Gujratis will not accept a clone, says Jaitley

Gujratis will not accept a clone, says Jaitley

Calling his party "originally pro-Hindutva", Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Saturday trained his guns against Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi, saying that Gujaratis won't accept a "clone".

The finance minister's clone jibe comes in reference to Rahul's battery of visits to all the major temples of Gujarat in a run-up to poll campaign for the upcoming state Assembly elections. So far, Rahul has visited about 21 major temples while campaigning in the state over last two months.

Jaitley raised the issue of Hindutva during his interaction with mediapersons in the backdrop of an ongoing controversy over the Congress leader's religious status.

Earlier this week, during a visit to Somnath temple, Rahul's media coordinator had mentioned his religious status as a "non-Hindu", while making an entry in the visitors book of the temple.

It is mandatory for non-Hindus to make an entry, as per the trust's norms. This had ignited a controversy over the religious beliefs of the Gandhi-Nehru family.

Congress leaders, on the other hand, had come to Rahul's defence and said he was a Shiv bhakt and a Brahmin.

Meanwhile, Union Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas, Dharmendra Pradhan said that every household in Gujarat would have a gas connection within next two months.

"Congress leaders question Modi's model of development. This is the development model of Modi and the BJP," he said, adding that in the last three-and-a-half years, the Modi government has given over 8.5 crore new gas connections across the nation, compared to the 13 crore gas connections provided during the Congress' rule between 1955 to 1995.

He, too, took a potshot at Rahul, saying that against the national average of 76% gas connections, Rahul's constituency Amethi had only 27% gas connections, despite being represented by three generations of the Nehru-Gandhi family over decades.

On the other hand, former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who was in Surat for an election campaign slammed Modi and the BJP and said that demonetisation and Goods and Service Tax (GST) had hit India's informal sector hard.

Though he welcomed the 6.3% GDP numbers for July-September quarter, he claimed that it was too early to announce a reversal in the economy. "This is too early to say that this is a reversal of the declining trend observed in the previous five quarters. Some economists believe that the CSO, which released the figures, has not adequately captured the impact of demonetisation and GST on the informal sector that accounts for about 30% of the economy," he said.

Singh further dubbed GST to be nothing but tax terrorism that took away more than 30,000 jobs in Surat alone.

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