BJP questions PM rationale for pushing reforms now

The BJP blamed Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for pushing the country to a `1991-like` economic situation.

Chennai: The BJP on Saturday blamed Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for pushing the country to a `1991-like` economic situation and questioned the rationale for introducing reforms now after eight years of rule.

"The Prime Minister`s (televised) address on Friday (explaining the need for FDI and increase in diesel price) is disappointing, deceptive and unconvincing. He could not justify the reasons and convince his own allies," BJP leader and Rajya Sabha MP M Venkaiah Naidu told reporters here.

Charging UPA with deflecting attention from "its scams and scandals" by introducing the FDI move and diesel hike, he also asked Singh to get Parliamentary approval for FDI if Congress claimed to have the numbers in Parliament despite TMC`s withdrawal of support.

The government `betrayed` Parliament and the people when it did not stick to its word on implementing FDI only after securing consensus among all stakeholders as promised by then finance minister Pranab Mukherjee in Parliament, he said.

"The Prime Minister has admitted a 1991-like economic situation. Who is responsible for this? You, the Prime Minister and your party (Congress) who have been in power for eight years," Naidu said.

"It is because of the economic mismanagement, wrong policies, policy paralysis, lack of priorities and extremely unproductive schemes," he said.

Referring to the Prime Minister`s contention that some people (parties opposed to FDI) were misleading the country on the issue, Naidu said the UPA`s own allies DMK and SP had taken part in the recent nation-wide bandh.

Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy had opposed FDI, while party chief Sonia Gandhi had asked Congress-ruled states to provide nine subsidised LPG cylinders even as Singh had argued that six were enough for one household, Naidu said.

With Samajwadi Party and DMK participating in the bandh and Trinamool Congress pulling out, Congress should explain whether these parties were misleading people as claimed by the Prime Minister, he said.

Naidu also slammed Singh for defending the diesel price hike by insisting that rich persons used diesel-run cars. Naidu said crores of farmers used the fuel for irrigation purposes in non-delta regions in motor pumps besides widely using it in tractors.

"Every political party except Congress is protesting against these. We challenge the government get the Parliament approval for FDI in retail, hike on prices of diesel and cap on LPG if it says it has the numbers (to keep itself afloat)."

Naidu expressed fears that prices of kerosene and PDS sugar could also be increased even as bus and train fares were likely to shoot up in the wake of diesel price rise.

The BJP`s national executive will meet at Faridabad from September 26-28 which will chalk out future programmes as part of intensifying protests against the "anti-people" policies of the government.

On the controversy surrounding Madhya Pradesh BJP government inviting Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse for a Buddhist function, which has been opposed by parties including DMK and MDMK, he said it was a government function where heads of states of all Buddhist nations were invited.

Underlining BJP`s commitment for Lankan Tamils, he said his party colleague Sushma Swaraj, the leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha, had herself many times highlighted their plight in Parliament.