Wednesday, Sep 17, 2014

Rahul on front bench, Cong on front foot

Express News Service | New Delhi | Posted: July 11, 2014 1:30 am

Shedding his reluctance, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi Thursday sat on the front row of the opposition benches in Lok Sabha to listen to the NDA government’s maiden Budget and then tore into the government, accusing it of “usurping” UPA’s ideas and saying that the budget’s overall content would “slow down” the economic pulse.

His party, too, called the budget “uninspiring and insipid” and said it failed to live up to expectations. Rahul said there is “no clear road map in the Budget. It is a laundry list of Rs 100 crore proposals”. He was alluding to the token Rs 100 crore allocations in the Budget for several new initiatives. “This Budget doesn’t quicken the economic pulse; in fact it slows it down,” he added.

Congress president Sonia Gandhi alleged the BJP government had “copied UPA policies”. “Just like the Railway Budget, there are no specifics in this Budget… there are no road maps,” former PM Manmohan Singh said.

The Congress alleged the Budget was a “repackage” of UPA schemes and the allocations were meager. “Welcome to the real world. The BJP sought a mandate for Congress Mukt Bharat. My friend, Arun Jaitley, would have now realised that it is not possible to have even a Congress Mukt Budget,” former finance minister P Chidambaram said.

Leader of the Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad said, “Lot was being thought would come out of this Budget. But unfortunately nothing new has come. This Budget is a total repackaging of the old schemes which were conceived during the UPA… There is no direction to contain price rise. Large number of new schemes have been announced, but with meager allocation of money.”

Former commerce minister Anand Sharma called the Budget “uninspiring and insipid”. He said that while Narendra Modi had promised the creation of 100 smart cities, Jaitley made a meager allocation of Rs 7,060 crore, which would be inadequate to create even a single city.

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