As the BJP-led government entered the last year of its second term in office on Friday, a bitter critique of its performance by the Opposition was characterised with equal vehemence by the ruling party as emanating from “a pathological hatred for the Prime Minister”.
Amid a raging controversy over the inauguration of the new Parliament building, which the main opposition parties are going to boycott on grounds that it is only a “vanity project of the PM”, the anniversary for BJP’s ninth year in power was marked by shrill political commentary.
The Congress fielded its communications chief and former Union Minister Jairam Ramesh to ask “nine questions for nine years” from the PM that ranged from unemployment, price rise, border security to the state of the economy. The second largest party in Parliament, Trinamool Congress dubbed the BJP’s nine years in power as “nine years of failed promises and disastrous policy decisions”.
The BJP deployed former Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad to stress that the Opposition’s criticism stemmed not from a genuine concern about people’s issues, but a pathological and deep hatred for the PM.
The Congress later issued a detailed statement listing what it termed as a succession of bad policy decisions and utter mismanagement.
Addressing the PM, Jairam Ramesh said: “The prices of all essential commodities have relentlessly risen since 2014, even though oil prices have fallen from $100/barrel to $70/barrel over the same period. Youth unemployment has risen to 30-40 per cent, while real wages have fallen for the poor. This is a disastrous record. Demonetisation and GST destroyed small businesses without eliminating black money, and demonetisation 2.0 announced recently is a fresh reminder of your government’s heartless approach.”
He listed the three withdrawn farm laws and the “unfulfilled” promises of legalising MSP and doubling farmers’ income as indicative of the government’s apathy to the agriculture sector. The Adani-Hindenburg scam was listed as an instance of the “rampant corruption” in the government while the Chinese incursions at the LAC were cited as the threats to national security that have been glossed over. The Congress also talked at length about the attacks on social cohesion and policy approaches evident in the Citizenship Amendment Act and National Register of Citizens as the BJP government’s “divisive agenda”.
Responding in equal measure, BJP leader Ravi Shankar Prasad said, “The Congress’s nine questions are full of frustration. They have emerged out of the Congress’s hatred for PM Modi. These are not questions arising out of criticism, which they have a right to do, but are a result of a pathological hatred towards Narendra Modi.”