Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. (PTI file photo)
New Delhi: Three days before polling is scheduled for Punjab Assembly elections, former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh launched a stinging attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his government, saying that despite being in power for seven and a half years, the BJP is still blaming the country's first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, for people's problems.
In a recorded video message that was played at the party’s press conference in Punjab, he said, "On one hand, people are facing problems of inflation and unemployment, on the other, the present government, in power for the last seven and a half years, rather than admitting its mistakes and rectifying them, is still blaming first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru for people's problems."
He also referred to the security lapse of Mr Modi’s convoy being stuck on a flyover in Ferozepur last month, saying, "A few days ago, in the name of the Prime Minister’s security, an attempt was made to defame chief minister Charanjit Singh Channi and the people of the state. During the farmers’ agitation too, an attempt was made to defame Punjab and Punjabiyat. The world salutes the bravery, patriotism and sacrifice of Punjabis, but the NDA government did not talk about any of these. As a true Indian hailing from Punjab, all these things deeply hurt me."
As Dr Singh hit out at the BJP, he raised a range of issues, including foreign policy, the economy, and how as PM he had let his work speak for itself "rather than speaking myself".
"The government does not understand economics. Because of their wrong economic policies, unemployment is at its peak, farmers and entrepreneurs, women and students are all facing problems. The annadata (farmers) are finding it difficult to make ends meet. The rich are becoming richer and the poor poorer. But the government is fudging data to show that all is well,"
He also hit out at the Centre’s foreign policy, saying, "The Chinese have been infiltrating our land for the past one year, but this is being covered up. Old allies are drifting away from us."
Without naming Mr Modi, he said, "I hope leaders of the ruling party have understood by now that relations do not improve by hugging politicians or turning up to eat biryani without invitation."
Reflecting on his tenure, Dr Singh said, "I never let the country lose prestige before the world. I never undermined India’s pride. I am satisfied that I was called ‘Maun Mohan’, and false allegation of corruption was levelled against the government but the nation remembers my good work and the BJP has been exposed."
Comparing the actions of the Centre as divisive as those of the British, Dr Singh said, "We never divided the country for vested political gain. We never tried to hide the truth. We never undermined the esteem of the country or PM's position. People today are being divided. This government's fake nationalism is hollow and dangerous. Their nationalism is based on the British policy of divide and rule. Constitutional institutions are being weakened."
The former Prime Minister, while appealing to the electorate in the state to vote for Congress, asserted that despite ‘false propaganda’ the good work of his regime is still remembered.