New Delhi: Backing the protesting jewellers, Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday dubbed the one percent excise duty on non-silver jewellery items as an "assassination attempt" on traders by the BJP government and alleged it was being done to benefit big industrialists.
The Congress vice president, who was addressing a rally of the All India Bullion Jeweller and Swarnakar Federation at Jantar Mantar here, once again ridiculed the Centre's 'Make in India' initiative with a reference to its logo, saying it was a "babbar sher" that wants to "strangulate" small businesses.
"This is not an excise duty on you. This is an assassination attempt on you. You are being killed.... But why are you being killed? Who will benefit from this?"
"First and foremost big industrialists will benefit and secondly those people will gain who will extract money from your profit through pressure and blackmail. This 'babbar sher' belongs to five to six big industrialists and those who want to suck your blood and earn through 'dalali' (brokery)," Gandhi said.
Invoking Mahatma Gandhi, Gandhi compared the 'charkha' symbol with Make in India's 'lion' saying while the former was powered by the strength of "small businesses, farmers, labourers" the latter symbolized a handful of "five to six big industrialists".
"When Modi ji talks about Make in India, he actually refers to those five to six big industrialists. Traders associated with jewellery don't have factories of Rs 10,000 crore. They have small units," he said.
Congress general secretary Digvijay Singh, former Haryana chief minister Bhupender Hooda and his son and Rohtak MP Deepender Hooda and Delhi Congress chief Ajay Maken were also present at the rally where people raised slogans against the BJP.