Chandigarh, February 17: The BJP had been in power for more than seven years and was still blaming first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru for the problems of the people, former prime minister and Congress leader Manmohan Singh said on Thursday in a scathing attack against the Modi-led government.
Targeting the central government on a host of issues, including the farmers’ agitation, foreign policy, price rise and unemployment, Singh said ahead of the Punjab elections on February 20 that the BJP’s nationalism was “fake” and was based on the British policy of “divide and rule”.
The Congress played the message delivered in Punjabi at a press conference here.
According to Singh, the government had proved to be a “complete failure” on the issue of foreign policy. The Chinese army, he alleged, was occupying “our pious land for the last one year but efforts are being made to bury this issue”.
“Our relations with neighbouring nations are also deteriorating,” Singh said.
Further targeting the Centre on foreign policy matters, Singh said, “Old friends are constantly alienating from us, while our relations with neighbouring countries are also deteriorating.”
“I hope that now the ruling dispensation has come to understand that the relations of the countries do not improve by forcefully embracing the leaders, playing on a swing with them or going for uninvited biryani,” he said, in a swipe at Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
With the Congress targeting the Centre saying its governance was visible only in advertisements, Singh said, “The truth somehow always comes to the fore. It is very easy to talk big things but it is very difficult to put those things into action.”
He said the government does not have trust in the country’s constitution and “institutions are continuously being weakened”.
“Today the situation is very worrisome. In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, the short-sighted policies of the central government, on the one hand, have caused people to suffer from falling economy, rising inflation and unemployment.
“On the other hand, the present government which has been in power for the last seven and a half years, rather than admitting their mistakes and making amends, is still blaming first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru for being responsible for people’s problems,” Singh said in his video statement.
Then making a sharp attack, he said, “I clearly believe that the post of prime minister has its own dignity and blaming history cannot reduce one’s sins.”
Hitting out at the central government, Singh, who is a noted economist, said they have no understanding of the economy, which was not in a healthy shape.
“Unemployment has reached its peak in the whole country today. Farmers, businessmen, students, women are all unhappy,” he said.
“Social inequality is increasing in the country, the debt on the people is constantly increasing, while the earnings are decreasing,” he said.
He further said the rich are becoming richer while the poor are becoming poorer.
“But this government is portraying that everything is fine by manipulating figures,” he said.
Singh said there is a flaw in the government’s policy as well as its intent.
“In every policy there is selfishness, while in intent there is hatred and division. People are being divided in the name of caste and region for their selfish interests…,” he said.
The former prime minister also referred to the security lapse of Modi’s convoy being stuck on a flyover in Ferozepur last month.
“A few days ago, in the name of the prime minister’s security, an attempt was made to defame Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi and the people of the state…,” he said.
“During the farmers’ agitation too, an attempt was made to defame Punjab and Punjabiyat,” he said.
The world salutes the bravery, patriotism and sacrifice of Punjabis, but the NDA government did not talk about any of these, Singh said.
“As a true Indian hailing from Punjab, all these things deeply hurt me,” he added.
Singh said there are many challenges before the people of Punjab and it is very important to deal with them effectively.
It is very important to address the issues of Punjab’s development, its farming and unemployment, he said.
“And this work can only be done by the Congress,” he said as he appealed to the people of Punjab to vote for the Congress.
The Congress leader said he had worked as prime minister for 10 years and had always preferred that his work should speak for itself.
“We never divided the country for political gains. We never tried to put curtains on the truth. Never let the country’s prestige or that of the post to be lowered,” he said.
At the international level, prestige of India and Indians was enhanced, he added.
Singh also said that he was satisfied that the “false propaganda” under which various allegations were levelled by the BJP and “its B and C teams” against him and his dispensation when he was the PM has come to light today and the country remembers the good work of the Congress-led UPA regime from 2004-2014.
He said the country today was at a critical juncture and he had hoped to be among the people during the elections in five states, but considering the opinion of doctors amid the Covid situation, he thought of reaching out through his video message. (PTI)