Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has reasons to worry -- it is not just the performance of his government that is being questioned, but his legacy as a whole.
Raring to go into election mode, BJP chief Rajnath Singh on Wednesday said the current economic crisis has much to do with the kind of economic reforms the country has seen in the last two decades. Calling for a critical rethink on the economic policies ushered in by Manmohan, Rajnath said: “We are not against economic reforms, but what kind of reforms? We need fresh thinking. Indian economy’s autonomy should not be comprised.”
The BJP president, however, did not specify whether his opposition to Manmohanomics was primarily based on his party’s opposition to the FDI in retail sector or free trade agreement with the European Union that is being pursued by the UPA Government.
Instead, Rajnath took a dig at the Congress for forgetting the Gandhi model of development and blindly kowtowing either an American model or a Russian model of development and not tailoring the economic policies to India’s needs. Asked whether he saw no contradiction in his party’s stand backing Narendra Modi, known for his pro-industry vibes, on one hand and the talk of Swadeshi revival on the other, Rajnath said: “We are for equitable development….We cannot have our farmers committing suicides.”
But it was not clear whether this subtle marriage of the two development models by the BJP top brass was a clever ploy to take the sting out of Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s attack on Modi for not pursuing “inclusive growth”. But that Rajnath was trying hard to take everyone along in his second term as the BJP president was quite evident.
Despite the internal tug-of-war among the BJP Chief Ministers and the resurgent regional politics, the BJP chief seemed eager to strike a balance.
“We do not want any of our allies to leave the NDA. We are talking and we hope to resolve the issues with the partners,” he said, during a free-wheeling interaction at the Indian Women’s Press Corps.
He also vehemently denied giving any indication to the BJP leaders from Bihar, whom he met in the wake of Nitish’s virulent attack on Modi, that the party should prepare to go it alone in the state.
Be it the JD(U) or Shiv Sena, Rajnath said the BJP would sit across the table to discuss all issues, including that of the PM candidate.