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Over Congress’ objection to PM Modi’s recent statement on selling ‘pakodas’, Shah stated that working hard to earn a living is better than being unemployed.

Delivering his maiden speech at the Parliament, BJP chief Amit Shah on Monday sought to defend Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘pakoda’ statement and the government’s economic policies.

Referring to  Congress’ criticism of Prime Minister Narendra Modi‘s recent statement that a man earning Rs 200 a day selling pakodas could not be considered unemployed, Shah stated that working hard to earn a living is better than being unemployed.

“Selling pakodas is not something to be ashamed of. Someone who sells pakodas today, his progeny can become entrepreneurs tomorrow. Today a son of chaiwala is the PM of this nation. You cannot compare the self-employed with beggars,” said Shah in his debut speech at the Rajya Sabha on Monday.

Shah’s remarks at the Upper House came in the wake of Congress uproar after PM Modi, in a recent interview to a television news channel, said, “If someone opens a ‘pakoda’ shop in front of your office, does that not count as employment? The person’s daily earning of Rs 200 will never come into any books or accounts. The truth is massive people are being employed.”

Lashing out at the Prime Minister’s statement senior Congress leader and former Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram on Sunday said, “By that logic, even begging is a job. Let’s count poor or disabled persons who are forced to beg for a living as ‘employed’ people… The truth is India is witnessing a three-year spell of modest, but jobless growth and the government is clueless about how to create jobs.”

Ruling out Congress’ criticism, BJP President Amit Shah claimed that the party had failed to help the country in over seven decades of its rule, while the Modi government has implemented several promises like opening bank accounts for the poor, building toilets, and providing electricity to 16,000 villages.

“We have been in power for only seven to eight years. This problem (unemployment) would not have become so humongous if effective steps were taken during those 55 years,” said Shah.

“For 70 years this country was run just by one family. At one point people started believing that this is how things will be. They had lost hope. Today, there is a new hope, optimism across the country,” he added.

Also targeting Congress over Rahul Gandhi dubbing the Goods and Service Tax (GST) regime as the “Gabbar Singh Tax”, Shah said, “Is this (GST) dacoity? How much do those who have named this as Gabbar Singh Tax understand? GST is the biggest reform and it was possible under the strong leadership of PM Narendra Modi.”

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