MUMBAI: The Congress on Monday hit out at the BJP for harping on scrapping of Article 370 in poll rallies, saying the ruling party and Prime Minister Narendra Modi were deflecting attention from issues concerning common people like economic slowdown, price rise and unemployment.
Top BJP leaders, including Modi and party president Amit Shah, have been repeatedly speaking about the abrogation of provisions of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir in their rallies in poll-bound Maharashtra and Haryana.
Modi has challenged the Congress to publicly state it will restore the controversial constitutional provision, which granted special status to Jammu & Kashmir if voted to power.
Addressing a press meet here, AICC spokesman Jaiveer Shergill said instead of asking the Congress whether it will restore the now-scrapped Article 370, Modi should talk about reducing the prices of petrol, diesel, onion and tomato whose rate has crossed Rs 70 a kg in the retail market.
Shergill said the prime minister should come to the rescue of harried depositors of scam-hit PMC Bank and also took a jibe at Modi over his 56-inch chest remark.
"The Congress will speak about Article 370 during the assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir."
"But, if the prime minister really has a 56-inch chest, he should work to reduce the prices of petrol, diesel, onion and tomato, and also hand over the money of lakhs of depositors of PMC Bank," he said.
The Congress spokesman accused the prime minister of always being in campaign mode instead of focusing on governance.
Speaking at the press meet, AICC general secretary R P N Singh said for the government to find solutions to the economic slowdown and growing unemployment, it has to first acknowledge these problems.
"Accept the problem before you find solutions. Instead, a senior minister like Ravishankar Prasad says three Hindi movies had become blockbusters and hence there was no recession," he said.
Singh said industrial output, manufacturing growth rate and investment have seen a decline while unemployment was at an all-time high.
In BJP-ruled Maharashtra, between 2014 and 2018-19, 220 factories had a shutdown.
Thousands of industrial units in Pune, an automobile hub, were on verge of closure, the former Congress minister said.
But, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and Modi have no answers to these problems, Singh said.
"PMC Bank directors have BJP links and hence Fadnavis has not uttered a word about the bank's collapse. If the Modi government can take Rs 1. 76 lakh crore from RBI (reserves) using its majority, can't it ask the RBI to return money to PMC Bank depositors?" the Congress leader asked.
Singh said the BJP governments at the Centre and in Maharashtra have weakened Mumbai's position as the economic capital by shifting the proposed International Finance Centre, conceived by the UPA government, to another state.
"Similarly, there was no progress on the Shivaji and Ambedkar memorial projects (in Mumbai)," he said.