Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Pitroda’s inheritance tax remarks fuel fresh attack from PM Modi


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Congress asserted that it has no plans whatsoever to introduce it and cited some BJP leaders’ past remarks to allege that it was the Modi government which wanted to impose it

NEW DELHI, April 24: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday seized on Congress leader Sam Pitroda’s remarks on inheritance tax to step up the ruling BJP’s blistering attack on the issue of “wealth redistribution”, saying “zindagi ke saath bhi, zindagi ke baad bhi” is the opposition party’s mantra to “loot” people.
In his poll rallies, Modi framed Pitroda’s comments in his wider onslaught against the Congress, asserting that they have exposed its hidden agenda and that the party has become so removed from the country’s social and family values that it wants to legally rob people of their assets and lifelong savings they want to bequeath to their children.
The Congress swung into damage control, distancing itself from the comments of the US-based president of its overseas wing and asserting that it has no plan to introduce such a tax.
Its general secretary and communication department head Jairam Ramesh said on X, “Sensationalising his comments now and tearing them out of context are deliberate and desperate attempts at diverting attention away from Mr. Narendra Modi’s malicious and mischievous election campaign; that is anchored only in lies and more lies.” Pitroda had spoken about inheritance tax in the US while delving into the issue of redistribution of health.
At an election rally in Chhattisgarh’s Ambikapur, Modi said the dangerous intentions of the Congress are coming to the fore one by one and now “it says it will impose inheritance tax”.
“The advisor of ‘shehzada’ of the ‘shahi parivar’, who was also the advisor to the shehzada’s father, said that more tax should be imposed on the middle class and those who earn by toiling hard,” Modi said, apparently referring to Rahul Gandhi and Pitroda.
The Congress will impose a tax on the assets inherited by people from their parents, he said, claiming that the “panja” (Congress’ poll symbol) will snatch the assets from their children.
“Congress ka mantra hei Congress ki loot ‘zindagi ke saath bhi, zindagi ke baad bhi’ (Congress’ mantra is looting people when they are alive and afterwards too),” he said improvising on the iconic tagline of state-run Life Insurance Corporation (LIC).
“Till you are alive, the Congress will impose more tax and after your life ends, it will impose the burden of inheritance tax on you. They (Congress) want to snatch your assets and rights of your children,” the prime minister alleged. He spoke on similar lines in his rallies in Madhya Pradesh.
Pitroda, however, sought to clear the air saying it is unfortunate that what he said as an individual on inheritance tax in the US is twisted by “godi media” to divert attention from the “lies” Modi is spreading about the Congress manifesto. Modi’s comments on Mangal Sutra and gold snatching are simply unreal, he added.
“I mentioned US inheritance tax in the US only as an example in my normal conversation on TV. Can I not mention facts? I said these are the kinds of issues people will have to discuss and debate. This has nothing to do with the policy of any party including Congress,” he said on X.
Amid the fierce attack from the BJP, the Congress has been insisting that its manifesto does not talk about “redistribution” and that it favours a “comprehensive socio-economic caste census”.
As Pitroda’s comments provided fresh fodder to the BJP, its leaders latched onto them to target the principal opposition party ahead of the second phase of Lok Sabha elections on April 26.
Congress hits back
n a post on X, Congress general secretary in-charge of communications Jairam Ramesh said the Congress has no plan whatsoever to introduce an inheritance tax. In fact, former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi had abolished Estate Duty in 1985, he said, adding that it is the Modi government that has wanted to do so.
He said, “Fact One: Jayant Sinha, then Minister of State for Finance, publicly stated that he wanted to introduce Inheritance Tax in 2014. Fact Two: In 2017, reports emerged that the Modi Sarkar was going to re-introduce inheritance tax. Fact Three: In 2018, the Finance Minister Arun Jaitley praised Inheritance Taxes for spurring large endowments to hospitals, universities in the West. Fact Four: News reports emerged that Modi Sarkar would introduce an Inheritance Tax in Union Budget 2019,” Ramesh said in the post.
“Over to you Prime Minister Modi – what is your party’s stance on this issue?” he said, and shared media reports on former minister of state for finance Jayant Sinha and former finance minister Arun Jaitley’s remarks “in favour” of an inheritance tax.
Ramesh also shared a 15-minute speech by Sinha at the Forbes India Philanthropy Awards 2013 to claim that he was in favour of an inheritance tax. ”
The Congress has no plan whatsoever to introduce an inheritance tax. In fact, Rajiv Gandhi abolished Estate Duty in 1985. Please listen to BJP MP Jayant Sinha, once MoS Finance in the Modi Sarkar, and later Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on Finance.
“He has spent 15 long minutes vehemently arguing in favour of an Inheritance Tax of 55%, like in the US,” Ramesh said.
Later, Ramesh also shared the screenshot of a 2014 post on X by BJP’s IT department head Amit Malviya in which he had supported Sinha’s idea to tax inheritance wealth. (PTI)


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