The Congress on Friday accused the BJP-led NDA government of working against the interests of the farmers and the poor and slammed it for its Smart City project dubbing it as a “failure”. The party said that under the Smart City project majority of the funds were being spent in “certain VIP pockets” and not the slums and other such areas inhabited by the poor. Talking to reporters in New Delhi, AICC spokesperson Ajay Maken also took on the Centre over the farmers issue and said those protesting for their rights and remunerative prices of their produce are fired upon and killed under the BJP. He likened the present situation to the farmers’ agitation of 1917 in Bihar’s Champaran.
“The government is facing farmers’ protest on one side and is grappling with failed policy implementation for the poor on the other side. The farmers are protesting and in cities the poor are being ignored. “This government is not sensitive towards the farmers and neither the poor. Their policies towards the poor are biased and opaque,” he told reporters. He alleged that contrary to what was promised in 2014, the government was now pursuing anti-poor policies as there was no allocation of funds for projects for weaker section. Maken said as many as 59 cities were selected by the government to be developed as ‘Smart Cities’ and Delhi being one of them, where funds have been earmarked only for select areas.
“In 59 cities, Rs 1.31 lakh crore have been sanctioned for Delhi’s development, of which Rs 1.02 lakh crore have been earmarked for select VIP areas. But only 2.7 per cent of the budget is utilised for the purpose for the poor so far,” he claimed, adding this showed the Centre’s apathy towards the poor. Accusing the government of bias against the poor, he said only the rich were being catered to as certain posh areas under the New Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC) where all VIPs, including the prime minister and Union minister Venkaiah Naidu, reside have been selected for development under ‘Smart city’ project.
“There is no transparency in execution of projects and the whole process is opaque,” he alleged, pointing out that the empanelment of service providers for training of professionals was being done two years after the project was launched. On the farmers’ issue, the Congress leader compared the situation to the peasants’ agitation in Champaran in Bihar in 1917 against the British and said the “same is happening today”. He also dubbed the AAP and the BJP as two sides of a coin and said both worked to defeat the Congress and complimented each other as has come out in Goa and Punjab.’