New Delhi: Dubbing BJP's national executive meet in Bengaluru as “high drama sans any substance”, Congress today accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah of being “anti-farmer” even as it shot off 10 questions on pressing issues like the Land bill to the ruling dispensation.
“For all theatrics this government is nothing but a capitalist friendly and anti-farmer. Congress is surprised that a government, a party and its leadership is such expert at theatrics and verbal marketing.
“It is continuously misleading, rather than clearly articulating its stance on burning issues...During the last couple of days we have witnessed, what is now familiar, high drama sans any substance, on part of the Prime Minister, Amit Shah and the BJP,” AICC communication department in-charge Randeep Singh Surjewala said in a statment here.
Targeting Modi for “having refused to come out of the election campaign mode”, he said that the Prime Minister has again resorted to “rhetorical promises devoid of any concrete action plan” to fulfil them.
“At his party's national executive Modi rather than answering the concrete questions that stare him and the nation in its face, chose to gloss over his government's embarrassing U-turns on various issues by again making high sounding but dodgy pronouncements like ‘Antodaya Hamara Sankalp', ‘Panchamrit', ‘Chaturangi Kranti', ‘Digital India', ‘Skill Development' and ‘Make in India'.
“The PM and the BJP would have done well, to outline in their resolutions at the national executive, as to what plan of action do they have to achieve ‘Antodaya'? Does Antodaya entail grabbing land from poor hapless and marginal farmers without their consent and give it away to Industrialist friends who funded his campaign?,” Surjewala said.
Some of the questions that the Congress posed centred around the land acquistioin issue giving a clear indication that the party is not going to bring down the decibel of its protest on the issue.
“Why is the Government steamrolling the anti-farmer Land bill? Will the Government agree upon retaining the ‘SIA' and Consent clauses of the 2013 Land Act- provisions that form the soul of the Act? Why isn't the Government coming out with a “Land Use Policy” and a “Land Management Authority” to deal with the issue of Land Acquisition, as promised in their manifesto?
What is the hurry? Is it the pressure from some lobby with vested interest? When, if ever, will the Government implement its declared promise of fixing Minimum Support Prices that are 50 percent more than the cost of a farmer's input? Will the compensation paid to farmers who've suffered crop damage due to rain and hail remain Rs 200/acre or will it be enhanced? When will the Government implement the Swaminathan Commission report?,” the party asked.
In the backdrop of Congress President Sonia Gandhi's whirlwind tour to BJP-rules states to highlight the plight of farmers, Surjewala asked “in the light of unseasonal rains and hailstorm that have resulted in high moisture and grain breakage, will Government/FCI review its decision of not procuring rabi crop in excess of 12 to 14 moisture content and four to six percent grain damage?
Seeking to embarrass the government on its promises on bringing back black money and dealing with incursions from China and Pakistan, Surjewala asked “when will the people of India get their promised Rs 15 lakh of the black money stashed abroad?”
“When will the PM ensure that ceasefire violations from Pakistan and China stop and across border firing stops? When will the PM speak to hostile countries with “Red Eyes” and set them right?
He asked does Antodaya mean cutting government spending in social sector schemes that aim to benefit the last person on the margin of the society.
“Isn't it diabolical that while the government cuts allocation of schemes that address the last person at the last corner, the BJP resolves that Antodaya is its ‘Sankalp' (resolve)? Be it Anganwadi scheme, MNREGA, AIDS control, education, health, agriculture or food security, this government has slashed funds by upto 50 per cent- is this Antodaya?
“For rain and hail devastated farmers, this Government gives compensation at the rate of Rs 200 per acre. Is this Antodaya? The Chairman of NITI Ayaog says that compensation can be provided out of the funds earmarked to the National Disaster Management and State Disaster Management Authorities- is this how Antodaya will be achieved?,” the Congress spokesperson asked.
Surjewala asked will gifting of loans by Public Sector Banks to Corporates for buying coal mines in Australia help achieve Antodaya?
Targetting BJP ministers, the Congress spokesperson said,”the anti poor-anti aam aadmi mindset of this government and Modi are only amplified when his minister Nirmala Sitharaman blatantly says that thermal and nuclear power plants cant wait for social impact assessment and consent.
“Finance Minister Arun Jaitley brazens it out when he says that the UPA 2013 Land Bill was anti farmer- this despite the fact that he and his party supported the bill unanimously in 2013 and becomes all the more untenable when one were to take into consideration the fact that the 2013 Act has not even been implemented till now.”
Calling the new land bill “draconian”, the Congress spokesperson rued that Jaitley repeatedly invoked “rural housing” to support the bill.
“One is left to wonder how did the previous governments manage to construct crore of houses in rural areas under the Indira Awas Yojana? Can rural housing be an alibi to amending a farmer friendly act?,” he asked.
Surjewala also accused the BJP of “shameless plagiarism” alleging that its foreign policy resolution renamed Panchsheel to Panchamrit and questioned the Prime Minister's claims about strong image of the country vis a vis “escalated ceasefire violations by Pakistan and China”.