New Delhi: Former Congress president Rahul Gandhi, a known Adani-Ambani-baiter, on Saturday came to the defence of Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot’s warm welcome to Gautam Adani at the Invest Rajasthan 2022 Summit. He said that he is “in no way against the corporates” but against the “monopolisation” of Indian business.
Rahul Gandhi while addressing a press conference in Karnataka stressed on the fact that the Congress government in Rajasthan has not given any preferential treatment to the industrialists and if they do he will oppose it. The BJP had mocked the Congress after Gehlot showered praises on Adani, who has been often attacked by Rahul Gandhi.
They termed Gehlot’s welcome of Adani a “sign of revolt” against the Gandhis. It was in the context of the rebellion by Congress MLAs, loyal to Gehlot, who had stayed away from a Legislature Party meeting convened to authorise Sonia Gandhi to nominate Gehlot’s successor as CM.
It was seen as Gehlot’s refusal to toe the party high command’s decision to install Sachin Pilot as the next CM. Gehlot later apologised to Sonia Gandhi and withdrew from the party’s presidential race.
“In another sign of revolt and brewing discontent against the Gandhis, Rajasthan CM Ashok Gehlot invites Gautam Adani for the investor summit. He is given a seat right next to the CM. This is an open message to Rahul Gandhi, who doesn’t tire berating Adani-Ambani, to back off….,” tweeted Amit Malviya, BJP’s IT cell chief.
In another sign of revolt and brewing discontent against the Gandhis, Rajasthan CM Ashok Gehlot invites Gautam Adani for the investor summit. He is given a seat right next to the CM. This is an open message to Rahul Gandhi, who doesn’t tire berating Adani-Ambani, to back off… pic.twitter.com/ycdCoBcxi1
— Amit Malviya (@amitmalviya) October 7, 2022
“The opponent is a friend today. They have changed their ways with the hope of getting money,” tweeted BJP state president Satish Poonia.
कल तक जो था विरोधी, आज बना मनमीत
धन की जगी उम्मीद तो बदली अपनी रीत pic.twitter.com/xpuMTryPSx
— Satish Poonia (@DrSatishPoonia) October 7, 2022
Gandhi defended Gehlot, “Mr Adani has committed Rs 60,000 crore to Rajasthan. No Chief Minister can refuse such an offer. In fact it would not be correct for a Chief Minister to refuse such an offer. My contention is in the use of political power to help certain chosen businesses. My opposition is to two-three or four large businesses being helped politically to monopolise every single business in this country. That is where my opposition is.”
“I am in no way against the corporates, I am in no way against business, but I am against the complete monopolisation of Indian business because that weakens the country. And today what we are seeing, what is being done by the BJP government is complete monopolisation of all businesses by helping a chosen few businesses. That’s my problem,” he reiterated.
He said that the Rajasthan government has not given any preferential treatment to Adani nor have they used political power to help him in the state. He said that as long as they have not done it through “wrong means” he has no problem.
“The day they do that I will be standing in opposition,” he said.
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Gehlot weighs in
Addressing the summit Saturday Ashok Gehlot referred to Gautam Adani as “Gautam bhai” and praised his business acumen as well as social welfare schemes. As the photos of the event became public, the BJP attacked the Congress for having double-standards as Rahul Gandhi has repeatedly attacked industrialists.
Before the event, Rahul Gandhi had put up a tweet saying the centre was waving loans amounting to several crore rupees of “capitalist friends” while others are facing hardships. “Two Indias in one country. We will not accept this division,” he had tweeted.
कल मैं एक महिला से मिला, उनके किसान पति ने ₹50,000 के कर्ज़ के कारण आत्महत्या कर ली।
एक भारत: पूंजीपति मित्रों को 6% ब्याज पर कर्ज़ और करोड़ों की कर्ज़माफ़ी
दूसरा भारत: अन्नदाताओं को 24% ब्याज पर कर्ज़ और कष्टों से भरी ज़िंदगी
एक देश में ये ‘दो भारत’, हम स्वीकार नहीं करेंगे।
— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) October 7, 2022
Gehlot said that he condemns the BJP for opposing an event like this. “The way they tried to create an issue in the media regarding Gautam Adani, whether it is Gautam Adani or any other Adani, or Ambani or Amit Shah’s son Jay Shah, we welcome everyone here. We want investors, investment and employment,” said Gehlot while speaking to the media.
Gehlot said a section of the media and the BJP have been trying to create negative publicity for the event.
“Making this investment summit an issue will prove to be detrimental to the BJP. The more they will oppose this, the more trouble it will create for them as youth wants jobs and they are trying to scuttle that. This is not a private programme. These 3000 people who have come are not Congress people. It can be anyone from Congress, BJP, or any other person,” said Gehlot.
Senior Congress leader Jairam Ramesh also defended Gehlot. In a tweet he said that “Gehlot is very much against cronyism of the Modi variety”.
Much media hype is being created over Ashok Gehlot's meet with Adani. Adani wants to invest approximately ₹60,000 cr in Rajasthan. No CM will say don't invest. There are NO special rules or policies for Adani by RJ Govt. Gehlot is very much against cronyism of the Modi variety.
— Jairam Ramesh (@Jairam_Ramesh) October 8, 2022
A senior Congress leader, speaking to ThePrint on the condition of anonymity, maintained that it was sheer coincidence that Gandhi’s statement on ‘capitalist friends’ and Gehlot’s summit where industrialists were welcomed coincided.
“As far as senior leadership is concerned they haven’t said anything on the matter. It doesn’t seem to be an issue but those who are anti-Gehlot are using it to spread a narrative,” the leader said.
However, another party functionary said to ThePrint that Gehlot could have avoided ‘cosying’ up to Adani as it conveyed a “wrong message”.
(Edited by Theres Sudeep)
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