Wednesday, 20 February 2019

Cong slams Modi govt in LS, accuse it of weakening constitutional bodies

New Delhi, Feb 7 (PTI) The Congress Thursday accused the Modi government of weakening constitutional bodies, using probe agencies against rivals and inflating figures to mislead people about its work and claimed it used the President’s address to Parliament for political goals.

Participating in the debate in Lok Sabha on the Motion of Thanks to the President’s address, Congress’ Mallikarjun Kharge launched a sharp attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, accusing him of being arrogant, not consulting Cabinet colleagues on key decisions and alleging he cannot see the good works of past Congress governments because of “hatred”.

It is one thing to make a speech and thump the desk to laud it and another to save the country and democracy, he said, referring to Modi, who was present in the House.

Kharge also mocked the government’s announcements for farmers in the budget, saying it has done nothing for the agriculture sector so far and was now making promises with an eye on the general election.

Farmers can see through it, he said, claiming the rate of agriculture growth fell to two per cent during the BJP-led NDA government’s rule from the four per cent it was under the UPA.

He asked why the government is not waiving farm loans across the country when it can waive off loans of Rs 1.10 lakh crore of corporate groups.

Accusing the government of inflating development figures, he asked if the GDP growth rate was so good as it claims, then why the unemployment rate is “so high” and investment not picking up.

“You came to power by making false promises and have still not stopped lying and misleading people,” he charged.

Hitting back at Modi, who often targets past Congress governments for their alleged lack of development work for the country, Kharge cited figures to assert that his party “saved” the nation, fed it and gave it milk and education.

“Give us some credit. But if your body is full of hatred, then you cannot see it,” he said.

The literacy rate rose to 74 per cent from 16 per cent in 1951, he said citing the 2011 census figures and added that life expectancy jumped to 70 years from 32, infant mortality fell to 38 per thousand birth from 165 and food grain production jumped to 138 million tonnes from 50 million tonnes under the Congress rule.

The number of colleges rose to 37,000 from 500, Kharge said and took a dig at BJP members, saying they must have studied in these institutions and not during Modi’s time.

Taking a swipe at BJP members, he asked them not to be a “slave” to the prime minister even as they were elected in his name.

Kharge also targeted the government over a Supreme Court decision on seats under quota in universities, saying it adversely affected reservation for Dalits, tribals and backwards.

The bill for 10 per cent quota for the general category poor was not discussed in the Union Cabinet, he alleged, saying the government’s answer to a parliamentary question on the issue had made no reference to it.

The reply was tabled on the same day the government gave its approval to the decision, he said.

The government is not working as per the Constitution, he said.

Kharge cited media reports regarding a NSSO survey that said unemployment rate was 6.1 per cent in 2017-18 to attack the government. Two members of the National Statistical Commission resigned because the government did not allow the release of the data, he alleged.

He also cited criticism of demonetisation by economists, including Arvind Subramanian, a former chief economic adviser to the Modi government, to target the government.

Kharge reiterated his party’s demand for a joint parliamentary committee probe into the Rafale issue, saying a businessman, who was given a contract in the deal, recently filed for insolvency.

Investigation agencies like the CBI and ED are being used to “throttle” those who do not agree with the government, he said.

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