Congress Plenary Session: Former finance minister P Chidambaram addresses the gathering in New Delhi on Sunday. (Photo: Twitter/@INCIndia)
Former finance minister P Chidambaram on Sunday launched an attack on the Narendra Modi-led government over its note ban decision, saying, “There cannot be a greater lie than demonetisation”.
After presenting the party’s economic proposal during the 84th Congress Plenary Session at Indira Gandhi Indoor Stadium in the national capital, the veteran Congress leader took a dig at the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) for the delay in counting old currency notes.
“Demonetisation was a big lie. The RBI is still counting and won’t tell us how much money has come back. I would like to advise the RBI Governor to go to Tirupati and get the hundi collectors. They count money faster than the RBI,” he told the gathering.
Chidambaram also slammed the BJP-led government at the Centre and said the Indian economy, at present, has been separated from the global economy which is growing at a rapid pace. “The Modi government inherited a strong economy. The task of development has to be continued by upcoming generations. However, today, the Indian economy is decoupled from the world economy which is growing,” he said, adding, “What the heck have you (BJP) been doing for four years?”
Listing out former prime minister Manmohan Singh’s achievements during his term, Chidambaram said, “The current phase of economic growth started in 1990s when Rajiv Gandhi sowed seeds of liberalisation. This gained momentum under Dr Manmohan Singh’s tenure. Whatever the BJP and the NDA may say, records speak for itself.”
He added, “Dr Manmohan Singh’s biggest achievement was that 14 crore people were removed from the poverty list. The BJP government has, however, pushed the people into poverty. The number of people below the poverty line has also increased. It’s the greatest disservice that the BJP has done to the people of India.”
The veteran leader also expressed confidence that only the Congress could take the country out of this ‘crisis’. “Only the Congress can take the country out of this crisis. I am not saying this because of arrogance. We have done it before and we can do it again,” he said.
He added, “Spread the word that a new young dynamic leadership has taken over Congress. We will come back to power with friends and allies.”
Earlier in the day, former prime minister Manmohan Singh slammed the government, saying 2 crore job per year is a pipe dream. Using the word ‘jumla’, Singh said, “When Modi ji was campaigning he made lots of tall promises, those promises have not been fulfilled. He said we will provide 2 crore jobs, we have not seen even 2 lakh jobs. Modi said farmers’ income will be doubled in 6 years; it is a jumla-type statement unlikely to be achieved.”
Singh also criticised Modi government’s mismanagement of issues in Jammu and Kashmir and said the atmosphere is deteriorating every day. “The atmosphere is deteriorating day in and day out, it’s obvious from the fact that our borders are insecure, be it cross-border terror or internal,” he said.
On Saturday, party president Rahul Gandhi, in his brief inaugural address, said that the new Congress Working Committee, the apex decision-making body of the party, would be a mix of young blood and elders. The Congress under him would take seniors and youth together as the tradition of the party was to embrace change without forgetting its past and legacy, he said. “If the youth will take the Congress forward, the party will not move forward without its experienced leaders. So my task is to unite the seniors and the youth, to give a new direction,” he had said.
Former party chief and senior leader Sonia Gandhi reminded party workers how the Congress had opened the door to alliances earlier to defeat the NDA. The plenary session also adopted a political resolution calling for “a pragmatic approach for cooperation with all like-minded parties” and “a common workable programme” against the BJP in the 2019 elections.--IE