The Congress on Wednesday accused the central government of trying to "surreptitiously sell" BPCL without parliamentary approval and said it also does not make any economic sense.
Addressing a press conference here, Congress spokesperson Pawan Khera also accused the government of failing to manage the economy and said that instead of addressing economic slowdown, it is trying its best to ensure that there is no discussion on it.
He said navratnas and the maharatna PSUs have reached their present status of profit due decades of hard work by all governments and by the employees of these companies.
"BPCL (Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd (BPCL) is a living example. It is a profit-making company. They have four refineries, they have 14,800 petrol pumps, they have 123 petrol depots, they have 52 LPG plants, 5,607 LPG distributors, 56 aviation service centres, and you want to sell it for Rs. 68,000 crore," Khera said.
Comparing it to the sale of Essar Oil, he said it had one refinery, one port and 3,000 petrol pumps and was sold for Rs. 78,000 crore.
"Why this step-motherly treatment towards your own Maharatna company. We want to understand. Why don't you see the faces of the lakhs and lakhs of employees who are agitated, who are worried about their future? This is one company which has registered 16 per cent high in its profits in March 2019," Khera said.
He said the party has a strong objection to selling companies like BPCL.
Khera said the government had repealed some Acts of Parliament relating to the nationalisation of BPCL.
"Earlier it was Burmah Shell Company. In 1976, it was nationalised through an Act. In April 2016 and again this year, you repealed several laws saying that these are archaic laws and they are not required any more.
So, this is, in a way, a very surreptitious way to bring BPCL and other such PSUs out from the scrutiny of parliament and selling them. You do not want any parliament oversight on your action. Why?" he asked.
Khera accused the government of trying to weaken The Container Corporation of India Ltd, saying it was another profit-making company.
"The strategy is simple - first weaken your PSU, let them become loss-making from profit-making, and then just say sorry, we can't run anymore. It is a loss-making company.
The Congress leader said that demonetisation had cost more than two per cent of the country's GDP, "faulty" implementation of Goods and Services Tax (GST) had dealt a blow to the economy and corporate tax exemption of Rs. 1,45,000 crore had also dealt another blow.
"The problem is on the demand side. You are addressing the problem on the supply side. It is strange logic," he said, adding that there have been pre-budget announcements, budget announcements, post-budget announcements.
"Two budges before the actual budget and two budgets after that. So how many budgets?" he asked, taking cue from a Hindi song.
"Adhocism cannot be the cornerstone of your policies, especially, when it comes to the economic policies of the country. Only then they will invest. You have seen the figures of GDP. The estimated figures during the budget were Rs 7,44,000 crore, they are now reduced to Rs. 6,44,000 lakh crore. We don't know how much would be the actual receipts?" he said.
Khera said there was Rs. 50,000 crore loss indirect tax collection and private sector investment was at a 16-year low.
Referring to efforts to sell Air India, he alleged the government kept criticising the airline and went to the market but there were no buyers.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)