Modi repeats 'redistribution of wealth' charge in Aligarh, no mention of Muslims, Manmohan

Congress says Modi will make history as PM who oversaw the largest sale and mortgage of gold jewellery by Indian women

Narendra Modi in Aligarh (photo: PTI)
Narendra Modi in Aligarh (photo: PTI)

Abhijit Chatterjee

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday once again accused the Congress of planning to redistribute people’s property if it is voted to power, but stopped short of saying that the wealth would go to Muslims.

This was possibly because he was addressing an election rally in western Uttar Pradesh’s Aligarh, a constituency with a sizeable Muslim population. Nonetheless, Modi accused the Opposition Congress and Samajwadi Party of following a policy of “appeasement”, and yet doing nothing to uplift the socio-economic condition of the community.

At a similar rally in Rajasthan's Banswara on Sunday, Modi had claimed the Congress manifesto states that the party will calculate the gold in the possession of "mothers and sisters" and then "redistribute" people's hard-earned money and valuables to "infiltrators" and "those who have more children".

Reacting sharply to the speech, the Congress on Monday said Modi would go down in history as the PM who has overseen the largest sale and mortgage of gold jewellery owned by Indian women.

Also hitting out at Modi, Rajya Sabha MP Kapil Sibal said political discourse had never sunk to such a low in India's history and urged the Election Commission to take action in the matter.

"The Congress manifesto says they will calculate the gold with mothers and sisters, and then distribute that property. They will distribute it to whom — Manmohan Singh's government had said that Muslims have the first right on the country's assets," Modi had claimed.

In a post on X, Congress MP and general-secretary (communications) Jairam Ramesh said, "Prime Minister Modi will go down in history as the PM who has overseen the largest scale sale and mortgage of the gold jewellery owned by Indian women.

"Economic disasters like demonetisation, a badly-designed GST, and the Modi government’s unplanned lockdown and poor Covid relief packages have pushed India's households into the highest levels of debt, (40 per cent of the GDP)," he said.

"Net savings are at the lowest level ever (5 per cent of GDP). Families have been forced to sell their gold, or take loans by pledging their gold as collateral — a state of distress and desperation," Ramesh said.

In the last five years, outstanding gold loans have grown by 300 per cent, he added. "In February of 2024, gold loans crossed the Rs 1 lakh crore mark for the first time in India's history. These are shameful statistics," the Congress leader said.

"Recall that just during the pandemic alone, due to the Modi Sarkar's complete incompetence, negligence, and mismanagement, India’s women had to give up over Rs 60,000 crore worth of gold as collateral. Their gold was auctioned off by lenders and banks in full-page ads," he said.

Earlier on Monday, Congress general-secretary (organisation) K.C. Venugopal said Modi's statements were not befitting the post of prime minister, and alleged that the prime minister was quoting something that wasn't there in the Congress manifesto, in an attempt to create "communal polarisation" for electoral gain.

Venugopal also said Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge has sought an appointment with the prime minister to "educate him" about the party manifesto.

With inputs from PTI

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