Congress firefights Sam Pitroda’s inheritance tax remarks as PM Modi rakes up its ‘loot mantra’ : The Tribune India

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Congress firefights Sam Pitroda’s inheritance tax remarks as PM Modi rakes up its ‘loot mantra’

Congress firefights Sam Pitroda’s inheritance tax remarks as PM Modi rakes up its ‘loot mantra’

Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra during a roadshow at Kamblakkad in Wayanad, Kerala. PTI



Tribune News Service

Aditi Tandon

New Delhi, April 24

The Congress spent Wednesday firefighting its overseas segment chief Sam Pitroda’s pro-inheritance tax remarks even as Prime Minister Narendra Modi seized the new stick to beat the opposition party with.

Moments after Pitroda, speaking to agencies, advocated a debate in India on the US-type inheritance tax, the ruling BJP led by PM Modi whipped up a storm expanding its wealth redistribution charge narrative against the Congress to include Pitroda’s latest inheritance tax proposal.

Eyeing assets of common man

People who treated their party as personal property do not want Indians to pass on assets to their kin. — PM Modi

His personal views

Pitroda expresses his opinions freely. This doesn’t mean his views reflect the position of the Congress. — Jairam Ramesh

What Sam Pitroda said about ‘interesting’ us law

In the US if one has $100 million and he dies, he can transfer only 45% to his kids and 55% is taken by government... This is interersting law… sounds fair. — Sam Pitroda

This, even as the Congress distanced itself from the technocrat’s suggestions and AICC general secretary Jairam Ramesh clarified that the articulation by Indian Overseas Congress chief was not a Congress policy or position. Pitroda himself retracted, saying he was only making a point in the US context and was expressing a personal opinion. Pitroda had cited as “interesting” the US inheritance tax whereby part of the property left behind by a deceased person is taxed to the state while the rest goes to his descendants.

The PM seized Pitroda’s comments to launch a blistering attack on the Congress just as the campaign for Phase-II of the Lok Sabha elections on April 26 drew to a close.

“The Congress mantra is — loot during lifetime, loot after life. Till you are alive, the Congress will burden you with taxes and after you are gone, they will burden you with inheritance tax,” Modi said at a poll rally in Chhattisgarh’s Sarguja.

Without naming Pitroda, the Prime Minister said: “The Congress prince’s (read Rahul Gandhi) adviser who had earlier called for levying higher taxes on the middle class is now advocating tax on inherited properties. So your hard earned money and assets will not go to your children. Congress’ hand (read election symbol) will snatch that also,” the PM said, taking a swipe at the Congress leadership for “treating the party as personal property to be bequeathed to children while detesting common Indians doing the same for their progeny”.

Amid multiple attacks by the PM and many of his ministerial colleagues, the Congress mounted a counter offensive by the evening, saying that inheritance tax was actually a BJP idea while late PM Rajiv Gandhi had abolished it.

Posting an old tweet of BJP IT cell chief Amit Malviya in support of then Finance Minister Jayant Sinha’s idea of inheritance tax, Jairam said, “I have a feeling this tweet will be deleted soon, so here’s a screenshot too. The Congress has clearly stated it has no plans to implement wealth tax. Given multiple BJP leaders have declared their support for it, where does PM Modi stand?”

Jairam also shared old clips of Sinha advocating the tax which, he said, Rajiv Gandhi had abolished.

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