CHENNAI: Swachh Bharat Abhiyan scheme, which Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched today with brooms in his hand, was "nothing new but Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan" of erstwhile Congress-led UPA Government, senior Congress leader and former union finance minister P Chidambaram said here today.
"...Prime Minister has launched a new scheme called 'Swachh Bharat Abiyan,' which is nothing new but our 'Nirmal Bharat Abiyan.' It is the very same scheme and nothing new," he said addressing his partymen at the Gandhi Jayanthi celebrations.
Listing out the schemes, which he claimed were nothing but a change of name, Chidambaram said, "Congress' Skill Development Mission is now BJP's Skill India scheme, Congress' financial inclusion is now BJP's Jan Dhan.
All the schemes are the same. But the BJP is talking big about these schemes with advertisements, which we should have also done."
Observing that while one should notice what the new government was doing, they should also observe what it wasn't doing, he charged that the 100 days employment scheme or NREGA was presently being destroyed step by step.
"Though the target is 100 days, this year the average was only 31 days. Some states have not even completed 31 days. The budget for the scheme has been reduced from Rs 40,000 crore to Rs 33,000 crore," he said.
The NDA Government had also placed new restrictions like disqualifying physically challenged persons and old pensioners from being employed under the NREGA, he said.
Holding that the Minority Affairs Ministry had not done enough but listed out the welfare schemes announced by the previous regime, he said, "But what they talk about now is 'Love Jihad.'
"What is wrong in a deprived community man falling in love with a girl of different community or religion or vice versa? The BJP now has two Muslim leaders, who have married Hindu women. Is that the Love Jihad of those days?"
On the present political situation in Tamil Nadu in the backdrop of conviction of AIADMK supremo in the assets case, he said a vacuum was likely to surface in the state politics, which he wanted his partymen to take advantage of.
"DMK is no more an alternative for the AIADMK. Days are over when people thought DMK and the AIADMK were the alternative governments in Tamil Nadu. Congress would and should fill up the vacuum, which is likely to arise in the state," he said. While it was natural for the AIADMK workers to be upset and hold demonstrations as their ardent leader has been convicted and jailed, normalcy must return in the state, he added.