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Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday persisted with demanding answers from Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the alleged business dealings of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) chief Amit Shah's son Jay and whether the PM was a "partner" in the "theft".
If the Congress Vice President was in poll bound Gujarat on the second day of his three-day visit to the home state of the PM and BJP chief, Shah headed to Gandhi's Lok Sabha seat Amethi in Uttar Pradesh. Shah, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and union minister Smriti Irani held a public rally in Amethi. The BJP chief said Gandhi had left his Amethi constituency in "crisis" and was visiting Gujarat ahead of the assembly elections in the state.
In New Delhi, Home Minister Rajnath Singh said the allegations against BJP president's son have no basis and there was no need for any investigation. "Such allegations have surfaced in the past too. They are levelled from time to time. It has no basis," he said.
In August 2014, within three months of the Modi government having taken over, the Home Minister had threatened to quit public life if allegations of corruption against his son were proven. The Prime Minister's Office (PMO) and BJP chief had had to issue statements to deny reports of rift within the government.
The BJP also fielded Human Resource Development minister Prakash Javadekar to highlight the party's good performance in panchayat polls in Maharashtra and urban local bodies by-polls in Gujarat. He said this was proof of the acceptability across the country of the continued acceptance of BJP's politics of development.
Javadekar stressed how across the country the Congress was losing ground, and its local leaders were queueing up to join the BJP. "Rahul Gandhi is only on Twitter. His politics is confined to tweets. If you have mass support, then tweets are a symbol of strength, but doing politics through tweets is political bankruptcy," he said. Javadekar said there was nothing illegal about the business dealings of the BJP chief's son, and that is why he has gone to court to file a defamation suit.
Gandhi criticized union minister and BJP leaders who have defended Jay. The Congress Vice President said the Modi government should change the name of the government's flagship scheme for the girl child--"Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao"-- to "Amit Shah ke bete ko bachao (save Amit Shah's son)".
"A theft has taken place in front of the eyes of the chowkidar (watchman), but you are silent. The question is whether you are a watchman or a partner?" Gandhi said at a public rally in Karjan in central Gujarat. He also said the state is under Rs 2 lakh crore of debt, but there has been no improvement in the condition of farmers and the poor.
In Vadodara, Gandhi said the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh did not give any importance to women and asked how many of them were seen attending the Sangh's 'shakhas'. "Their organisation is the RSS. How many women are there in the RSS... Have you ever seen any woman in shakhas wearing shorts?" he said.
In Amethi, Irani criticized Gandhi for his "indecent" remarks. "If Rahulji believes that wearing shorts in India is the sign of empowerment, as a woman I want to contradict it," she said. Irani said the Congress Vice President has insulted members of the Rahstriya Sevika Samiti, the women's wing of the RSS.
Meanwhile, Rajasthan and Jammu and Kashmir state units of the Congress passed separate resolutions requesting Gandhi to take over as the party president.