Chandigarh: In his maiden speech for Punjab Assembly elections, former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, in a veiled attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, said that the government instead of rectifying the problems of the past is choosing to pin the blame on the country’s first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru.
Manmohan Singh, 89, also asserted that the Congress did not ever divide the country for political gains or hide the truth.
In a video statement for the people of Punjab, he said, “On one hand, people are facing problems of inflation and unemployment, while on the other, the present government, that has been in power for the last seven and a half years, rather than admitting their mistakes and rectifying them, is still blaming first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru for people’s problems.”
The former Prime Minister said that he felt that the Prime Minister’s position has a special significance. “The Prime Minister should maintain dignity rather than blame history to downplay faults. When I was Prime Minister for 10 years, I spoke through my work. I never let the country lose prestige before the world. I never undermined India’s pride,” Singh said.
He also said that he has at least this “satisfaction” that “after the false accusations against him of being weak, quiet and corrupt, the BJP and its B and C-team are getting exposed in front of the country”.
He further accused the government of trying to suppress Chinese incursions at the Line of Actual Control.
“They (BJP-led government) have no understanding of economic policy. The issue is not limited to the nation. This government has also failed on foreign policy. China is sitting at our border and efforts are being made to suppress it (incursions),” Singh said.
“I hope the PM has understood that foreign policy cannot be conducted by forcibly hugging leaders, swinging on swings or feeding them biryani,” he added.
The former Prime Minister also slammed the BJP-led government for its “fake nationalist and divisive policies” and asserted that its foreign policy has failed.
“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 Prime Minister’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,” he said.
He also said that there is “selfishness and greed in the government’s economic policy”.
“For their selfish interest they are dividing people and making them fight,” he alleged.
Singh also made a reference to the security breach that left Modi’s convoy stuck on a flyover in Punjab for 20 minutes because of protesting farmers last month and said, “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 this. As a true Indian from Punjab, all these things deeply hurt me,” he added.
The former Prime Minister also said that he wanted to address people in states of Punjab, Goa, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh and Manipur but due to doctors’ advice citing his poor health he cannot do the same. And thus he was sending a video statement of his for the people.
Polling for 117-member house is due on February 20 and counting votes will take place on March 10.