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Tuesday, August 04, 2020

Manish Tewari takes on UPA critics: Those who can’t see big changes need re-education

Talking to The Indian Express, Manish Tewari claimed that the UPA was a victim of “internal sabotage” and “vicious campaign of calumny and innuendo” from outside.

Written by Manoj C G | New Delhi | Published: August 1, 2020 1:43:39 am
senior Congress leader Manish Tewari. (File Photo)

In its 10 years at the helm, the Congress-led UPA had ushered in “transformative changes”, and those who cannot see the good work it had done between 2004 and 2014 should “re-educate themselves,” Congress leader and former I&B minister Manish Tewari said on Friday.

Tewari’s remarks come a day after Rajeev Satav, a young Rajya Sabha MP considered close to Rahul Gandhi, triggered a row by suggesting that introspection in the party, if need be, should begin from the UPA-2 period.

Talking to The Indian Express, Tewari claimed that the UPA was a victim of “internal sabotage” and “vicious campaign of calumny and innuendo” from outside.

A meeting of party Rajya Sabha MPs, convened on Thursday by Congress president Sonia Gandhi and attended by former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, has once again revealed the growing strain within the party between veterans and young leaders, many of the latter group close to Rahul Gandhi. At the meeting, former Union minister Kapil Sibal’s suggestion for an introspection was countered by Satav, who argued that introspection should begin from the UPA-2 period to analyse how the Congress fell to 44 Lok Sabha seats in 2014.

Tewari on Friday said, “The UPA brought in the Right To Information Act, MGNREGA, midday meal scheme, free and compulsory education to children under RTE, and the Food Security Act, which created the most transformative social security architecture.” Even Finance Minister Nirmala Sitaraman, he said, admitted in her last Budget speech that 271 million people were lifted out of poverty between 2006 and 2016, eight of which were UPA years.

“The UPA was also a victim of both internal sabotage — (former Comptroller and Auditor General of India) Vinod Rai being the classical example — and of a vicious campaign of calumny and innuendo. However, none of the charges levelled have stood the test of the law even six years down the line,” he said. “If somebody cannot see the good work the UPA had done, then possibly he or she needs to re-educate themselves.”

Tewari also tweeted on Friday, “Was UPA responsible for the decline in fortunes of the Congress in 2014 is a valid question – must be gone into? Equally valid is was UPA sabotaged from within? 2019 defeat must also be analysed….”

Satav’s remarks have reopened a debate in the party on reasons for its electoral downfall.

During an interaction with IIM alumni in Singapore in 2018, Rahul Gandhi had admitted that an “internal” and “generational fight” and collision between the “older vision” and a “newer vision”, along with issues of corruption, had contributed to Congress’s defeat in 2014.

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