Senior Congress leader P. Chidambaram on Saturday charged that Prime Minister Narendra Modi was looking at his opponents as his enemies.
“The attitude of Mr. Modi has to change in the interest of the country,” the former Union Minister said and suggested involving the Opposition in serious and sensitive issues. A consensus approach would be ideal in a secular and democratic nation. Addressing journalists in Karaikal, he said former Prime Minister A.B. Vajpayee discussed key issues with the Opposition parties and then took a decision.
Training his guns on Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, he charged that she spent more time on “replying or denying to my statements on the Union Budget” than dealing with the actual issues in it. “There is factual incorrectness in the Budget… They are unable to decipher and are not in agreement to correct the mistakes,” he claimed.
Condemning the petrol price hike, which was nearing the ₹100/litre mark, he recalled how the BJP, as Opposition party, had driven bullock carts to oppose fuel price hike during the Congress regime.
“Now the BJP has chosen to conveniently forget,” he said, adding that the people will not forgive or forget. The government had lowered excise duty, but increased the cess.
Attacking the Union Budget as pro-rich and for the rich, Mr. Chidambaram said that when the country faced closure of 3.5 crore small and tiny units, 12 crore people had lost jobs and another 2.8 crore people were seeking jobs, the Budget or the government had no answers. This would seriously impact the coming years.
All that the Centre was doing was to handover well performing Public Sector Undertakings to its rich friends. Seven ports, two banks and an insurance company had gone from public to private.
The need of the hour to bring back the economy in a meaningful way would be to give financial assistance of ₹2,000 to the Below Poverty Line category people at least for six months, he suggested.
But the Centre was following an autocratic model and the economy, no doubt, would crash soon, he feared.
Cautions Congress workers
Cautioning Congress workers, he said that though the mood of the voters was to give the DMK-Congress combine a hands down victory in all the 234 Assembly constituencies in Tamil Nadu in the ensuing election, the AIADMK’s money power to “buy” the voters was to be monitored closely.
Asked whether the Election Commission of India would be fair and neutral in the election, he said that the institution had to be transparent in its actions.
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