Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi on Friday tore into the BJP-led NDA government’s demonetisation and Kashmir policies and asserted that Prime Minister Narendra Modi based his entire policy making strategy on TRPs.
Addressing the Congress Parliamentary Party meeting in the Parliament House in the absence of his mother Sonia Gandhi, who is indisposed, Rahul described the Prime Minister as being "a prisoner of his own image" and one who is inflicting "tremendous suffering" on the people of India to protect his own persona.
"The Prime Minister often asks what the Congress did in the last 60 years. The people of India know exactly what the Congress has achieved for this country. But I would like to tell the prime minister what the Congress didn’t do in 67 years,” Rahul said.
"The Congress never gave India a prime minister who was a prisoner of his own image,” he said. "We never gave India a prime minister who was ready to inflict such tremendous suffering on the people of India to protect his own persona. We never gave India a prime minister who based his entire policy making strategy on TRPs,” the Congress Vice President went on.
"We never gave India a prime minister who bypassed the experience of those sitting in the institutions. The country has suffered tremendous damage as a result of the vanity and incompetence of our PM,” said Rahul.
He claimed that the Congress-led UPA government’s Pakistan policy resulted in complete global isolation of Pakistan and brought peace — and tourists — to Kashmir. "Today, the same person who used to ridicule us sits silently while Kashmir burns. Narendra Modi will be judged by history as the man who gifted massive political space to anti-India forces by creating an opportunistic political alliance between the BJP and the PDP. He has created the political vacuum that gives the terrorists space to operate.”
As a result, Rahul Gandhi said, "Our brave soldiers and their families are paying the price. Eighty-five soldiers have been martyred. That is the highest number of men we have lost in almost a decade.”
The Congress had supported the surgical strikes against Pakistan, but "policy cannot be based on ad hoc responses to events. The price of not thinking actions through is simply too high. It is high time the government develops a coherent strategy. We were told that the idea… was to stop Pakistan from cross border attacks. There have been 21 major attacks and hundreds of ceasefire violations since the strikes”.
Within two days of Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar claiming success, Mr. Rahul Gandhi said, "Terrorists walked into the most highly defended Army base in Jammu, straight into the officers mess and murdered our officers and men in cold blood. Is the government not responsible for maintaining the security of our bases? Are these young men just statistics destined to gather dust in the records of the Government of India? Does the government not owe them an apology?”
The Congress would "put its full weight behind any genuine move to fight corruption and black money.” What the Prime Minister has actually done was to "single handedly… declare war on the world's fastest growing economy.”
Mr. Rahul Gandhi pointed out that 94 per cent of black money is held in gold, real estate and dollars stashed away abroad. The government’s decision had not addressed that. Having failed to get back the black money in bank accounts abroad, "he decided to experiment with the financial future of 1.3 billion people. Instead of attacking black money, he attacked the very foundations of our economy. Even his chief economic advisor was not informed. The outgoing chief of the RBI warned him of the impending devastation, but he did not listen. As per the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE), the Prime Minister's impromptu experiment has already cost India Rs. 1.28 lakh crores in lost wages, cost of printing and logistics.”
This "catastrophic” experiment has been condemned by every economist "of any repute”, "created a massive new corrupt black market that is working overtime to convert the black money to white” will devastate the GDP growth, crush migrant labourers and farmers and destroy industries, he said.
Demonetisation continues to stall Parliament with the opposition insisting that the PM should speak on his move in both Houses.
"The prime minister does not feel it is worth his time to sit in the house and listen to the views of its democratically elected members. Doing so could potentially prevent him from making the catastrophic policy mistakes he is currently making,” Rahul said.
"Listening to the voices of the people is the only thing that can free him from the clutches of his own image and make him an effective prime minister. Yet he consistently refuses to do so.”