Falling GDP, soaring unemployment, and Kashmir: Congress demands answers from BJP
As the BJP celebrated 100 days of achievements of its second term at the Centre, the Congress on Sunday tore into it over the Kashmir clampdown, the falling rupee and loss of jobs, accusing the right-wing party of indulging in a shock-and-awe approach of governing without sparing a thought for long-term consequences.
Congress leader Kapil Sibal faulted the government for job losses in auto sector and other industries, and the weakening of the rupee against the dollar. He said the government has been missing one goal after another which it had promised to the people, and was continuously shifting the goal posts.
“Smriti Iraniji said our Prime Minister is a great economist. Despite such a good economist, where is our economy? The Prime Minister should kindly tell us, why is the GDP growth rate at five per cent? I’ll tell you what the reality is... 3.5 lakh people lost their jobs in the auto sector, 300 dealerships in the auto sector were shut down... Parle laid off one-tenth of its workforce. People are now unable to buy even Parle biscuits,” Sibal said in a press conference on the day the BJP celebrated 100 days of its second term with a laudatory report card.
Sibal pointed out that during the Modi government, 30 million people lost their jobs. He noted that the unemployment rate had risen to 8.2 per cent.
“And still they will not concede that this is all because of the demonetisation. There is more cash in the market than during the pre-demonetisation period. Today there is Rs 21 lakh crore of cash in the market, while before the note ban it was Rs 18 lakh crore. Corruption has only increased. There are fake notes in the market,” he said.
The former law minister also criticised the government for its “vendetta politics” and misuse of power against the rivals.
“Then there is vendetta politics. Why did you stand by Sengar (accused in the Unnao rape case)? I ask them. Why are they protecting Mukul Roy in the Sarada scam? Ramesh Pokhriyal, who was named in the land and hydroelectric project, there is evidence against him. You made him a minister. What about Babul Supriyo? Yeddyurappa, he was made CM,” he said.
Sibal indicted the government for “penalising” the people of Kashmir, who are suffering under a severe communication blockade for 35 days now, since the abrogation of Article 370. About 250 hotels in the valley are vacant, he said, and 15,000 salesmen are out of work since the blockade started.
“Ajit Doval (the National Security Advisor) says 92 per cent of Kashmir is normal. If such is the case, then remove the restrictions from that 92 per cent of the region. What is their definition of normalcy?,” he said.
Responding to a query from a journalist, Sibal said that ruling party did not have the “intellect” to run the administration. He urged the government to desist from “politics of splash and rash decision-making”.
“The economy is at a standstill and they are clueless about their next action,” he said.