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regular-article-logo Friday, 31 May 2024

Electoral bond route to extort corporates: Rahul Gandhi takes a dig at PM Modi

'What the common thief is doing on the street, the Prime Minister is doing at an international level'

K.M. Rakesh Bengaluru Published 17.04.24, 05:52 AM
Rahul Gandhi at an election campaign in Kerala’s Kozhikode district on Tuesday.

Rahul Gandhi at an election campaign in Kerala’s Kozhikode district on Tuesday. PTI picture.

Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday likened the electoral bond scheme to extortion by unleashing central agencies against corporate bosses who are left with no option but to cough up huge sums.

On the second day of his election campaign in his Wayanad Lok Sabha constituency, Rahul told a road show that the electoral bond scheme was nothing better than street-side extortion, but on a much larger scale.

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“How do you say extortion in Malayalam?” Rahul asked the interpreter, who responded by saying, “Kollayadikkal".

Kollayadikkal, kollayadikkal,” Rahul echoed, to loud cheers from the thousands who had gathered to see him.

“In Malayalam you say kollayadikkal. Modi calls it electoral bonds,” the Congress leader said.

Rahul went on to explain how the electoral bond scheme is comparable to "street-side extortion" by threatening the victims with violence.

“What the common thief is doing on the street, the Prime Minister is doing at an international level,” Rahul said.

The Congress leader, who is contesting from Wayanad, told the massive crowd that had assembled to listen to him: “He (Modi) has given Rs 16 lakh crores to 22 to 25 people.”

He then drew the people’s attention to the Prime Minister’s interview with ANI. “I don’t know if you saw his interview with ANI yesterday. I don’t know if you saw his face and his eyes.”

“He was trying to defend the biggest corruption scandal on the planet, an electoral bond scheme through which the BJP has got thousands of crores of rupees by extorting them from India’s businessmen,” the Congress leader alleged.

He cited the example of how the GVK Group sold Mumbai airport to the Adani Group in 2021.

“The owner of Mumbai airport got a CBI inquiry. After a few days of the CBI inquiry, they obviously interrogated him, threatened him a little bit. Within a month or two he had sold Mumbai airport to Adani. This is how Adani got Mumbai airport,” he said, accusing the central government of working for a few big industrialists.

Rahul alluded to how sometimes people are threatened in the streets with violence if they don’t pay up, but said a “much more sophisticated” system was at play to force entrepreneurs to buy electoral bonds.

“At the electoral bond level, the threatening is much more sophisticated. ED people will come, CBI people will come, income tax people will come. Then they will threaten the businessman. They will interrogate him. And at the end of the interrogation (they) will say, ‘look why don’t you just give this to Adani’.”

The businessmen, said Rahul, yield easily because they cannot part with their comfortable lifestyle.

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