Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi on Monday slammed Prime Minister Narendra Modi for what he said was "hurting tourism and fruit industry" of Himachal Pradesh."Modi ji has affected the apple growers, farmers and those involved in the tourism industry," Gandhi told an election rally in Paonta Sahib town in Sirmaur district ahead of the November 9 assembly polls.Favouring changes in the Goods and Services Tax (GST), he said: "The Congress supports small businesses. We are not opposed to the GST. We (only) said that the government should have conducted a pilot study before implementing it.""But the government did not listen. Now, everyone is suffering because of such a decision. When we come to power in 2019, we will make the GST more people-friendly," he assured the voters.In his first-ever election meeting in Himachal a day ahead of the end of canvassing, Gandhi claimed that Modi wanted to win the Uttar Pradesh assembly elections and that was the reason he announced demonetisation on November 8, 2016, without even thinking of the hardships it would cause the people.Slamming the Prime Minister, he said employment remained a major issue but the Narendra Modi government had failed to provide jobs to the youth."During his election rallies (ahead of the 2014 general elections), Modi promised to provide two crore jobs every year. But what we see is he is only working for major corporations. China is getting jobs instead. They create one lakh jobs in two days but India is creating only 450 jobs per day. I am ashamed of this fact."Referring to Gujarat, where assembly polls will be held in two phases next month and counting of ballots taken up on December 18 along with Himachal Pradesh, the Congress leader said businessmen in Gujarat were blaming Modi for difficulties due to demonetisation and the GST.
"Modi talks of fighting corruption, but why does he have no issues in inducting (former Trinamool leader) Mukul Roy, (former Congress leader) Narayan Rane and (former Karnataka Chief Minister) B.S. Yeddyurappa into the Bharatiya Janata Party? Madhya Pradesh has seen the Vyapam scam. Over 50 people are dead but has Modi spoken yet? Has Modi spoken a single word on Jay Amit Shah? You said you (Modi) are a 'chowkidaar' but you are a 'bhaagidaar' (accomplice)," Gandhi quipped.Giving out figures of Niti Aayog, he claimed that Himachal Pradesh's development model was far ahead of the 'Gujarat Model'."We work hard. We work day and night, unlike the Modi government which only makes tall promises," Gandhi said, who visited the prominent Sikh shrine in Paonta Sahib before addressing the rally.Congress state incharge Sushilkumar Shinde, Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh and state party President Sukhwinder Singh were present at the rally.Later, Gandhi addressed two more election rallies in the state.Elections to the 68-member Himachal Pradesh assembly will be held on November 9.