The Congress on Thursday said the Narendra Modi government’s eight years in office had been a saga of failures and betrayal, with the BJP surviving in power only by polarising people on religious lines.
With the BJP boasting about its government’s achievements in public welfare, at a time the prices of essentials have skyrocketed, the Congress challenged the government to a public debate on all aspects of governance on any platform.
“Let the government debate its performance in public. Let them invite us to a discussion on a TV channel or any other platform,” Congress communications chief Randeep Surjewala said.
The Congress released a booklet containing a sector-wise analysis of the government’s performance and said the “achchhe din” (good times) Modi had promised had come only for the BJP, the super rich and fraudsters while ordinary people were struggling just to survive.
“Modi himself won’t remember those lofty slogans now — about ending unemployment and bringing down prices — and the conspiracy is to divert people’s attention from the failures by spreading hate and dividing society on religious lines,” Surjewala said.
Party general secretary Ajay Maken said: “The BJP promised to bring in achchhe din. People thought it would be for them. But it was for the BJP, which has built assets and resources worth Rs 5,000 crore.
“Achchhe din came for two-three industrialists who earned Rs 1,000 crore per day, for 142 rich people who amassed a profit of Rs 30 lakh crore in one year when ordinary citizens were fighting for survival. Achchhe din came for fraudsters who looted banks out of Rs 5.35 lakh crore and fled the country.”
The booklet explains how decisions like the November 2016 demonetisation and a flawed GST have ruined the economy and caused huge damage to industry and the people.
Maken said: “The average GDP growth during 2004 and 2014 under the Congress (UPA) was 8.36 per cent while the Modi regime has recorded an average growth of 4.75 per cent in the last eight years.”
“Over 84 per cent people have suffered a decline in incomes and over 12 crore suffered job losses. Over 60 lakh MSMEs closed down during the lockdown when millions of people suffered unprecedented miseries, walking home without food and transport.”
The Congress booklet underlines the price rise, giving the rates of essential commodities from pulses to oils and alleging that millions are struggling to survive because prices have soared just when incomes have plummeted.
It dwells at length on the prices of petroleum products, recalling how Modi had sought votes in 2014 using the anti-inflation slogan, “Bahut hui mehngai ki maar, abki baar Modi sarkar”. The booklet also speaks about unemployment and Modi’s reluctance to discuss it.
“India on sale,” screams the booklet, objecting to what it sees as a reckless sale of public sector units and regretting that crony capitalists are being handed over everything from ports and airports to the railways and mining.
It flags the movement against the now-repealed farm laws and alleges that the farmers’ woes have multiplied in the last eight years although the ruling dispensation had promised to double their incomes by 2022.
The booklet also cites other failures such as Covid mismanagement, the Chinese intrusion, increasing crimes against women and abolition of the SC/ST sub-plan, and accuses the government of injustice to soldiers and an attack on democratic institutions.
It says the BJP has intensified the politics of polarisation to hide its failures, and cites the divisive comments about “shamshan-kabristan” and “80-20”, and the loudspeaker and bulldozer controversies. It accuses the BJP of using media outlets to control the national discourse.