KOCHI : In a hard-hitting speech against the Narendra Modi government, former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Friday said the three-and-a-half year rule has ruined all sectors and also created a wedge in the secular credentials of India. He also questioned the political agenda of the CPI-M in Kerala.
Singh was delivering a speech at the Congress party-organised public meeting here on Friday night on the occasion of the state-wide yatra led by Leader of Opposition Ramesh Chennithala protesting against the "anti-people policies" of both the Centre and state government.
"The demonetisation drive was a historic blunder and the outcome has been fresh trouble and hardship for the people. Then came the hasty implementation of the GST, and the result is today there is a slowdown of the economy and GDP has fallen from 7.2 per cent in 2015-16 to 5.7 per cent in the first quarter of this fiscal. I don't see any immediate recovery of the economy in sight," said Singh.
Singh heaped praise on the commitment of his predecessors Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi, "who worked for the country and took it to the forefront in all areas including becoming the biggest producer of food grains and also the progress made in the field's of atomic energy and the space programme".
"I as the Prime Minister from 2004 to 2014 also made humble contributions and saw the economy growing at 7.8 per cent. When the Congress ruled the country religions harmony was there as we kept our country's tradition of allowing people of various faith living together and we never imposed a ban on what dress people should wear and what people should eat. But, in the three-and- half years of Modi governance, attempts are made to hurt the secular and democratic fabric of our country. The Congress will fight resolutely these divisive forces," added Singh.
Singh also came down heavily on the Pinarayi Vijayan-led CPI-M government in Kerala and pointed out that even though one year is a short period to make a comment on the performance of the government, "I understand that the rule of law has crumbled and women are not safe and economic progress is also slow".
"But I have a question to the CPI-M and Left parties. At the national level are we going to oppose BJP as a united front or whether the CPI-M will keep the BJP and the Congress at the same distance? If they are sincere in the fight against the BJP and its anti-people policies, they have to cooperate with the leadership of Congress at the national level and fight together against the BJP's misrule and divisive policies," said Singh.
The yatra of Chennithala concludes in the state capital on December 1 and on that day AICC Vice President Rahul Gandhi will be addressing the public meeting.