Congress on Friday sarcastically dubbed Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s 10-point agenda as “Ten Commandments” saying it was just an “extraordinary jumble” and has nothing to write home about the BJP government’s vision.
“We have been waiting for a vision from the BJP government, we have instead been rewarded with diversion of the Ten Commandments… this 10-point agenda. I have been taken aback by the extraordinary jumble they have inflicted upon the nation”, party spokesman Shashi Tharoor told reporters.
Dealing in detail with each of the point in the agenda, he wondered as to what purpose the document would serve.
“There are values, vision, approaches, …utter confusion as to what the purpose of the document is. Are these instructions… Do they constitute an agenda? Do they represent a manifesto, are they techniques of getting things done, nothing is clear.. It’s all of the above and none of the above,” Tharoor remarked.
The Congress spokesman more than suggested that on all the points propounded by Modi, the Congress governments in the past have not only built foundation but have done solid work.
On the Prime Minister’s insistence on building up confidence in the bureaucracy and giving it the freedom to work, Tharoor recalled “since the days of Sardar Patel, which is often sighted by this government,there has been a very clear understanding that the best safeguard in our country to provide confidence to the bureaucracy is security of tenure and financial independence.”
He said on the issue of autonomy in authority of bureaucrats such as the Durga Shakti Nagpal case, everyone saw the Congress president intervening immediately. “So we welcome the fact that the BJP has also decided to endorse the congress party’s approach on bureaucracy.”
Tharoor said there was a point saying education, health water, energy and road will be a priority. “But who said they are not priority. They have been priority since 1947.”
On the point of transparency in government, Tharoor took a dig at BJP saying Congress had sought in vain the cooperation of BJP in passing the anti-corruption legislation, the public procurement bill and the implementation of the whistle blower bill.
“Let BJP act on these…both the recently passed and pending legislations. They will have our cooperation if they want to pass any of the bills we put in the 15th Lok Sabha but their disruption would not allow us to pass,” he said.
He said the party welcomed the idea of e-auction. “Again it would have been wonderful if e-auction had been used before tendering land in Gujarat to certain favoured industrialists,” he said in an apparent jibe at Modi.
Then there is a point in inter-ministerial coordination. What has this got to do in a national vision document. There are already institutions like cabinet secretariat… others are already doing it. This is not something as part of a big vision agenda in the first few days of a new prime minister and a new government,” he remarked.
Making light of the point on ‘addressing concerns related to the economy’, he wondered, “What does that mean. I cannot imagine a vaguer statement from a government. Has not every government addressed concerns related to the economy?”
On infrastructure and investment reform, he took potshots at BJP which he said was “best known” during UPA II for opposing FDI in retail, an area in which there were very many investors anxious to come in and invest.
“Number nine point of the Prime Minister’s agenda is equally vague. Implementation of policies in a time-bound manner. Obviously all policies have to be implemented in a time bound manner. And we will give them the time frame — 5 years. They are not coming back after that. The electorate will ensure that it is time bound,” he added.