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Sitharaman Blasts Congress, Says Sonia’s ‘Super PM’ Role Was At Heart Of UPA’s Economic Mismanagement

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Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman issued a strong critique of the Congress party, asserting that Sonia Gandhi operated as a “super PM” whose leadership lay at the core of economic mismanagement during the UPA regime. Responding to discussions in the Lok Sabha regarding the White Paper on the Indian economy, Sitharaman emphasized that the document’s contents were substantiated by evidence, devoid of unfounded accusations.

Sitharaman condemned the Congress for jeopardizing national security and causing delays in environmental clearances for projects, attributing these issues to leadership failures.

“Leadership was at the heart of UPA’s mismanagement and corruption-driven 10 years of government. The central problem point during UPA era was a rudderless and leaderless government. Sonia Gandhi acted as the ‘Super Prime Minister’ as Chairperson of the NAC. NAC had unaccountable and unconstitutional powers. Why did files go to such an unaccountable and unanswerable body for approval?” Sitharaman asked.

She said the ‘andolan jivis’ who were members of the NAC used to prepare legislations, including Right to Food and Right to Information.

“Should that be acceptable to the members of Parliament?” “When Dr Manmohan Singh was on a tour, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi tore up the ordinance in a press conference. Wasn’t that insulting the country’s Prime Minister? He (Rahul Gandhi) didn’t care for his own Prime Minister,” she said. Sitharaman also said under the UPA government there was “glaring mismanagement of defence” sector and its highlight was the Rs 3,600 crore AgustaWestland scam.

“Critical shortage of ammunition & defence equipment was the main feature of 2014 when we inherited the economy. Bullet proof jackets were not available for our soldiers. Night vision goggles were not available,” Sitharaman said. She said ‘Jayanti Tax’ during the UPA tenure delayed environment clearances for projects up to a year.

The average time to clear projects increased to 316 days from 86 days between 2011 and 2014. She said 10 years of dedicated efforts of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government have put the economy back on rails.

“We corrected all misgovernance, and focussed on reforms,” Sitharaman said, adding the average environment clearance time for projects has come down to 70 days. The minister said big-ticket corruptions during the UPA tenure averaged one each year and common people were disillusioned.

The Modi government more than doubled defence budget to Rs 6.22 lakh crore for fiscal 2024-25, from Rs 2.53 lakh crore in 2013-14, she added. Responding to members’ allegation that Enforcement Directorate (ED) has become a government tool, Sitharaman said under Modi government ED has been given “independence” to pursue cases under Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).

Giving a comparative analysis of the conviction, restitution, extradition and red corner notices issued during UPA versus NDA governments, she said the number was zero during the Congress-led government. During the Modi regime, she said ED filed 1,200 prosecution cases and recovered Rs 16,333 crore and convicted 58 people.

Also, 24 RCNs were issued, 12 offenders were declared fugitives and Rs 906.74 crore recovered from fugitive economic offenders. Talking about the Production Linked Incentive (PLI) schemes, she said, so far 7 lakh direct and indirect jobs have been created. 14 sectors benefit from the PLI Schemes brought by our government. Manufacturing locations are coming up in 24 states and more than 150 districts. The government has committed nearly Rs 1.97 lakh crore over five years starting 2021-22. Rs 1.07 lakh crore worth of investment has been committed under the PLI Schemes.

She said that average inflation under the Modi government has never crossed 8 per cent, whereas in the last 3 years of UPA’s tenure the annual average inflation was in double digits. Sitharaman said Rs 2.7 lakh crore was saved because of the Aadhaar authenticated Direct Benefit Transfers (DBT).

Earlier, initiating the discussion, Sitharaman said the Congress-led UPA government had put “family first” and left the country in “dire straits” in 2014, but it is now lecturing the Modi government on handling the economy. Sitharaman said the Modi government put “nation first”, and took the economy from ‘fragile five’ to ‘top five’. India is now on the way to become the third largest global economy, she said.

“Ten years of one government with some crisis and 10 years of a different government with a different crisis. The comparison shown in this ‘White Paper’ clearly says how if the government handles it with true sincerity, transparency and putting the nation first, the results are there for everybody to see,” Sitharaman said.

She also said, “When you don’t put the nation first, when you put your first family first, and when you have other consideration than transparency, the results are out there for you to see. So what happened after 2008 when there was a global financial crisis and what happened post-Covid shows clearly that if the intent of the government is sincere, results will be good.” The Modi government leadership is clear in adopting a nation-first policy and is working to make India a developed country by 2047, she said.

(With inputs from PTI)



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Lok Sabha Polls Will Be Dynastic Politics & Corruption Versus Development Fight: Nadda

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BJP national president JP Nadda. (PTI/File)

Nadda also chaired the Election Management Committee’s meetings for all the six Lok Sabha constituencies in Mumbai as part of preparations for the LS polls

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president JP Nadda has said the upcoming Lok Sabha elections will be a battle between dynastic politics and corruption on one side and development on the other.

Addressing party workers from Mumbai’s western suburbs during his visit to the metropolis on Wednesday, Nadda said under Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s leadership, India is well on its way to become the third largest economy in the world from fifth now.

Attacking anti-BJP opposition parties, he alleged that they were either dynastic or steeped in corruption.

“You have to reach out to voters and seek their support for a fresh mandate (for BJP at the Centre). First-time voters in the last ten years have seen only development and not corruption like previous governments,” Nadda asserted, referring to the decade-long rule of the Modi administration that started in 2014.

He said the Lok Sabha elections, likely to be held in April-May, will be a fight between dynastic politics and corruption on one side and development on the other.

Dynastic politics and corruption will lead to destruction, Nadda said and highlighted the BJP’s development agenda.

Earlier in the day, Nadda met BJP office-bearers from all the 36 assembly constituencies in Mumbai besides party MPs and MLAs from the metropolis.

In his address, Nadda asked BJP leaders from Mumbai to ensure the party ideology reaches the last person in society and urged them to give a befitting reply to opposition attacks on the saffron outfit and its government.

He advised BJP leaders to extensively use social media and seek support of prominent personalities on issues of public interest.

Nadda also chaired the Election Management Committee’s meetings for all the six Lok Sabha constituencies in Mumbai as part of preparations for the national polls.

In the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the BJP and its then-ally, the undivided Shiv Sena, won three seats each in Mumbai. In the Maharashtra assembly polls held in October that year, the BJP won 16 of the 36 seats in the city, while 14 were bagged by the Sena.

The state, where the BJP is in power in alliance with the Shiv Sena led by Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and the Ajit Pawar-headed NCP, has a 288-member legislative assembly.

(This story has not been edited by News18 staff and is published from a syndicated news agency feed – PTI)



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BJP Says Rahul ‘Unhinged’: Will OBC Politics Work? | Lok Sabha Elections 2024 | Rahul Gandhi |News18

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BJP Says Rahul ‘Unhinged’: Will OBC Politics Work? | Lok Sabha Elections 2024 | Rahul Gandhi |News18One OBC (Narendra Modi) being the prime minister does not solve the problem, says M Kumaramangalam Nehru stopped the Caste Census and said that it would divide the country, BJP’s Shehzad hits back



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BJP to Release Documentary on Alleged Atrocities Against Women in West Bengal’s Sandeshkhali

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Last Updated: February 21, 2024, 23:05 IST

The “exclusive” documentary titled ‘The Sandeshkhali Socker – The Big Reveal’ will be released Thursday morning at 9 am (Image: X/BJP)

This comes amid a raging war of words between the BJP and the TMC over alleged incidents of rape and harassment of women in Sandeshkhali in West Bengal’s North 24 Parganas district ahead of the Lok Sabha elections

The BJP is set to release a documentary on Sandeshkhali on Thursday with the party intensifying its attack on West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee-led TMC government over the alleged incidents of atrocities and sexual assault on women there.

The “exclusive” documentary titled ‘The Sandeshkhali Socker – The Big Reveal’ will be released Thursday morning at 9 am, the BJP said in post on X, asking Banerjee in Bangla, “Didi ke bolo aaro koto ‘Sandeshkhali’ (Tell didi how many more Sandeshkhali like incidents)”.

This comes amid a raging war of words between the BJP and the TMC over alleged incidents of rape and harassment of women in Sandeshkhali in West Bengal’s North 24 Parganas district ahead of the Lok Sabha elections.

The riverine Sandeshkhali area — situated on the borders of the Sunderbans, about 100 kilometres from Kolkata — has been witnessing protests after the local women accused absconding Trinamool Congress (TMC) leader Sheikh Shahjahan and his supporters of land grab and sexual assault under coercion.

Interestingly, ‘Didi Ke Bolo’ is a campaign launched by the TMC after the 2019 Lok Sabha polls to provide a platform for the people of West Bengal to directly raise their concerns or lodge complaints with Chief Minister Banerjee.

The TMC’s move was reportedly aimed at countering the BJP in the state.

(This story has not been edited by News18 staff and is published from a syndicated news agency feed – PTI)



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