Diamantaires Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi, and liquor baron Vijay Mallya fled the country only after 2014 because they realised that a “new and alert chowkidaar” has come to power, Union Minister Rajnath Singh said Thursday, as he slammed the Congress for doling out loans to “such people” during its rule.
At a poll meeting in Gautam Buddh Nagar, the senior BJP leader also claimed the opposition parties were wrongly accusing the Narendra Modi government of helping the trio flee India, while in fact it was the BJP-led NDA dispensation that brought a special law to deal with fugitive economic offenders.
“The Congress alleges that Nirav Modi, Mehul Choksi and Vijay Mallya left the country after the BJP came to power, that is Prime Minister Narendra Modi helped them escape…. But listen to this carefully, Rs 18 lakh crore were given as loans to the public from 1947 to 2008.
“But during Congress’ rule, Rs 52 lakh crore were given in loans from 2008 till 2014 only on instructions from them (Congress) to people who left this country,” he told the gathering.
“They robbed the country at will. Nirav Modi, Mallya, Choksi did not leave till the Congress was in power. But only when they realised that a ‘naya, chaukanna chowkidaar’ (new and alert watchman) has come, they fled,” Singh said.
The BJP leader asserted that all those who “robbed” Indian banks will be “dragged” back to the country.
Hitting out at Congress president Rahul Gandhi over his proposed minimum income scheme guarantee scheme that promises Rs 72,000 annually to five crore families in order to lift them out of poverty, Singh said, “The public had elected Indira Gandhi (as PM), then came Rajiv Gandhi and now Rahul Gandhi is also talking about uprooting poverty.”
“Get rid of the Congress and the country would by itself get rid of poverty,” he said.
Addressing people in Sikandrabad area while canvassing for his Cabinet colleague Mahesh Sharma, the BJP leader said soon after assuming the post of prime minister, Narendra Modi had made it clear that his government would work for development of all sections of the society.
“But the BJP, which talks of ‘sabka saath, sabka vikas’ (together with all, development for all), is accused of being communal! We won’t engage in politics of differentiating Hindus and Muslim even if we have to risk our vote bank. Call me good or bad, but that is not how we will seek votes. But I’d also make it clear that we won’t spare anyone indulging in such appeasement, regardless of their faith,” he said.
“We talk about everyone hence we are communal, and they talk about Christians, Muslims, minorities so they are secular? … What a joke!,” he remarked.
Addressing the rally at the Gujjar-Thakur-Yadav dominated belt, Singh claimed that it was Narendra Modi who “for the first time” identified the need for reservation for the poor among the general castes.
He also highlighted how India’s image has improved globally over the last five years and how the armed forces were now getting a free hand to deal with terrorists.
Referring to the terrorist attack in Jammu and Kashmir’s Pulwama which claimed the lives of 40 CRPF personnel, Singh said the prime minister had immediately convened a meeting and showed strong willpower that enabled the anti-terror air strikes later in Pakistan’s Balakot.
He invoked former prime minister and BJP stalwart late Atal Bihari Vajpayee and his famous saying “you can change your friends, but not neighbours” to assert that India followed the “padosi (neighbour) dharma” during the air strikes.
“We kept his (Vajpayee’s) words in mind. So when the strike was planned, our Air Force made sure that no innocent should get hurt nor should any defence personnel of Pakistan be hurt because it was the terrorists who attacked and they should pay for it.
“This is the reason why the world rallied in our support and even a powerful country like the US said that what India has done was right,” Singh said.
He also asserted that India has now become a major global power in terms of space technology after the successful Anti-Satellite missile (ASAT) test recently.
Taking pot shots at the SP-BSP-RLD coalition, Singh claimed there are several knots in this mega alliance.
These parties and the Congress would “ruin the country” and should not be voted to power, he said while taking pot shots at the Rahul Gandhi-led party over its stand on sedition law and the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) as mentioned in its manifesto.
Polling will be held in Gautam Buddh Nagar on April 11 in the first leg of the seven-phased general elections.