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In an editorial for Financial Times, London that coincided with the demonetisation anniversary, Rahul Gandhi hits out at PM Narendra Modi’s economic policies

As Prime Minister Narendra Modi, his government and the BJP unleashed a massive publicity campaign on Wednesday to celebrate the first anniversary of demonetisation as ‘Anti-Black Money Day’, an editorial by Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi sought to point out how nothing about the Centre’s economic policies was right.

In an editorial page article written for the Financial Times of London, the Congress vice president launched a fresh diatribe against the Prime Minister, alleging that while Modi’s stated objective behind demonetisation was to wipe out corruption, “the only thing he has wiped out is confidence in our once booming economy.”

Rahul, who has been making waves with his critical comments about the BJP in the recent past, seems to have reached the rarefied air of top class economic commentary. In a not-too-subtle, yet measured and decent rejection of Modi’s policies, Rahul laid down the realities: “Demonetisation has wiped out 2 per cent of India’s gross domestic product, destroyed the informal labour sector,” he wrote.

Rahul’s comments came on a day when a majority of India’s Opposition parties were observing the first anniversary of demonetisation as a ‘Black Day’. But it wasn’t just Modi’s decision of November 8, 2016 to declare the old Rs 500 and Rs 1000 currency notes as no longer legal tender that drew Rahul’s ire.

About the GST, Rahul writes that it was “bureaucratic and complex,” and that “it has devastated livelihoods, creating a modern day ‘Licence Raj’”.

While calling Modi a “democratically elected autocrat”, the Congress vice-president presented pictures in contrast, with the Chinese economy as a backdrop. He refreshed memories of Deng Xiaoping’s comment that the colour of the cat was immaterial as long as it caught the mouse and said: “Today, the Chinese cat has firmly caught the global manufacturing mouse.”

He was developing on his allegation with the fact that the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy had given, “that over 1.5m people lost their jobs in the first four months of 2017 due to demonetisation.”

And while on the China angle, Rahul justifies his comment, saying: “According to official figures, China currently creates on average 50,000 jobs every single day; India under Mr Modi manages only 500.”

In a punchline-ending, that is bound to draw crude reactions from those in power, Rahul Gandhi said: “Mr Modi has damaged India by converting anger created by joblessness and lack of economic opportunity into communal hatred. He has chosen to hide behind a shallow, hate-filled political narrative.”

And the exit line was as measured as it was decent: “Anger might have brought Mr Modi to power but it will never create jobs or fix India’s institutions.”

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