New Delhi: Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh took on his successor PM Narendra Modi at the Congress Working Committee meet in New Delhi on Sunday and assured Rahul Gandhi his full support in his onerous task of “restoring India’s social harmony and economic development”.
Gandhi is chairing his first meeting of the revamped Congress Working Committee (CWC), after taking over as party chief in December last year. The meeting has been held just days after the opposition-sponsored no-confidence motion against the NDA government that the Congress hopes to use as a launchpad for the 2019 poll campaign.
Singh, who has been engaged in a war of words with Modi for the last few months, said that he “rejects the culture of constant self-praise and jumlas of PM as against solid policy framework” for driving the engine of growth”.
His remarks come in response to Modi’s assertion earlier this month that his government had to steer the nation’s economy out of “unbelievable” decay left by an “economist prime minister and a ‘know-it-all’ finance minister”.
Modi had said that India is now the fastest growing large economy of the world with strong fundamentals to propel further growth. He added that when he came to power things were terrible. “We were a part of the fragile five economies. Even the budget figures were suspicious,” he said.
Singh had earlier blamed the Narendra Modi government for its “disastrous policies” and “economic mismanagement”. He said the country was facing crises that were avoidable.
He attacked the government over a series of banking frauds, saying the money swindled almost quadrupled from Rs 28,416 crore in September 2013 to Rs 1.11 lakh crore in September 2017. “It pains me to see how rather than standing up to all these challenges, the government’s response has been to stifle dissent when deficiencies are pointed out,” he had said.
On Sunday, Singh also cast doubts over the Centre’s claim that it would double farming income by the year 2022, saying that to achieve that agricultural growth rate would have to be 14 per cent, which is nowhere in sight. He called it a hollow assurance.
Before Singh, Rahul reminded members “the role of Congress as the voice of India” and the “responsibility of the party as BJP attacks institutions, Dalits, tribals, minorities and the poor.”
He described the newly constituted CWC as an “institution comprising experience and energy, as a bridge between the past, present and the future.” He called upon Congressmen and women “to rise and fight for India’s oppressed.”