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Rahul Gandhi slams Modi on false poll promises, calls him ‘Feku’

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Rahul_Gandhi_PTI2Patna: Taking a jab against Prime Minister Narendra Modi over his poll promises, Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi on Saturday called him a feku.

Addressing his first election rally in Bihar’s West Champaran district, Gandhi targeted Modi over his various promises made during the 2014 Lok Sabha election campaign but which remain unfulfilled till date.

“He had promised 2 lakh jobs, promised Rs 15 lakh in each of your accounts to control inflation. One year of Modi government has gone. Did it happen? Has anyone got Rs 15 lakh? Has the inflation been controlled? Has anyone got employment? … Feku tha, hai,” the Congress vice president said without taking Modi’s name.

Loosely translated, the Hindi word feku means someone who bluffs.

On employment, Gandhi said during the Lok Sabha campaign Modi had promised to revive sugar mills in Champaran but nothing had been done in this direction.

“Modi has never met the poor people, workers and labourers. He has no time for them. Modi only meets people wearing costly suits,” he said while cautioning the people of Bihar to be wary of Modi and his “suited-booted friends” who may take away their land in the name of development.

Gandhi warned the crowd at the rally that the uprooted landless people would find no shelter in big cities as they would be treated as outsiders and would be driven away from there too.

Referring to Bihari migrants being attacked in other states for being outsiders, Gandhi said: “If the BJP government comes here, people will come here in suit-boot and demand your land. Then, when you would go to other states, you would be asked to go back as you don’t speak their language; so you would be beaten up.”

He said if the BJP comes to power in Patna, the “suited-booted” friends of the prime minister from New Delhi and Gujarat would come to grab the land of the people of Bihar.

Comparing the “suited-booted” culture of the Modi dispensation with the simple living of Mahatma Gandhi, he said: “Gandhi ji gave up the comforts of his life to serve the people.”

He said while Congressmen want to mix with people, Modi and his friends were averse to the common man.

Gandhi said the prime minister has distanced himself from the poor people and “they (government) want to keep their suit clean, we want to embrace ‘dhoti'”.

If you want to bring in rozgar (employment), talk to the people who need it, not to those in suits. If you want to clean the country, you have to talk to people engaged for the work. The government only makes false promises,” Gandhi said.

The Congress leader said: “We will create jobs in Bihar; we will give a credit of Rs 4 lakh to Bihar youth for education. If our government is formed here, we will create employment opportunities in Bihar.”

He said Modi claimed that he sold tea during his childhood, “but I doubt whether it is true”, adding that Modi started off as a tea seller, but his clothes changed from simple to better, from kurtas to costly suits.

“If you look around, you won’t find anyone wearing a suit or boot. People here are wearing torn clothes or kurtas,” he said.

“Modi promised to end corruption, but he protects his corrupt friends like union minister Sushma Swaraj, Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan and Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje.

Bihar is scheduled to have a five-phase election from October 12 to November 5 to elect the 243-member assembly. Counting of votes will take place on November 8.

(With inputs from IANS)

For more, read: Rahul’s Champaran speech ‘immature’: BJP

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Fall Of The Currency And Increase In Oil Prices: India ‘s Turmoil

The falling rupee has given a boost to some of India’s most lucrative exports, such as software services and pharmaceuticals, which add up to billions of dollars.

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India
Rajesh Kumar, left, shares a ride to work with another employee, Dilip Swain, right, as higher petrol prices in India begin to be felt in people's pocketbooks.VOA

The fall of the currency of India to record lows and rising global oil prices have raised worries that the world’s fastest growing economy faces headwinds that could hurt the fortunes of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s party in next year’s general elections.

From people filling fuel at gas stations to thousands of students heading out to study overseas, the impact of the slumping rupee is sparking discontent.

Having plunged by about 12 percent against the dollar this year, the rupee is one of Asia’s worst faring currencies, and as in other countries, the slide has accelerated since the crash of the Turkish lira.

“The reasons are global. We must bear in mind that in last few months, dollar has strengthened against almost every currency,” said Finance Minister Arun Jaitley recently as he tried to send out reassuring signals that India’s economy is on track.

India
The rupee has plunged by about 12 percent this year raising fears of spiraling inflation. VOA

The rupee’s sharp depreciation comes at a time when the economy had recovered from a slowdown and surged to a two-year high in the quarter that ended in June. Forecasts put growth for this year at 7.5 percent.

Economy will slow

But economists warn this momentum will be difficult to sustain as the tumbling rupee, along with rising crude oil prices, takes a toll on growth. India, the world’s third largest oil importer, gets almost 80 percent of its fuel needs overseas.

“The government needs to mellow down on growth aspirations,” said N.R. Bhanumurthy, economist with the National Institute of Public Finance and Policy. “The growth needs to come down to a little less than 7 percent.”

Even as the government faces the prospect of a slowing economy, it is under pressure to lower taxes on gas and diesel to bring down the sharp rise in prices. Fuel is one of the most heavily taxed items in India, with rates as high as nearly 50 percent. Prices vary from state to state, but they have gone up by about 14 percent this year.

Hoping to cash in on the growing disaffection over the surge in fuel prices and the sliding rupee, opposition parties led nationwide protests that shutdown offices and schools in several cities this week.

India
Discontent with spiraling fuel prices poses a challenge to Prime Minister Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party ahead of general elections next year. VOA

The government dismissed the protests, saying that although people faced momentary difficulties, they understood they were because of factors beyond its control.

Political analysts are not so sure, pointing out that fuel prices are a politically sensitive issue in India and usually result in a spike in inflation.

“Anger is rising, there is resentment,” said Satish Misra at the Observer Research Foundation, warning the ruling party will face a backlash “Obviously that is going to have a negative impact on the electoral fortunes of the Bharatiya Janata Party, there is no doubt about that.”

Warnings from economists

Among those who are upset with the high fuel prices is Rajesh Kumar, who commutes 30 kilometers to the advertising agency where he works. Hit by the higher prices that eat into his income, he has started sharing the ride with another employee.

India
Narendra Modi. Wikimedia Commons

“I have given up the idea of buying another car,” he said despondently. “I will not be able to afford the cost of running it.”

Economists however have warned the government against giving in to populist pressures ahead of a series of state polls later this year and general elections around April next year. They say lowering taxes on fuel or taking measures to prop up the currency will strain the country’s finances and hurt the economy in the long run.

Also Read: Diverse Gathering To Be Addressed This World BioFuel Day: PM Narendra Modi

“One needs to be more careful and vigilant,” Bhanumurthy said. “It is easy for India to stay with low growth than experiencing the high deficit.”

But there is also some good news for the Indian economy. The falling rupee has given a boost to some of India’s most lucrative exports, such as software services and pharmaceuticals, which add up to billions of dollars. (VOA)