At party meet,PM sets the record straighthttps://indianexpress.com/article/news-archive/web/at-party-meet-pm-sets-the-record-straight/

At party meet,PM sets the record straight

Downplays inflation as cause of defeat in recent Assembly polls,says need to take achievements to people.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Wednesday said while consumers would naturally want food prices to be low,those who produce foodgrain want higher prices. He was speaking at the Congress Parliamentary Party (CPP) meeting here. His remark was aimed at countering the opinion in certain sections of his party that the recent drubbing in the Assembly polls was mainly due to the spike in prices that his government failed to control. He said the government’s record in the nine-and-a-half years “needed to be projected more effectively to the people”.

In his maiden address to the CPP,the Prime Minister said,“Issues are complex and it is much easier to blame the government than to understand them. The worry about inflation is legitimate but we should recognise that incomes for most people have increased faster than inflation. That is why real per capita consumption and real wages have increased. It is important to reflect on why we get less credit for our achievements than perhaps they deserve.”

Congress president Sonia Gandhi had cited price rise as one of the factors for the party’s defeat in the Assembly elections. Many state Congress leaders had also blamed the “failures” of the Central government in terms of inflation and corruption.

In an apparent reference to BJP prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi and AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal,Singh said,“Unlike some other political parties,our work programme for the future must not be based only on promises which lie outside the realm of possibility,nor should we simply talk of firm leadership and decisiveness without talking of what the leadership will be used for and what decisions will be taken.”

Singh conceded that clearances had slowed down,affecting large infrastructure projects. “Part of the reason for the slowing down is that the bureaucracy is hesitant to take decisions because decisions have been questioned by the CAG and the CVC in an environment where everything is politicised,” he said.

On corruption,he said while the government was often criticised for not doing enough,it had done “more than any earlier government for bringing in transparency and accountability in the work of public authorities”.

Emphasising that while the Assembly elections had been “deeply disappointing” for the Congress,Singh said “they are not necessarily an indication of what will happen in general elections.”

In her address,Sonia said the party was looking into the causes of defeat which included the inability of the party to “convince people of its policies,programmes and achievements”.

“We have not,it seems,been able to fulfil their aspirations,” she said. The Congress president conceded that lack of discipline and unity were among the reasons for the party’s debacle in the Assembly polls. She,however,urged the party “to not lose heart” and pointed out that the Congress had “won and lost many elections”.

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She also took a dig at the BJP for advocating policies of “divisiveness” and “sectarian interests”.