With Prime Minister Narendra Modi set to complete nine years in power on May 30, the Congress party Friday raised nine questions for the PM on this occasion. “We want the prime minister to break his silence on these questions,” Congress General Secretary in-charge of communications Jairam Ramesh said at a press conference at the party headquarters in Delhi.
The Congress released a document titled “9 saal 9 sawaal” (9 years 9 questions) at the briefing, listing the queries of the party — ranging from economy and corruption to Covid-19 and social justice. “The prime minister must respond to these nine questions before the BJP begins to celebrate,” the Congress said.
The BJP, however, countered this criticism, calling the questions a “bundle of lies and mountain of deception”. Former Union minister and BJP leader Ravi Shankar Prasad led the party’s rebuttal to the points posed by the Congress party and said that the Indian economy has risen from the “fragile five” position to become the fifth largest in the world.
Here are the questions that the chief Opposition party has put forth:
1, The Economy: Why is it that inflation and unemployment are skyrocketing in India? Why have the rich become richer and the poor poorer? Why is public property being sold to PM Modis friends, even as economic disparities are increasing?
2. Agriculture and farmers: Why is it that the agreements made with farmers while repealing the three black farm laws have not been honoured? Why has MSP not been legally guaranteed? Why didn’t farmers’ income double over the last 9 years?
3. Corruption and cronyism: Why are you putting people’s hard-earned savings in LIC and SBI at risk to benefit your friend Adani? Why are you letting thieves escape? Why are you silent on rampant corruption in BIP-ruled states, and why are you letting Indians suffer?
4. China and national security: Why is it that even after your clean chit to China in 2020, they continue to occupy Indian territory? 18 meetings have been held with China, yet why do they refuse to yield Indian territory and instead continue with their aggressive tactics?
5. Social harmony: Why are you deliberately using the politics of hatred for electoral gains and fueling an atmosphere of fear in society?
6. Social justice: Why is it that your oppressive government is methodically destroying the foundations of social justice? Why are you silent on the atrocities against women, Dalits, SC, ST, OBCs and minorities? Why are you ignoring the demand for a caste census?
7. Democracy and federalism: Why have you weakened our Constitutional values and democratic institutions in the last nine years? Why are you practicing the politics of revenge against Opposition parties and leaders? And why are you using blatant ‘money power to destabilise governments elected by the people?
8. Welfare schemes: Why is it that schemes for the welfare of the poor, needy and tribals are being weakened by cutting their budgets and making restrictive rules?
9. COVID-19 mismanagement: Why is it that despite the tragic deaths of over 40 lakh people due to COVID-19, the Modi government has refused to compensate their families? Why did you suddenly impose a lockdown which forced lakhs of workers to return home, and not provide any support?
The BJP has now been in power for nine years. The authoritarian regime has completely failed on every front.
The Prime Minister must respond to these nine questions before the BJP begins to celebrate.#9saal9sawal #NaakamiKe9Saal pic.twitter.com/vVQKoonnvB
— Congress (@INCIndia) May 26, 2023
“Rahul Gandhi ji had raised these 9 questions continuously during and after Bharat Jodo Yatra, but till date no answer has been received… It is time for the prime minister to break his silence,” Ramesh said.
“The prime minister should celebrate apology day today… He should apologise to all Indians… All his promises were fictitious,” Congress leader Pawan Khera said at the press conference.
BJP’s rebuttal to Congress’s charges
Countering the charges on national security, Prasad said India’s land was grabbed by the Chinese when the Congress was in power while the country showed its mettle in eastern Ladakh during clashes with the army of the neighbouring country.
Prasad also attacked Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh, accusing him of lowering the discourse with his choice of language in attacking Modi.
Shri @rsprasad addresses a press conference at party headquarters in New Delhi. https://t.co/e6QyzGIpPZ
— BJP (@BJP4India) May 26, 2023
“They should rise above their hatred for Modi. The Congress was badly defeated the last two times and will suffer a similar fate in 2024,” he said.
The BJP leader also described the Congress’s charge of “Covid mismanagement” against the government as the “height of shamelessness”. Oxygen express trains were run, health infrastructure augmented and the entire country was administered vaccines, he said, adding derisively that Congress leaders too were inoculated.
Coming to questions raised regarding the economy, Prasad said that the size of India’s economy was $1 trillion in 2014 when the BJP government was sworn in and it is now nearly $3.5 trillion, adding that the country’s forex reserve is over Rs 50 lakh crore (Indian valuation) while export has almost doubled to Rs 36 lakh crore.
Countering the Congress’s criticism of the government on the issue of price rise, the BJP leader said retail inflation is now at 4.7 per cent while whole inflation was in the negative. He also noted that inflation in the US was 8.9 per cent, in France 17.5 per cent and in Germany 23.5 per cent.
Mocking the Congress, he said it was shocking for the Opposition party to ask questions on corruption as the UPA’s 10 years in power between 2004-14 was marked by graft in every sector covering land, air and water. “The opposition party is marked by four Cs of cut, commission, corruption and the Congress,” Prasad said.