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Modi asks if Cong got 'tempo loads' of cash to go mum on Ambani-Adani; Rahul hits back

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Hyderabad/New Delhi, May 8 (PTI) Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday for the first time during the Lok Sabha elections accused the Congress of having a "deal" with "Ambani and Adani", and asked if the party has received "tempo loads of black money" from the two industrialists for its leader Rahul Gandhi to stop "abusing" them.

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In what appeared to be a change in the narrative on the 'Ambani-Adani' issue, which was until now used by the Congress to attack Modi and his government at the Centre, the Prime Minister also demanded that the party should explain to people why it has stopped raising the issue as its 'Shehzada' (Rahul Gandhi) used to do for the past five years and asked if it has struck a 'sauda' (deal).

In a sharp reaction full of sarcasm, Gandhi asked whether Modi was speaking from his "personal experience" when he mentioned "money in a tempo" being sent by Ambani and Adani.  "Modi ji, are you a little scared? Normally you talk about Adani and Ambani in closed doors, but for the first time you have talked about Adani and Ambani in public," Gandhi said in a 46-second video message, posted on X by the Congress.

Earlier, addressing an election rally at Vemulawada in Telangana, Modi said:"Since his Rafale issue got grounded, he started chanting about 'five industrialists'. Then he started saying Ambani-Adani. But ever since elections have been announced, these people (Congress) have stopped abusing Ambani-Adani.  "I want to ask from Telangana soil, let the Shehzada announce, how much has been lifted from Ambani-Adani. Has tempo loads of money reached the Congress? What deal has been arrived at, that abusing Ambani-Adani has stopped overnight?"   The Prime Minister also said:"Certainly something is fishy. For five years, (they) abused Adani-Ambani and it stopped overnight. It means you have received some tempo loads of 'chori ka maal' (loot)...Kaale dhan ki kitni boriya bharkar ke rupaye maare hai (how many sacks of black money you have taken) You have to answer the nation." The Congress has been accusing the Prime Minister of favouring the top five industrialists in the country, including Gautam Adani and Mukesh Ambani.

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In his message, Rahul also said: "The money that PM Modi has given to the two businessmen, the Congress party will give the same amount of money to the people of India through the various schemes that the party has promised." "You also know that they give money in a tempo. Is it your personal experience?" Gandhi said.

"Do one thing - send the CBI, ED to them and carry out a thorough investigation and don't be scared," he said.

"The country knows who is the driver and helper of the BJP's tempo of corruption," he said in a post in Hindi on X.

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The Congress also launched a fierce counterattack against Modi with party leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra charging that the BJP has a nexus with industrialists and the entire BJP machinery is engaged in spreading "lies" about Rahul Gandhi.

Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge claimed that Modi's chair is "shaking" after three phases of the Lok Sabha polls as he has started attacking his own "friends" and this shows the "real trend" of the result.

"The times are changing. Dost dost na raha...! (Friends are no longer friends…!) After the completion of three phases of elections, today the Prime Minister has started attacking his own friends. It is becoming clear that Modiji's chair is shaking. This is the real trend of the results," Kharge said in a post in Hindi on X.

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Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh claimed that the tide of this election has turned so "violently" that the "Pappa" of "Hum Do Hamare Do" is turning on his own children.

"Defeat is a foregone conclusion. The Prime Minister is now spooked even by his own shadow," he said in a post on X and shared a picture of Modi along with his shadow.

The Congress leader said: "The man who collected Rs 8,200 crore of Electoral Bonds for his party - a scam so egregious that even the Supreme Court declared it unconstitutional - is today levelling allegations on others." "Remember that through his 'Chaar Raaste', the Prime Minister has given contracts and licenses worth Rs 4 lakh crore to his cronies in return for their donations. If today, 21 Indian billionaires have as much wealth as 70 crore Indians, it is all thanks to the PM’s intentions and policies. It also goes without saying that 'Hamare Do' are key figures in those 21," Ramesh alleged.

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He said that since January 28, 2023, the Congress party has repeatedly demanded the formation of a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) to investigate the "Modani scam".

"We reiterated this demand even after the elections began – on April 23, 2024, and just five days ago, on May 3, 2024. Since April 3, 2024, Rahul Gandhi has mentioned Adani 103 times and Ambani more than 30 times in his speeches.  "A JPC will be formed as soon as the India bloc comes to power on June 4, 2024, to investigate the Modani Scam - which has an estimated price tag of at least Rs. 2 lakh crores," the Congress leader said.

Priyanka Gandhi Vadra also said the Prime Minister knows that people now understand the reality that he has handed over all wealth to big businessmen and he is clarifying after getting nervous.

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"Today he (Modi) is saying Rahul does not take the name of Adani, Ambani....He does so every day. He brings their truth in front of you every day. We say every day that they (BJP) have a nexus with industrialists. You must understand that Prime Minister Modi has waived loans worth Rs 16 lakh crore given to big billionaires. Whose money is this? This is not Modi ji's money. That is the country's money," she said at public meetings in Rae Bareli.

Another party leader Pawan Khera said PM Modi is disturbed after three phases of elections and realises that the ground is shaking. He claimed the Prime Minister has collected Rs 8,200 crore from his "friends" and when he was losing the polls, he has turned against them.

"When you cannot be theirs, how can you be ours or anyone else's in the country," he posed, adding that the Congress does not fear anyone or anything.

Congress leader Supriya Shrinate said the Prime Minister is making serious allegations of corruption against the two big industrialists and asked when would a CBI, ED or Income Tax raid happen against them. PTI SJR GDK SKC SA PYK PYK

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