How much does he know, Congress hits back at Jaitley

New Delhi, June 6 (IANS) Hitting back at Finance Minister Arun Jaitley for his article “How much does he know” that targeted Congress President Rahul Gandhi, the party on Wednesday called him a minister without portfolio and threw back the same question at him – “how much does he know?”

Earlier in the day, in his blog appearing in the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)’s website, Jaitley accused Gandhi of making false remarks at a farmers’ rally in poll-bound Madhya Pradesh and said the Narendra Modi government had not waived a single rupee due from any industrialist.

Quoting a reply given by the Finance Ministry in Parliament that the Modi government had written off loans worth Rs 2.41 lakh crore of some top industrialists, the party also asked how “empty worded blogs” could be an answer to “betrayal of farmers” by the government.

In his blog, Jaitley asked if Gandhi was being inadequately briefed or he was being a little too liberal with his facts.

Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala said: “How much does Shri Arun Jaitley know? Has ‘arrogance of power’ reached such a zenith where the BJP is blind to farmer distress.”

“Over 130 farmers organisations are protesting across India through an unprecedented ‘Gaon Bandh’ agitation. Rural distress, agricultural indebtedness, farmer suicides and distress sale of crops much below MSP is the new order in Modi government,” he said in a statement.

Surjewala said the Congress President’s address at the farmers’ rally in Mandsaur had shaken the foundations of the “anti-farmer BJP”.

“Arun Jaitley, the Union Minister without portfolio, with zero knowledge of agriculture is giving ‘GYAN’ to the nation again today, with his usual travesty of facts and trivialisation of farmers’ issues,” he said.

Reminding him of the facts presented by his own government, Surjewala said: “Modi government wrote off loans of a handful of crony friends worth Rs 2.41 lakh crore as per reply given to Parliament by the Finance Ministry on April 3, 2018.

“Contrary to Jaitley’s lies, Modi government is actually the ‘NPA Sarkar’. Gross NPAs went up from Rs 2,51,054 crore in March 2014 to Rs 8,31,141 crore in December 2017 (an increase of a whopping 230 per cent during the Modi government), as per the reply given to Parliament by Finance Ministry on April 6.”

The leader said: “Fleece the banks and fly away to foreign lands is the ‘facility for fraudsters’ under Modi government’s watch. Perhaps Arun Jaitley forgets the recent ‘bank loot scams’ worth over Rs 61,036 crore.”

“Make in India has become an empty slogan. BJP and its minister without portfolio forget that industrial growth has declined from 7.4 per cent in 2016 to 4.45 per cent in 2018.

“GFCF i.e an indicator of investment, has fallen from 31.34 per cent to 28.49 per cent. India’s exports have fallen from Rs 19.05 lakh crore in 2013-14 to Rs 10.73 lakh crore in 2017-18. Between 2014-2018, India’s revenue from export is zero,” Surjewala pointed out.

Surjewala also reminded Jaitley of a famous quote by Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru that says “facts are facts, and will not disappear on account of your likes”.

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