New Delhi, April 6: Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday joined jewellers protesting against the imposition of excise duty on non-silver jewellery, saying the government's proposal was to crush small businessmen in India.
"We would stand with you for your cause. I am not here to make speeches. I feel your pain, I stand with you," Gandhi told the protesting jewellers at Jantar Mantar in Delhi.
"It's not your fight alone, it's ours too. Me and the Congress party stand with you," he said.
Jewellers have been on nationwide protests for more than a month now against the government's budgetory propsoal to impose one percent excise duty on non-silver jewellery and mandatory PAN cards for any transactions of Rs.2 lakh and above.
The Congress leader took pot-shots at Prime Minister Narendra Modi's "Make In India" scheme, saying it would benefit only "a few big industrialists" and not the common men of India.
"The idea of 'Make In India' is to throttle small businesses through excise. It is not excise duty, it is an attempt to crush small businesses... (it) will only benefit a few big businessmen," Gandhi said.