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BJP in propaganda blitz to build Modi personality cult: Congress

LiveMint logoLiveMint 25-05-2017 PTI

New Delhi: On the eve of the Narendra Modi government’s third anniversary, the Congress on Thursday accused it of indulging in a multi-crore “propaganda blitz” to build the personality cult of “one person” while demanding a white paper on the state of the economy as it sought to puncture the centre’s claims of growth.

The Congress alleged that distraction, propaganda, falsification of facts, intolerance, insulting political opponents and questioning the wisdom of intellectuals has been the hallmark of the BJP-led NDA government. Claiming that there was “no economic growth and it is a flat growth”, it demanded that the government make public the GDP numbers as per the old formula and provide details of those it has given jobs during last three years. The party also hit out at the centre over a host of issues including the “sluggish” economy, “serious” internal security, “plummeting” investment and savings and social conditions where minorities were feeling “unsafe”.

“Hundreds of crores of money they are taking out of the vaults of treasury just to build a personality cult around one person. The BJP has called it ‘Modi fest’,” senior Congress spokesperson Anand Sharma said. “In a democracy, the governments are held to account for performance or non-performance. These three years are that of false claims, of betrayal, of boasts and the unmaking of the promises that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP had made three years ago,” Sharma said.

“My demand and this is Congress Party’s demand and the challenge to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, finance minister Arun Jaitley and the government of the day that as you celebrate looting the treasury to build a personality cult around one man, publish tomorrow the ten years’ GDP numbers as per the old methodology and your new methodology. The truth will be out,” Sharma said. “We dare this government to come out with the old series GDP numbers for ten years, and the fresh numbers, then all of you will see that what they are saying is false,” he said.

Top Congress leaders will hold press conferences across the country on Friday to highlight the “failures” of the Modi government over its 36 months in power. Party leader Kamal Nath will hold a conference in Delhi, Ashok Gehlot in Ahemdabad, Bhupinder Singh Hooda in Udaipur, Prithiviraj Chavan in Srinagar, Manish Tewari in Shimla and Jairam Ramesh in Pune, among others. Sharma targeted the government for its “publicity spree” over the “Modi Fest” and alleged that the BJP was opening the vaults of the treasury to further the “personality cult” of the prime minister and has spent over Rs1,500 crore from central funds.

Expressing serious concerns over the internal security situation, he wondered why this festival was being organised when the poor, the unemployed youth, farmers and vulnerable minorities were in a “pensive” mood. Sharma said India is more vulnerable than before and its security under “grave threat”, as it has lost more soldiers and officers of the armed forces in the last three years and yet the Congress party has, unlike the BJP, not politicised issues. Sharma described the Indian economy as “sluggish” and the country’s growth as “flat” with no investments coming in and investment and bank saving rates and non-agricultural bank credit off-take all plummeting.

“We demand that government comes out with a white paper on the state of the economy and makes public the GDP figures as per old formula... We also dare the prime minister to make public the details of the people who have been given jobs by his government during the three years of the BJP rule at the centre,” he said. The former union minister of commerce and industry claimed that against the promise of two crore jobs every year by the NDA government, only 1.5 lakh jobs were generated last year. The Congress was also critical of the internal security situation in the country and dubbed the government’s Pakistan policy a “diplomatic disaster”.

“We have been telling Prime Minister Modi that he should have a clear road map of India with neighborhood, especially Pakistan. His Pakistan policy has been diplomatic disaster to say the least. There is no road map... Diplomacy requires gravitas and a sound comprehension. For the prime minister, it is a photo opportunity and that is what he has believed in and that is exactly what he did when he landed at Lahore,” he said, adding that he became the first Indian prime minister not given a guard of honor there.

Sharma alleged that Modi has got “carried away by propaganda” of his party, and described his government machinery and most of the ministers as “rubber stamps” who have “nothing much to do except to sing paeans of praise for a non-performing prime minister who is used to making boastful claims on every issue”.

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