'Zindagi ke baad bhi' is Congress' mantra to loot people: Modi's fresh jibe at Oppn over Pitroda's inheritance tax remark

Modi said the remarks have exposed the hidden agenda of Congress and that the party has become so removed from the country's social and family values that it wants to legally rob people of their assets and lifelong savings they want to bequeath to their children.
Last Updated : 24 April 2024, 12:51 IST
Last Updated : 24 April 2024, 12:51 IST

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Ambikapur/New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday seized on Congress leader Sam Pitroda's remarks on inheritance tax to step up the ruling BJP's blistering attack on the issue of 'wealth redistribution', saying zindagi ke saath bhi, zindagi ke baad bhi is the opposition party's mantra to 'loot' people.

Modi is framing Pitroda's comments in his wider onslaught against the Congress, asserting that they have exposed its hidden agenda and that the party has become so removed from the country's social and family values that it wants to legally rob people of their assets and lifelong savings they want to bequeath to their children.

Modi accused Congress of having this 'hidden agenda' while addressing a public rally in Sagar, MP today, saying they were not only against Dalits and OBCs, but also anti-poor and India's middle class.

He alleged that the Congress party’s think-tank is always talking about inheritance tax which translates to conducting an X-Ray of Indian citizen's wealth.

Without naming Sam Pitroda, Modi remarked on how “shehzada (referring to Rahul Gandhi) aur unke pitaji ke salahkar (advisor)" had earlier lauded the US model of inheritance tax, suggesting India levies an inheritance tax even on middle-class people. "The advisor of 'shehzada' of the 'shahi parivar', who was also the advisor to the shehzada's father, said that more tax should be imposed on the middle class and those who earn by toiling hard," Modi said in his speech.

"All the family wealth (by transfer from forefathers) of middle-class people including mangalsutra (stri dhan), jewelry, cash deposits, etc — upto 50% of it — will be liable for taxes after due survey of lockers/houses," he alleged.

"It is ironic that Congress has lost its mind and connections with the people of the country," Modi said, adding that India has values, a rich culture, traditions and faith which believes in saving hard-earned money and not wasteful expenditure.

"They (Congress) want to loot and snatch away this wealth from poor, middle-class only through nefarious designs and hidden agendas to re-distribute to their vote-bank. Congress is stuck deep in the swamp that it does not care about Babasaheb Ambedkar’s Constitution that speaks about social justice and equality."

Pitroda, who heads Indian Overseas Congress, had earlier referred to inheritance tax in the United States with admiration.

“If one has USD 100 million worth of wealth (in US) and when he dies he can only transfer probably 45% to his children, 55% is grabbed by the government. That's an interesting law. It says you in your generation, made wealth and you are leaving now, you must leave your wealth for the public, not all of it, half of it, which to me sounds fair. In India, you don't have that. If somebody is worth 10 billion and he dies, his children get 10 billion and the public gets nothing,” Pitroda said. “So these are the kind of issues people will have to debate and discuss. I don't know what the conclusion would be at the end of the day but when we talk about redistributing wealth, we are talking about new policies and new programs that are in the interest of the people and not in the interest of the super-rich only,” he added.

His comments gave fresh ammunition to the BJP which launched the sharpest attack on Congress yet, spearheaded by PM Modi himself in MP today.

Meanwhile, after facing backlash, Pitroda too has walked backed his remarks by saying that he merely expressed his admiration for the US inheritance system as a revenue generator. He also sought to clear the air, saying it is unfortunate that what he said as an individual on inheritance tax in the US was being twisted by 'godi media' to divert attention from the 'lies' Modi is spreading about the Congress manifesto. Modi's comments on women's mangalsutras and gold snatching are simply unreal, he added.

"I mentioned US inheritance tax in the US only as an example in my normal conversation on TV. Can I not mention facts? I said these are the kinds of issues people will have to discuss and debate. This has nothing to do with the policy of any party including Congress," he said on X.

Other Congress leaders also refuted BJP's allegations as 'misplaced'. Senior Congress leader Jairam Ramesh said Pitroda's comments were taken out of context and was being sensationalised.

Jairam Ramesh said on X, "Sensationalising his comments now and tearing them out of context are deliberate and desperate attempts at diverting attention away from Mr. Narendra Modi's malicious and mischievous election campaign; that is anchored only in lies and more lies."

Ramesh had also clarified that Pitroda’s remarks reflected his personal views and not the views of the Indian National Congress party.

Shashi Tharoor reportedly said that the Congress is a democratic party, and everyone has the right to express their personal opinions. But unless a statement is endorsement by the party's CWC, it is not the official stand of of the Congress party. In this case, Congress's manifesto has not talked about inheritance tax or taking away wealth. "It is a preposterous attack by the BJP and a measure of their desperation," said Tharoor.

Modi in his public address invoked Ram Mandir and consecration ceremony that Congress leaders refused to attend despite being invited. He also reminded his audience at the rally that Congress had branded Lord Ram as an 'imaginary' figure and thus insulted the faith of millions of Hindus across the world. "Should you not reject the Congress party in the manner in which they rejected the Ram mandir consecration invite," asked Modi.

Madhya Pradesh CM Dr Mohan Yadav, minister Govind Singh Rajput and others were also present on the dais with PM Modi. BJP has fielded Lata Wankhede as its candidate from Sagar Lok Sabha seat against Congress candidate Guddu Raja Bundela. The Sagar LS seat will go to poll in the third phase of election scheduled on 7th April.

(With PTI inputs)

Published 24 April 2024, 12:51 IST

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