Modi Govt. Has Abandoned Any Pretence of Being Democratic: Sonia Gandhi
NEW DELHI, MAY 22— Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Friday came down heavily on the central government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the way it has been handling the Coronavirus pandemic and its impacts on the economy of the country.
In her opening remarks at the meeting of 22 Opposition parties via video conferencing, Sonia termed PM Modi’s 20 lakh crore economic package as a “cruel joke” on the country.
“Many of us like-minded parties had demanded that cash must be transferred to the poor, that free grain must be distributed to all families, that buses and trains must be arranged for the migrant workers to go back to their homes. We emphasized that Wage Assistance and Wage Protection Funds must be set up to protect the employees and the employers. Our please have fallen on deaf ears,” she charged in her speech.
“A number of renowned economists are predicting that 2020-21 will end with negative growth of up to minus 5 per cent. The consequences will be catastrophic. That the present government has no solutions is worrying; but that it has no empathy or compassion for the poor and vulnerable is heartbreaking,” reads a hand-out of her initial remarks released on the official twitter handle of the Congress party a short while ago.
Sonia strongly criticized the Modi government for its “unilateral moves” without holding “a consultation with stakeholders or debate in Parliament.”
She said: “Far from offering succour and support, the government has embarked on a wild adventure of so-called reforms including a grand clearance sale of PSUs and repeal of labour laws. There is not even a pretence of consultation with stakeholders or debate in Parliament. We deplore these unilateral moves.”
“The economy has been gravely crippled. Every economist of repute had advised an immediate need for a massive fiscal stimulus. The Prime Minister’s announcement on May 12 of a grand Rs 20 lakh crore package, and the Finance Minister spelling out its details over the next five days, have turned out be a cruel joke on the country,” she said.
Sonia said that not only the migrant workers have been ignored, 13 crore families in the bottom half of the population, namely the tenant farmers, and landless agricultural workers, the laid off or retrenched workers and employees, the shopkeepers and the self-employed, the 5.8 crore out of the 6.3 crore MSMEs, and organized industries, including the large businesses have also been ignored.
She charged the central government of forgetting the spirit of federalism.
“The government has also abandoned any pretence of being a democratic government. All power is now concentrated in one office, the PMO. The spirit of Federalism which is an integral part of our Constitution is all but forgotten. There is no indication either if the two Houses of Parliament or the Standing Committees will be summoned to meet,” said Sonia Gandhi.
“It is our duty to offer constructive criticism and suggestions, and be the voice of the people. It is in that spirit that we are meeting today,” she said.