A BJP minister in Madhya Pradesh on Saturday said the problem of inflation does not arise “in a day or two”, and the economy began to go downhill due to the “mistakes” of Jawaharlal Nehru’s speech from the ramparts of the Red Fort on August 15, 1947.
Inflation would have been under control had the first prime minister of the country and his party left the economy in good shape, Minister for Medical Education Vishvas Sarang said.
Speaking to reporters in Bhopal about a planned protest by the Congress over rising prices and other issues, Sarang said that “if the credit for increasing inflation by crippling the economy after the country’s independence goes to anyone, it is the Nehru family”.
“Inflation does not rise in a day or two. The foundation of the economy is not laid in a day or two. The country’s economy has deteriorated due to the mistakes of the speech that Jawaharlal Nehru delivered from the ramparts of the Red Fort on August 15, 1947,” the BJP leader said.
The Narendra Modi government, on the other hand, has strengthened the economy in the past seven years, he said.
The inflation is down and people’s incomes have increased during the BJP rule, the minister claimed.
Congress workers should rather protest in front of “10 Janpath” (party president Sonia Gandhi’s residence), he quipped.
Later, speaking to PTI, Sarang said the country’s economy was primarily based on agriculture, but Nehru neglected it. “Seventy per cent of our population is dependent on agriculture, but he did not care about this sector. The village economy was sustainable and self-reliant. He put his western mindset in this and ended the village economy,” he said.
The wrong policies of Nehru were responsible for the present situation, Sarang added.
Industrialization was fine, but it should have been based on agriculture, he said.
“Our situation would have been different had the industrialization been based on agriculture,” the minister said.
The problems such as the Kashmir dispute and internal security and cross-border issues which date back to Nehru’s times still persist and this crippled our economy, Sarang said.
He also claimed that a river-linking project had been proposed by Nehru’s cabinet.
“The implementation of the river interlinking project then would have brightened the country’s future permanently…the country, which is dependent on agriculture, would have become fully irrigated,” he added.
“Inflation would have been under control, had the Congress and Nehru left the economy in good shape and industrialization been based on agriculture,” the BJP leader said.
Congress leaders in the state, meanwhile, ridiculed Sarang’s comments.
MP Congress spokesperson K K Mishra said, “Vishwas Sarang, an eligible minister of Shivraj’s (Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan) circus, is blaming the country’s inflation on Nehru’s speech in 1947, when he was not even born. As a departmental (health) minister, can you state if Nehru was also responsible for the thousands of deaths due to lack of beds, oxygen and Remdesivir during the coronavirus pandemic.”
Narendra Saluja, another Congress spokesperson, said the BJP ministry in MP was full of weird people. “A minister starts climbing up an electricity poll to repair it, another talks about how many children a couple should have, yet another says that money should be charged for a selfie. Now, a minister is holding a speech delivered 75 years ago responsible for inflation. Why did the BJP then promise relief from inflation in its poll campaign,” he asked.