BENGALURU: Prime Minister Narendra Modi's aggressive campaigning for the assembly polls in Karnataka has come under fire from his predecessor, Manmohan Singh. "The way the population is sought to be polarised is not good for Karnataka and for the country. The Prime Minister has stooped so low, it is unbecoming of a Prime Minister," Singh said told reporters at KPCC office here on Monday. "No other PM has used election time to say things in a manner Modi is saying. I wish he will learn and not polarise Karnataka as he is doing day in and day out. The PM should not be using this type of language ... the kind of remarks he is making. The PM stooping so low is not good for the country," he said.
Replying to a question about Modi calling him (Singh) a PM who cannot speak and the fact that Modi himself has not addressed a single press conference since he became Prime Minister, Singh said, "Modi has so far not held a press conference in the last four years. That is the reflection of state of affairs."
Singh also expressed concern at the selective raids being conducted by IT sleuths. IT raids have become a daily routine, Singh said, adding that the business community was unhappy as many of these raids were being conducted for no reason. This is affecting the climate for investment, he said. He termed demonetisation and GST implementation as two major blunders of the Modi government. The loss the economy suffered owing to these blunders have severely hurt our micro, small and medium enterprises and have resulted in the loss of tens of thousands of jobs, Singh said.
When we turn to the impact of the BJP government’s economic policies on the common man, another place to look is the petroleum sector, he said. Petrol and diesel prices are at a historic high. This is in spite of lower international crude oil prices because the Modi Government chooses to levy excessive excise taxes. Instead of passing on the benefits to the people, the Modi government has punished the people, Singh said.
Singh also expressed displeasure over the Modi government's alleged failure to address farmers' distress and the way the economy is being managed. "Modi's promise to double farmers' income by 2022 is wishful thinking," he said, but in the absence of any concrete action to deliver on the promise.
He accused the Modi government of trying to present a rosy picture about the economy, while the reality is contrary to that. "About two crore jobs have been destroyed in the last four years due to mismanagement of economy by the Modi government. If we do not fix the economy we will turn demographic dividend of the country into demographic disaster," Singh said.
‘People’s trust in banking sector getting eroded’
Referring to the multi-crore loan default scam that involved jeweller Nirav Modi, he held the Centre responsible for turning a blind eye to it. Singh attacked the government over a series of banking sector frauds, saying the money swindled almost quadrupled from `28,416 crore in September 2013 to `1.11 lakh crore in September 2017. "Perpetrators of these frauds meanwhile escape with impunity. The economic mismanagement of the Modi government, and I say this with great care and responsibility, is slowly eroding the trust of the general public in the banking sector," Singh said.