On a day the global credit rating agency Moody’s upgraded India’s sovereign rating to Baa2 from Baa3 with a stable outlook, former prime minister Manmohan Singh lashed out at the Narendra Modi-led government for imposing hardships on people with the hasty introduction of GST and the ‘historic blunder’ of demonetisation.
Speaking at the UDF’s ‘Padayorukkam’ (battle-cry) rally in Kochi, Singh said, “At least 100 people died standing in queues outside the banks. The withdrawal of 86 per cent of currency imposed severe hardships on India’s farmers and small industries and traders. Demonetisation turned out to be a historic blunder.”
‘Padayorukkam’ is a yatra being taken out by Leader of Opposition Ramesh Chennithala from Kasarakode to Thiruvananthapuram against the policies of the LDF government at the state and the BJP government at the Centre.
On GST, the former prime minister said, “The BJP government imposed fresh hardships on the people of India by hastily introducing GST, soon after demonetisation. GST is an idea which had the blessings of the Congress party but we would have implemented it after due care and adequate preparation. Our aim was one country, one tax structure. What is the net impact of demonetisation and hasty implementation of GST?”
Singh, in his speech, also warned that attempts are being made to ‘hurt the secular and democratic fabric of our country. “The Congress will fight resolutely these divisive forces,” he added.
The former prime minister did not forget to mention a list of projects that the city of Kochi got during his administration between 2004 and 2014. The LNG Terminal, the Kochi Metro and the Vallarpadam terminal all got due mention.
Towards the end of his address, Singh said that even though one year is a ‘short period to comment on the performance’ of the state government, he understood that rule of law has crumbled and women do not feel safe anymore in the state.
He asked the CPM and the Left parties whether they intend to keep the BJP and the Congress at the same distance at the national level.
“If they are sincere in the fight against BJP and its anti-people policies, they have to cooperate with the leadership of Congress at the national level and fight together against the BJP’s misrule and divisive policies,” he said.
The rally was attended by all senior leaders of the Congress party including state president MM Hassan, LoP Chennithala, former CM Oommen Chandy and former state president K Muraleedharan. Leaders of UDF allies like PK Kunjalikutty of IUML and NK Premachandran of the RSP also took part in the rally.
In his address, Chennithala hit out at the LDF government for the series of resignations of its ministers. “This is the beginning of a war. People’s emotions against the LDF government are visible. The foundations of this government has started to shake.
The ‘Padayorukkam’ yatra will culminate in Thiruvananthapuram on December 1 in the presence of party vice-president Rahul Gandhi.