Gujarat elections: PM Modi takes on Rahul Gandhi over Somnath temple visit, GST jibe

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In Gujarat for election campaign, Prime Minister Narendra Modi criticised on Wednesday Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi for his visit to Somnath temple, saying the country’s first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru had expressed displeasure over building the place of worship.

“If there was no Sardar Patel, the temple in Somnath would never have been possible. Today some people are remembering Somanth, I have to ask them: ‘Have you forgotten your history’? Your family members, our first prime minister, was not happy with the idea of a temple being built there,” Modi said, addressing an election rally in Prachi.

He said when Dr. Rajendra Prasad was to come to inaugurate the Somnath temple, Pandit Nehru expressed his displeasure. “Sardar Patel dreamt about the Narmada but your family did not let that dream fulfil,” he said.

Earlier in the day, Modi attacked Gandhi for describing GST as ‘Gabbar Singh Tax’, saying those who looted the country could only think of dacoits.

In a stinging rebuttal to Gandhi’s repeated criticism of the Goods and Services Tax, a key economic reform of the NDA government, Modi said in Morbi town that a recently emerged “economist” was propagating a “grand stupid thought” by suggesting that GST rate be capped at 18%.

“Those who have looted people throughout their life, they can only remember dacoits,” Modi said in a reply to Gandhi’s “Gabbar Singh Tax” jibe, recalling the iconic villain from the Bollywood blockbuster “Sholay”.

In Prachi, he hit out at the Congress for allegedly blocking the passage of a bill in Rajya Sabha that confers constitutional status on the National Commission for Backward Classes. Modi said he will ensure that the bill gets passed in the upcoming Winter Session of Parliament.

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“Congress is seeking votes of the OBC communities but they should answer why they did not allow the OBC Commission to get Constitutional status all these years. We brought in the move. It was passed by Lok Sabha but stalled in the Rajya Sabha, where Congress has majority.”

He said that Parliament was meeting soon and he would ensure passage of the Bill.

“I want to assure you, Congress may try to put roadblocks, I am committed to ensure their designs fail. Parliament is meeting soon and we are going to bring that issue on the floor of the House again. We want to give our OBC communities their due,” he said.

He also attacked the Congress, saying that the party put the One Rank One Pension (OROP) issue on the back burner for 40 years.

“I want to ask the Congress Party. What is it that you have against our army? The demand for OROP was pending for 40 long years. Why did successive Congress governments do nothing about that?” he said.

“Congress leaders are masters in gossiping. They just duped our soldiers…,” the PM said.

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