Corruption, without question, was the Achilles’ heel of the UPA government, with Dr Manmohan Singh as Prime Minister. I doubt Dr Singh had his way as the Congress President, Mrs Sonia Gandhi, was calling the shots. It was massive corruption that cost the Congress power, succumbing to the BJP led by Mr Narendra Modi, current Prime Minister, in the elections in April 2014.
The AAP Alternative: If the country wanted to deal with only corruption then the AAP, spearheaded by Mr Arvind Kejriwal, will have been a better choice.
India needed rapid economic growth and a firm strategy to effectively combat the geographical threats from China and Pakistan, with the electorate expecting Mr Modi to be the nation’s saviour across all fronts. Whether we like it or not, Mr Modi and the BJP have failed the country on these fronts.
Dr Singh’s Scathing Attack: What remained mere murmurs of late about the BJP’s failure to invigorate the Indian economy was today firmly dealt with by Dr Manmohan Singh, former Prime Minister.
Here are a few of his assertions that appear to carry some weight:
- The Make in India campaign is nothing but a carbon copy of UPA’s manufacturing policy (The truth is that it is a mere slogan with no meaningful results. Neither is it export oriented – rather it should be Make for India, as one analyst put it.)
- Exports are declining, and farmers are in distress (this again is not removed from reality, but suicides by farmers in large numbers were happening even during the UPA regime)
- 8.5% growth rate under UPA (in fact, barring the last two years of UPA rule, the economy had been growing by around 9 per cent – the slump towards the end to 5% was because of factors beyond the UPA’s control).
- Even the 5% during 2013-1014 was better than the 4.7% during 2014-2015 (it became 6.9% only because India earlier this year suddenly changed the methodology to measure GDP.
Growth was better under UPA Govt.: Moreover, economic growth under Dr Singh was faster by 50% than during the earlier NDA regime, as you will see from the data available in this report. That growth becomes all the more creditable as during six of the 10 UPA years, the world faced an acute recession when oil/commodity prices were shooting through the roof.
In contrast, Mr Modi inherited an economy aided by falling oil and commodity prices. It is that which has resulted in low inflation in India – something that Mr Modi shamelessly took credit for.
BJP on the Mat Being Rescued by Silly English Media: Going by the immediate defensive reactions of BJP leaders, including Mr Amit Shah and Mr Nalin Kohli, it is clear that they have nothing more to offer than slam once again the UPA government on corruption. They know they have nothing else to bank on at this stage.
They are helped by the English media, confused as they are on whether to play a pro-establishment role or remain objective in true journalistic traditions. To them, freedom of speech lies in doing all the talking and screaming without giving an opportunity for panelists to put forth their views.
Corruption, Not Anathema to BJP: The BJP has harped enough on corruption under the UPA government. It is not as if corruption is anathema to the BJP. The nation know how corrupt its state governments were in the past. As Dr Singh says, the Modi Government is just using past corruption as a way to hide its failures.
“If you look at the harsh reality you can see that all is not well with the Indian economy,” Dr Singh asserts.
Since corruption is the BJP’s trumpcard, only a foolish government will have got caught with its own scams in their first year in power. It is time for the Government to act now, not continue to take shelter under the past Government’s dalliance with corruption.
G Joslin Vethakumar