Congress: PM focus not on country
The Congress on Saturday said Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been harping only on Article 370 in the Maharashtra and Haryana Assembly election campaign while ignoring vital concerns like the economic slowdown, banking crisis, farmer suicide and unemployment because he was interested in votes, not the country.
The campaign that ended this evening almost created the impression that the Prime Minister wanted a referendum on his government’s radical decisions on Kashmir while the Opposition Congress desperately tried to drag him down to livelihood issues and local governance failures.
The Congress felt that the Maharashtra and Haryana governments had both performed badly but the Prime Minister was diverting the attention of voters to Kashmir.
“What happens to the country is none of his concern; the Prime Minister is not interested in the people’s miseries,” senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal told a media conference.
“He never thinks about the problems faced by the people. Unemployment is at an all-time high and thousands of farmers have committed suicide in the last five years. In Maharashtra alone, 8,000 farmers ended their lives owing to distress. But Modiji remained fixated on Article 370 on his tours of the state, he remembered nothing else.”
Sibal also pointed to the PMC (Punjab & Maharashtra Cooperative) Bank crisis, wondering how could the Prime Minister not speak a word on this serious issue while campaigning in Maharashtra.
“Four persons have died because they could not withdraw their money. Is the Prime Minister not worried? We demand a PMC — Prime Minister’s commitment — from Modiji that all the customers of the bank will get their money back. Why are the CBI and the Enforcement Directorate not acting against the 12 directors of the bank? Because they are linked to the BJP?”
The Congress leader also recalled how finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman and her cabinet colleagues were denying the economic slowdown. “Railway minister Piyush Goyal said (economics laureate) Abhijit Banerjee is Left-leaning. Are the World Bank, IMF, Asian Development Bank and other global rating agencies also Left-leaning because they are downgrading India’s growth projections?”
Sibal added: “India is coming down in the nutrition and hunger index. Reports suggest 93 per cent children in India do not get adequate nutrition. Article 47 of the Constitution says ensuring minimum level of nutrition to children is one of the primary duties of the government. Modiji has forgotten even his constitutional duties because he remembers only Article 370. But will parroting Article 370 fill stomachs, provide jobs?”
The Congress also contested home minister Amit Shah’s contention in Parliament and at election rallies that Article 370 had hampered Kashmir’s development for 70 years. It released a chart to show that Kashmir was better off in terms of the poverty rate, infant mortality rate, life expectancy, enrolment in schools, human development index and employment rate than many known developed states and far better than states like Bihar and Uttar Pradesh.
Even the home minister, the other main campaigner for the ruling BJP in these states, had kept the focus on Article 370.