a public meeting ahead of the Lok Sabha elections in Mandya district on Wednesday. (PTI)

Referring to the PM’s recent interview with news agency ANI, Gandhi alleged that Modi’s hands were shivering when he was asked about the controversial bonds. In the interview, PM aimed to portray electoral bonds as a means to clean the political landscape. However, Gandhi characterised electoral bonds as India’s largest scam, likening them to an extortion scheme run by “petty, goon elements.”

Unlock exclusive access to the latest news on India's general elections, only on the HT App. Download Now! Download Now!

Addressing a public rally in Mandya district as part of the ongoing Lok Sabha election campaign, the Congress leader said, “When he was talking about the electoral bonds, his hands were shivering. This is because electoral bonds are the country’s biggest corruption scandal. He (Modi) claims the electoral bonds will clean politics but they cover up who paid money and where they spent it. Even the Supreme Court has called the electoral bonds illegal.” he said.

“When data is made public, it becomes clear that there is a relation between a company getting a contract and thousands of crores being given to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). There are Income Tax and ED raids on a company and when the money is paid, the investigations end. On the streets of the country, we call it extortion,” he added.

“Generally, small-time goons resort to extortion by threatening them. But this is our biggest corruption scandal. The government has threatened and forced the businesses to pay money. They have taken hafta (extortion money) from businesses. That is why his hands were shivering,” said the Wayand MP.

Read Here: Rahul Gandhi clarifies his poverty eradication remark after PM Modi's 'magician' dig

Speaking of local electoral politics, he reiterated his assertion that the Janata Dal (Secular) functioned as ‘B team,’ of BJP. “Now they [BJP and JD(S)] are not just allies but collaborative partners working towards shared objectives.” Notably, JD(S) leader HD Kumaraswamy stands as the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) candidate in Mandya.

Gandhi said the coming Lok Sabha elections was a clash of two sets of ideologies of which the Congress and the Opposition INDIA block represented the forces that fought for freedom, ushered in a constitutional democracy and worked for the poor while the BJP was anti-thetical to such views, and it is a government-run for the benefit of about 25 corporate bigwigs.

He levelled accusations against the BJP, alleging a bias towards the wealthy. While neglecting to improve the livelihoods of farmers, the party reportedly excused loans totalling 16 lakh crore for approximately 25 corporate entities and industrialists. “This staggering sum could have sustained the MGNREGA scheme for 24 years,” Gandhi said. “Wherever the BJP holds power, farmers express discontent over agricultural woes, aggravated by the government’s failure to address their concerns.”

Reiterating the Congress party’s commitments, Gandhi said that upon assuming power at the national level, legislation would be enacted to ensure a legally guaranteed Minimum Support Price (MSP) for agricultural produce, along with nationwide forgiveness of farm debts and expedited settlements for crop insurance claims within 30 days. The Congress vowed to provide 1 lakh annually to women from economically disadvantaged families across India, equating to 8,500 per month. When combined with the 2,000 assistance provided by the Congress government in Karnataka, women from such families would receive 10,500 monthly.

Under the “Pehli Naukri Pakki” scheme, Congress proposed to offer apprenticeships to every educated youth for one year, with beneficiaries receiving 8,500 annually.

Addressing a rally in Kolar district, later in the day, Gandhi highlighted the alarming wealth disparity, revealing that 22 individuals in the country possess the same wealth as 700 million people. “They wield boundless riches and resources, leaving the remainder of India to merely observe,” he said.

In response, former Chief Minister and JD(S) and BJP’s candidate for the Mandya Lok Sabha constituency, HD Kumaraswamy, said, “Congress leaders in the State have brought in Rahul Gandhi to defeat me in the elections since they (local leaders) have no strength to face me, so they are holding a rally for Gandhi in Mandya. My victory or defeat will be decided by the people of Mandya. My defeat is not in your hands. The people have already decided to support me for the development of the constituency and for the State,” said the former chief minister.

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
Share this article
  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR
    author-default-90x90

    Arun Dev is an Assistant Editor with the Karnataka bureau of Hindustan Times. A journalist for over 10 years, he has written extensively on crime and politics.

SHARE
Story Saved
Live Score
OPEN APP
Saved Articles
Following
My Reads
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Sunday, May 19, 2024
Start 14 Days Free Trial Subscribe Now
Follow Us On