Congress leader Rahul Gandhi | File image

Itanagar: All India Congress Committee (AICC) president Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday said that the introduction of Citizen (Amendment) Bill, 2016 made by the Bharatiya Janata Party was the biggest attack launched by the ruling party on the people of northeast, while addressing a rally at the Indira Gandhi Park in Itanagar.

Taking a dig at BJP national president Amit Shah, who in a recent rally in Assam had declared to re-introduce the Bill in the northeast, if his party was re-elected to power, Gandhi said that there cannot be a bigger threat launched by the BJP to the culture, language and people of the region.

“This is an attempt made by the BJP to make the people of north east weak. It is an attempt to destroy them. We (Congress), however, have proved it and also made it clear that we will never allow the Citizenship Bill no matter what happens,” Gandhi said.

“The moment I came to know [that] the people in Northeast were scared that the Bill would threaten their identity, I decided to stop it in the Rajya Sabha,” he added.

This was Gandhi’s first visit to the State as the Congress chief.

The relationship the Congress shares with Arunachal and the rest of north east is that from the heart. We consider the language, history and culture of Arunachal and the region as the strength of our country and our nation is incomplete without it. We don’t believe in imposing a particular thought process across the nation as the BJP and RSS does. Most importantly, we do not want to suppress the voice of the citizens, the Congress chief said.

Gandhi said that the BJP and RSS are free to live their lives with their own thought process and ideologies, however, “the Congress will never let them impose it on the people of Arunachal, Manipur, or on any other part of the nation.”

He also said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi who considers himself as a patriot was busy shooting a film at Jim Corbett National Park when the Pulwama attack happened on February 14. Gandhi said that, he on the other hand had cancelled all his programmes following the attack in which 40 jawans of the Central Reserve Police Force were killed.

“He (Modi) was busy with makeup and posing for the cameras for more than 3 hours,” Gandhi added.

Referring to recent anti-Permanent Resident agitation that rocked Arunachal and led to the loss of three lives, the Congress chief said he met the youths who were fired upon and injured at Guwahati during his recent visit to Assam.

“The youths of the state were “martyred” during the protest. Is it necessary to shoot at your own people? Can’t the government talk to its own people? This is the kind of mindset the BJP has. If one does not listen to them, they tend to suppress them. They should understand that they cannot overpower the sentiments and bonding of the people of the country and northeast,” Gandhi said.

Further he said, till today, no one knows what this “Gabbar Singh Tax” is and how it is to be paid. So when our party comes to power, we will get rid of the ‘Gabbar Singh Tax’, and present before you GST, the Congress president claimed.

Gandhi also attacked Modi on demonetization and said even a school going child who knows basic economy would know that it was a big blunder made by the prime minister.

“At midnight, he (Modi) introduced in demonitisation with full drama. Following this, the government took away the money which the people had in their pockets,” Gandhi said.

“No one saw the black money come back to us as promised by the prime minister. We never saw the ones with black income stand in line to deposit cash during demonetization. Did you see Nirav Modi who stole Rs 35000 crore standing in the line? Everyone in India is a ‘chor’ [on] today’s date, Nirav Modi, Lalit Modi, Narendra Modi. Why is it Modi, Modi, Modi all over?” quipped Gandhi.

Commenting on the chowkidar debate, Gandhi said that Modi who wanted to become a chowkidar instead of a PM in 2014 has stolen a lot from the country after being one.

“You (Modi) termed yourself a chowkidar and stole huge sums and now you say we all are chowkidars. You say this because you have been caught stealing Rs 30000 crore,” said Gandhi. He alleged that the prime minister had opened the door of the Rafale deal to help Anil Ambani steal a huge sum in the deal.

“Our UPA government under the leadership of Dr Manmohan Singh had fixed the Rafale deal with France at Rs 526 crore. It was decided to give the contract to Hindustan Aeronautical Ltd having 70 years of experience in defence equipment business. But after Modi became the prime minister, he went to France and said I am the chowkidar of India and I will open the door of Rafale deal. He then asked France to increase the price of fighter jets to Rs 1,600 crore, introduced Anil Ambani and asked the French company to pay Rs 30,000 crore to him,” alleged Gandhi.

The Congress chief said Modi was acting as chowkidar of the country so that he could handover all government contracts to 15 businessmen including the Ambanis.

Gandhi also said that Modi was busy enjoying tea with China’s president, when Chinese troops enter India and still “the prime minister wouldn’t utter a word”.

Earlier, despite of inclement weather, Gandhi arrived at the Raj Bhawan helipad at around 12.40 pm from where he reached the venue of the rally.

The rally began with the delegates and public paying a minute of homage to the three youths who were killed in the recent anti-PRC protests.

Among others at the mammoth gathering, there were AICC general secretary and in-charge of Arunachal Luizinho Faleiro, secretary Zenith Sangma and Pradesh Congress Committee Takam Sanjoy.

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