Zee Media Bureau/Manisha Singh
New Delhi: In his first speech as the Finance Minister of India, BJP leader Arun Jaitley said on Tuesday that the massive victory secured by his party in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls had increased the burden on them to perform and meet the expectations of the people.
“Indian democracy is evolving. People want stable government and want it to rule for 5 years,” he said adding, “People were feeling helpless and were angry. We came to power due to anti-incumbency and also due to the hope factor and faith that they had in our leader Narendra Modi.”
Intervening during debate on Motion of Thanks on the President`s address he said that the Congress must learn from its past mistakes. “Vote bank politics was shown its place. There is a danger of a party being in power for too long. The Bharat Nirman advertisement was not what was happening on the ground. The verdict against Congress was because of what did not happen,” he said.
“We got much more seats than we expected so that is why the burden is that much more on us. The President`s address yesterday reflected the future of India,” the Union Minister maintained.
Accusing the Congress for leaving the economy of the country in a mess he said, “In 2004 when Congress came to power we had limped back to 8.5 percent. And what have we have inherited – India has grown at less than 5 percent. That is disappointing. The April figure of inflation is 8.9 percent. Congress has left the country at low growth and high inflation.”
Jaitley maintained that the enthusiasm in Indian economy was shattered. “If there is no investment, there is no job,” he said. Addressing the Congress he pointed out, “You have left the country not at poverty alleviation, but at elevated poverty.”
Though he did acknowledge that the current account deficit was better.
Regarding the challenges before the BJP-led NDA government Jaitley said, “The onus is us as to see now as to whether we can convert this into an opportunity or not. Our major challenge is that we have to revive the economy,” adding, “Some things that were done in the past has to be undone. The first right to all our resources belongs to the poor.”
Jaitley also sought to allay apprehensions regarding treatment to minorities and assured that his government would have a `compassionate` and `non- discriminatory` approach and would do everything to ensure social harmony and national security.
At the same time he underlined the fact that participation of states was important in country`s growth.
Talking about the office of the Prime Minister and its importance he said, “In any democracy the office which is most accountable is the PM . The PM must have the last word.”
Jaitley reiterated that though former PM Manmohan Singh was a great scholar and was a man of personal integrity, he did not have the power of the last word. “The PM was brought to his notice that there were cases of corruption. In these cases he should have had the last word. The buck stops with him. And that is why he has to act.”
He further said, “PM has to be tough and ruthless in dealing with corruption and then only the country will move forward.”
The BJP leader also hit at the Congress for misusing investigating agencies. “For any government to be able to take the country forward, it has to build consensus and take along the Opposition. It cannot deal with Opposition via the investigating agencies,” Jaitley said.