Political parties had divergent views on President Pranab Mukherjee’s first address to Parliament.

While the Congress said the President had presented an “optimistic” picture of the socio-economic realities, the Opposition Bharatiya Janata Party slammed the President’s speech by terming it as the ‘grocery list’ of the Government programmes. The Left said the President had no solution to offer for the slowdown in the economy.

The BJP said his speech did not reflect the state of the country or the mood of the nation. The party’s chief spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad told presspersons that the one-hour speech merely carried the list of many small and unimportant schemes of the United Progressive Alliance. “It offered no strategy or agenda to contain corruption,” Prasad said.

Senior BJP leader M. Venkaiah Naidu said the Presidential address was totally disappointing, directionless and uninspiring.

“It did not address the challenges faced by the country – be it massive corruption, unabated price rise, agricultural crisis, farmers’ suicides, growing unemployment etc. The Government could not give any roadmap to tackle any of these issues,’’ he added.

Economic crisis

The BJP said though the Presidential address mentioned the serious economic crisis, it did not spell out steps proposed to be taken by the Government to address the fiscal deficit touching 5.5 per cent and GDP coming down to five per cent.

The Left said though the President admitted that there was a slowdown in the economy, he failed to offer any solution. “They don’t know how to come out of it,” CPI National Secretary D. Raja said.

The Congress, however, countered the Opposition’s views.

Party spokesperson P.C. Chacko said the speech had addressed the aspirations and anxieties of the youth in the country. He welcomed the announcement that 10 crore job opportunities would be created in this decade.

jigeesh.am@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published on February 21, 2013)
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