The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leadership has clarified that it was ready to support all “reasonable” decisions taken by the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government that would be in the best interest of people, even though Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s government had not asked for any support from the Opposition party.
However, the difficulties faced by the economy were a product of the policies of a Prime Minister who was an “overrated economist” and an “underrated politician”, former finance minister and BJP leader Yashwant Sinha said.
Senior BJP leaders say the PM, in a recent interview, had acknowledged that there was no consensus within the government on several policy issues, and pending legislations in pension, insurance and banking were not bottlenecks.
They also elaborated that of the nine Bills cleared by the standing committee on finance, none of them had been cleared by the Union government. BJP leaders claim to have categorically told then finance minister Pranab Mukherjee that it was ready to support the Pension Bill in Parliament.
“BJP is blamed for not supporting the government on important legislations, but the Prime Minister has confirmed there was a lack of political consensus within the government. The Bill was pending because of the reservations raised the Trinamool Congress. It was included in the Cabinet agenda, but had to be dropped because of the differences within the government,” added Sinha.
He also alleged that the PM was directly blaming Pranab Mukherjee and was trying to distance himself from the decisions taken by Mukherjee.
“The Prime Minister has said he would control fiscal deficit, achieve clarity on tax matters, revive mutual funds and insurance industries, clear backlog of foreign investment proposals and boost infrastructure. We want to know which political party was stopping him from doing that in the past? Is the Prime Minister trying to suggest that Pranab Mukherjee was so independent that he didn’t consult him before taking decisions?”asked Sinha.
He said he didn’t believe that PM would be able to transform the economy, because the UPA had taken successive faulty decisions and all of it cannot be corrected.
“The problem with Manmohan Singh has been that he has always acted as a consultant to the government, saying what should be done, what need not be done. He has been the PM for eight years, before that he was finance minister for five years, and, clearly he had all the opportunities in the world to implement what he believes in,” said Sinha.
Referring to the interview in which Manmohan Singh refuted charges of corruption against his government saying “I do not think there has been any explosion in corruption under my watch”, Sinha said this claim was “laughable”.
“These are the most laughable of all comments made so far. He has defended his corrupt ministers to the hilt, it’s only when the Supreme Court used its stick that they gave up. Why is he protecting (Home Minister) P Chidambaram? He protected (former telecom minister) A Raja earlier,” Sinha added.
Sinha said the PM was a “full partner in what Chidambaram and Mukherjee did”. It is not fair for him to distance himself now and put the blame on them. He is directly blaming Pranab Mukherjee. He is laying all the blame on his door.”
“If you look at the steps that he blamed him for: clarity on tax matters, mutual interest, clear investments in infrastructure in pipelines,” he added.