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Rahul Gandhi’s first Lok Sabha speech since Yatra: Adani, unemployment & attacks on Modi govt

The Opposition leader said there was no mention of unemployment & price rise in the President’s pre-Budget address, but ‘that is all I got to hear during the Yatra’.

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New Delhi: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday questioned why certain industrialists with zero domain experience were handed plum projects in various sectors in India.

Gandhi accused the central government of allegedly changing a previous rule that disallowed industrialists without prior experience from developing airports.

The Opposition leader also said people had asked him during his four-month “Bharat Jodo Yatra” how Adani had attained such success in so many sectors.

He said people asked him how Adani’s net worth increased from USD 8 billion to USD 140 billion between 2014 and 2022. “I heard Adani’s name in the entire country during the ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’ — people kept asking me how he gets into (just) any business and succeeds,” Gandhi said.

Gandhi said only Adani was on everybody’s lips from Kashmir to Himachal to ports, airports and even on the roads he walked during the Yatra. “From Tamil Nadu, Kerala to Himachal Pradesh we have been hearing one name everywhere — ‘Adani’. Across the entire country, it’s just ‘Adani’, ‘Adani’, ‘Adani’…”

Gandhi’s blistering attack on the government capped a tumultuous three days or parliamentary adjournments when Opposition parties sought a joint parliamentary committee probe into the tycoon’s financial affairs after an American short-seller questioned his burgeoning debt and use of tax havens.

Ever since the report by Hindenburg Research on 24 January, Adani’s seven listed companies have lost nearly half their market value, though the bloodbath in the embattled group’s shares were arrested somewhat on Tuesday.

Gandhi also said: “Yesterday, the PM said at HAL that we hurled the wrong allegations. But in reality, HAL’s contract of 126 aircraft went to Anil Ambani.” On Monday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi made a veiled reference to the Opposition’s allegations of corruption in the Rafale jet deal in the run-up to the 2019 general elections.

Keeping up his attack in the House, Gandhi continued: “PM goes to Australia and by magic, SBI (State Bank of India) gives a $1 billion loan to Adani. Then he goes to Bangladesh and the Bangladesh Power development board signs a 25-year contract with Adani.”

The Congress leader said earlier Modi travelled in Adani’s aircraft, but now “Adani travels in Modiji’s aircraft”. “This matter was earlier of Gujarat, then India’s and now has become international. How much money did Adani give to BJP in the last 20 years and through electoral bonds,” he asked.

The article has been updated to remove portions of Rahul Gandhi’s speech that were expunged by the Lok Sabha Speaker after the publication of the report.

Also read: Bharat Jodo Yatra gives Rahul Gandhi second chance, has killed ‘foolish dilettante’ image


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