NEW DELHI, Jun 20: The Congress on Thursday termed the President’s address to the joint sitting of Parliament as “uninspiring, insipid, hollow and full of latitudes” and expressed concern over the inclusion of simultaneous polls in his speech.
Senior spokesperson of the party Anand Sharma said the idea of holding simultaneous polls needs further discussion and it cannot be imposed as it takes away the diversity, the rights of state and the rights of the people that elect the governments.
He also said that if Prime Minister Narendra Modi wanted to open a new chapter seeking cooperation to build consensus on important matters, then that sincerity of intent must be reflected in the actions of the BJP and its government, which is not the case.
He alleged that the BJP from day one is out to encourage defection, destabilisation and targeting of Congress governments that must stop immediately.
“The President’s address is uninspiring, insipid, hollow, full of latitudes, and it just repeats the statements of the Prime Minister or the executive decisions taken by the Union Cabinet after the assumption of office following the general elections,” Sharma told reporters.
He said there is no reference in the President’s address of past commitments made to people of the country by the government beginning 2014.
Also, there is no mention of the jobs and unemployment, which has touched the highest number in 45 years, he said.
“Crores of our youth are unemployed. It would have been better if the President, in his address, had expressed concern and given a roadmap on job creation, job generation month-wise that would have reassured the people, especially the younger generation,” Sharma said.
“We have expressed our concern that of the justification of including this issue of ‘one nation – simultaneous polls’. We have a Constitution. India is a union of states, we are a federal polity, and we cannot have uniformity imposed which is impractical because the governments are elected by the people,” he said.
Sharma pointed out that the central and state governments have remained in office as long as they command majority and people cannot be deprived of a popular government if the governments lose their majority.
“You cannot impose an idea which actually takes away this diversity, the rights of the states or the rights of the people. So, this is premature. I would say, we have not participated as a party in yesterday’s meeting, but, it is something which I will say not even pre-mature, it is an idea which has yet to be put in incubator.
“We have our reservations and our concerns, but, the larger issue which we have said that this President’s address, we will speak in both the Houses. Our Leader in Lok Sabha is here, will tell you when the debate starts on the President’s address,” he said.
“But for the time being, sums it up just latitudes, repeat of words – high sounding words – which the Prime Minister and the BJP government are very fond of,” Sharma said.
Congress leader in Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury said the issue of simultaneous polls is a hype and simply a deviation and tactic being played by the BJP when on all fronts they are failing.
“Now they are trying to deflect the attention by raising an issue – one nation simultaneous election – without any rhyme or reason. They are simply creating an issue out of the blue only to have a situation which may deflect the attention of the people from the core issue of livelihood,” he said.
Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala alleged that the BJP-led government had a record of raising high expectations by making tall promises but not delivering anything and the president’s address was the prime example of “a lot of intent founded upon sheer inaction”.
He said the unwritten convention of the government was “action not matching its words”.
“BJP Government’s record is raise high expectations, tall promises and zero sum delivery. Presidential address is the prime example of a lot of intent founded upon sheer inaction. The unwritten convention in BJP government is ‘action not matching with its words’,” Surjewala said on Twitter.
Sharma said the BJP is very fond of “high sounding words” like ‘Stand up India’, ‘Start Up India’, ‘Skill India’, ‘Make in India’, and where the manufacturing has declined, where investments have declined, to historic lows.”
He also said that there is nothing with regard to the economic slowdown in the country, as the GDP number in the last quarter has fallen to 5.8 pc and the global rating agencies have downgraded India’s GDP growth even after the assumption of office by the Prime Minister Modi for the second time.
“The President’s address talks about taking India’s GDP to 5 trillion USD. We wish the government good luck, but, for that they have to revive economic growth, investment, manufacturing which is at a 10 year low, they have to restore the health of Indian banks to lend to the micro small and medium enterprises,” he said.
He said it will not be possible going by the present rate of growth and all want India’s GDP to grow faster.
Sharma said as regards farmers income, it is mere latitude as Government’s or BJP’s assurance does not address the real crisis in India’s agriculture. “For the farmers’ income to double at this growth rate, it will take 45 years.” (PTI)