PM Modi’s autocratic style of work itself will prove detrimental: Maharashtra ex-CM Prithviraj Chavan

In an interview to The Indian Express, Chavan talked about the Narendra Modi government and Congress politics. Chavan said the 2019 Lok Sabha elections would be fought under the leadership of Congress chief Rahul Gandhi.

Written by Shubhangi Khapre | Mumbai | Updated: July 15, 2018 3:16:11 am
PM Modi's popularity is confined to urban areas: Former Mahaashtra CM Prithviraj Chavan Former Maharashtra chief minister Prithviraj Chavan. (Express Photo by Prashant Nadkar/File)

The former Maharashtra chief minister and union minister in Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) Prithviraj Chavan says the Modi-Shah dictatorship will lead to new permutations and combinations with secular forces rallying around Congress in 2019 elections.

What will be Sonia Gandhi’s role in 2019 elections?

Soniaji has recently stated that she was not going to retire from politics. As the chairperson of the Congress Parliamentary Party she would continue to guide the organisation. Soniaji, will play a significant role in getting the like-minded secular alliance to form the government if the situation arises where BJP does not get an absolute mandate in 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

Will Congress declare AICC president Rahul Gandhi as the prime ministerial candidate in 2019 polls?

The 2019 Lok Sabha elections will be fought under the leadership of Rahulji. In the past also Congress did not declare its prime minister candidate. The decision of prime minister candidate can be post poll results with adequate consultations with the alliance partners. As chairman of UPA Sonia Gandhi has always enjoyed an excellent rapport with regional parties across the country. She can play important role in getting the consensus on the PM candidate.

What will be Dr Manmohan Singh’s role?

As the senior Congress leader and former prime minister he would surely campaign for the organisation and help the party.

What will be Congress central strategy in coming polls?

After Rahulji took over the charge as AICC president, there has been major reshuffle. The youths are being given important role and greater representation. The strategy would be to expose the fascist face of BJP which is lead by prime minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah. The Congress would effectively campaign on the threat to democracy under the Modi-Shah dictatorial leadership. It will talk of giving freedom to people from the Modi-Shah’s fascist agenda in the country.

Can Rahul Gandhi’s leadership deliver the results?

After taking charge as AICC president, a landmark decision was taken relating to the development in Karnataka where Congress initiated the process to bring anti-BJP forces together to form the government and made Janata Dal (S) leader Kumaraswamy chief minister. This has sent a positive message across and will help Congress to cobble forces together to isolate BJP. The by-polls in Uttar Pradesh also marked the beginning of SP-BSP-Congress working to trounce the BJP. In the state elections in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhatisgarh the BJP will see a major setback. Gradually, Mahagatbandhan (grand alliance) will lead to BJP’s debacle in the Hindi Heartland.

How will Congress counter Modi’s leadership?

Modi’s autocratic style of work itself will prove detrimental. For the first time the country has landed in a situation where nobody knows who is the real finance minister? While PMO website shows Piyush Goyal as the FM. Whereas, finance ministry website shows Arun Jaitley as the FM. As a result, the finance ministry is confused and headless. It is evident that PM prefers Goyal over Jaitley. Thus, leading to internal power tussle within the department. Take the case of imposition of governor’s rule in Jammu and Kashmir where the elected government was brought down by BJP. Now, home minister Rajnath Singh was clueless and not even confided. The PM took the decision along with security council advisor. The way minister for external affairs Sushma Swaraj was trolled by her own party is a comment on the way things are within the BJP and Centre. There is a sense that second tenure to Modi-Shah would amount to undermining Constitutional democracy and promoting absolute dictatorship.

What about the economic reforms for public welfare by Centre?

The GDP should have been ten per cent. But it is moving at the rate of seven per cent. It shows economic policies are not working. The demonetisation was completely botched up. The Goods and Services Tax (GST) was done in haste. The government tried to fix problems initiating bankruptcy code bill which was good. But it is silent on the direct tax code bill and it is too late now. As a result, the banking crisis has increased. The economic offenders with huge scandals go unnoticed and allowed to escape. There is no move on black money.

What about agriculture sector?

The agriculture policies are consumer driven which goes against the farm producers. If we look at the European countries the farm subsidies given is upto 94 per cent. Whereas, in WTO parlance the aggregate in farm subsidies in India works to minus 6 per cent. Now, this has been well documented. The agriculture growth in four years is 1.9 per cent. Whereas, an average during both UPA one and two was 3.7 per cent. During UPA Rs 72,000 crore debt of farmers was wiped out. The wrong policies of Modi government has lead to sugar prices crashing from Rs 3,400 per quintal to Rs 2,400. There are shortcomings in import and export policy.

Even after four years Modi is considered the best bet for BJP?

Modi’s popularity is confined to urban areas. In rural areas there is huge unrest against Modi and BJP government. Therefore, we see BJP adopting gimmics like Bhagwat Gita, Cow Vigilantes, Ramayan Express. They will start building Ram temple. These are outcome of uncertainty, fear and lack of confidence.

Will Congress-NCP have any covert understanding with Shiv Sena in Maharashtra?

The Congress-NCP alliance is inevitable. The BJP will use all tactics and pressures to ensure Shiv Sena does not go away from them in Lok Sabha polls. Yet, if Sena and BJP part ways, Congress-NCP together can defeat BJP.

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