NEW DELHI(PTI): Accusing the Modi government of causing the “breakdown of the structures of governance” during its 19-month rule, Congress on Wednesday sought to project it as a “failure” on all fronts from economy to external affairs.
Giving a roundup of its assessment of the performance of the government in the year, Congress spokesperson Anand Sharma accused the NDA dispensation of pursuing a politics of “vendetta” and “selectively targeting” opponents, and said it was abundantly clear that the government’s mindset was one of “perpetual confrontation” with the Opposition.
“Insulting and belittling political opponents, pursuing politics of vendetta and selective targeting would justifiably lead one to the inference that this government does not believe in bipartisan consensus on issues that concern India’s national interests,” Sharma said at the AICC briefing.
Sharma also reacted sharply to BJP spokesperson M J Akbar’s attack on his party for its charge that an industrialist had arranged the Lahore meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Pakistani premier Nawaz Sharif.
Reacting to Congress charge, Akbar had said, “What can be an answer to such childishness… This is not only absolutely incorrect but also reflects on the brains of people raising such questions.” Akbar had also hailed Modi’s surprise visit to Pakistan as a “transformative moment” in the subcontinent.
Sharma dubbed his response as “churlish” and said since Akbar has a good command over English language, he should have used his words carefully. Sharma also advised Akbar to “first make himself aware” about what diplomacy is all about before making such comments.
Claiming that Congress has been consistent in its approach on the issue, Sharma said, “Our stand was not marked by turns. We did not advise the Prime Minister to engage in childish tantrums like first inviting Pakistan for his swearing-in, initiating the talk process and then suddenly cancelling it.”
“Knee-jerk responses and abrupt changes with regard to many countries have caused setbacks leading to belittling of issues and India’s response thereto, both at regional and international level. Hype, photo opportunities and high profile events cannot be a substitute for serious diplomacy.”
Rejecting the government charge about Congress blocking development agenda of the government, Sharma asked whether the non-passage of a bill (GST) can be held responsible for “free-fall” of the economy. “This is a smokescreen of the government to hide its failures,” he added.
“Modi Government’s tenure in office is marked by gross non-delivery, acknowledged failure to fulfil the promises given to the nation and a betrayal of the people, particularly the poor, disadvantaged and the unemployed. He also faulted the government for alleged non-creation of jobs, slow growth of economy, farmers’ suicides and “tearing apart the social security net by crippling cuts in the budgetary allocations”.
He alleged that the 19 months of Modi government have been marked by unaccountable centralisation of power, policy making and administrative decisions. This authoritarian style of functioning has resulted in breakdown of the structures of governance which has paralysed administration and undermined institutions.
Alleging that the political atmosphere in the country has been “vitiated by design and default in furtherance of BJP and Sangh Parivar’s divisive agenda”, he said that an orchestrated campaign was unleashed, which undermined social unity and created turbulence, disharmony and distrust.
“Probity, transparency and accountability have suffered a body blow during the last 19 months. Prime Minister brazened it out and did not act, when serious allegations of corruption and acts of omission and commission surfaced against his Ministers and Chief Ministers of the BJP. Ironically, for a leader and party who had promised transparency and accountability, the Prime Minister, instead of taking any action, has practiced only double-standards, double-speak and hypocrisy,” Sharma said.
Alleging that the government has been “insensitive to the poor and under-privileged people”, Sharma said, “It has shown callous disregard to the plight of the Indian farmers, who have been severely affected by the ongoing agrarian distress, floods and droughts in many parts of the country.”
“The Prime Minister has remained unmoved by agony of the Indian farmer and thousands of suicides failed to move the government to make timely and effective intervention to alleviate their sufferings. This is apparent from the fact that the Prime Minister, who is never tired of travelling, thought it unfit to visit any village or state where a large number of farmers have recently committed suicide,” the Congress spokesperson said.