M A I N   N E W S

For stability Congress is the right choice: VP
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 3
In a determined effort to dismantle Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s stability plank, former Prime Minister V.P. Singh today claimed that the Congress- run governments had been more credible and stable and asked the secular groups to join hands to stop the NDA from returning to power.

“Who can beat the record of the Congress in providing the longest number of stable governments at the Centre and states,” he asked. The track record of West Bengal in giving a stable government is more convincing than the one given by the Vajpayee government at the Centre, he told newspersons during a press conference at his house.

Asking what was so special about the Vajpayee government in terms of proving stability, Mr V.P. Singh said the Congress-run governments had been more credible than the BJP which contributed to the fall of his government in 1989 and the National Front government in 1990. In 1996, they could not continue for more than 13 days and again for not more than 13 months.

The Congress had learnt by now learnt the necessity of running a coalition government. The stability could be provided by evolving a common minimum programme (CMP), he suggested.

Making light of Mr Vajpayee’s assertion that the Congress was alone in the present election milieu and was hunting for allies, Mr V.P. Singh said, “This is far from the truth. The Congress has made more formidable allies in Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Bihar, Tamil Nadu and in other places.”

“The stability of the Vajpayee government is inimical not only to society and the poor but also the nation because of its politics of hatred and divisiveness.”

Mr V.P. Singh, who was the Finance Minister in the Rajiv Gandhi government and had strained relations with Rajiv Gandhi for more than a decade, came out openly in support of the Congress saying that not only would he “vote for the Congress” but also appeal to the countrymen to pool all their efforts to oust the “fascist” BJP-led government at the Centre.

Stating that the need of the hour was a change of government, Mr V.P. Singh quoted the Mahabharata and said though Arjuna was reluctant to wage a war against the Kauravas, Lord Krishna said, “No, you have to fight to bring about a change.”

Mr Vajpayee’s appeal for maintaining the status quo and stress on stability could not be endorsed at the present juncture with farmers committing suicide, factories having closed down, weavers in ruins and unemployment having risen to an alarming proportion, he said.

Armed with statistics to debunk the NDA’s India Shining campaign, Mr V.P. Singh said 50 per cent of the country’s population did not have access to standard nourishment. “When people are hungry, how can they feel good? There is no place for the common people in their campaign. The India Shining campaign is essentially for the corporate sector and the rich people, because it talks of foreign direct investment, GDP and the sensex and not the people.”

The employment growth had slid down from 2.7 per cent to 1.7 per cent, shattering the promise of providing 10 million jobs per year. The revenue deficit had risen to 6.7 per cent in 2002-02 from 4.2 per cent in 1990-91 and interest payment from 23 per cent to 34 per cent during the Vajpayee regime, highlighting the failings of the Vajpayee government, he added.

During the NDA rule, industrial production had gone down and speculative money had rolled in from foreign investors who control 45 per cent shares in the Bombay Stock Exchange. Still worse, several profit-making PSUs were sold off, he said, adding that all these harsh facts made the feel-good propaganda a “big failure.”

“The India Shining campaign and the Bharat Uday Yatra have not clicked as a result of which the BJP is now frustrated and nervous. Their false propaganda did not match the ground realities.

“Out of frustration and nervousness, the BJP has now roped in the RSS and its affiliated organisations and leaders like Narendra Modi to catch the imagination of the voters in Uttar Pradesh in the last two phases of polling,” he said.

Mr V.P. Singh, who spoke at length on various issues connected with the poll, said the BJP’s bogey of Sonia Gandhi’s foreign origin had not clicked. “The BJP is raising the issue for political purposes only, but that too has not clicked.”

While there could be a debate over whether the people with foreign origin could be granted Indian citizenship or not but there could not be two types of citizenship — the reliable and an unreliable citizenship,” he emphasised.

When the Supreme Court has already settled the issue of Ms Gandhi... why the BJP is raking it up at all? What stand will it take on the issue in countries like Mauritius, Fiji and Sierra Leone? he asked.

“I am told the mother of the Rajasthan Chief Minister is from Nepal”, he said, referring to the prospects of Rahul and Priyanka.

Giving instances of the BJP’s stand on Ayodhya, Article 370, Uniform Civil Code and its latest emphasis on Hindu-Muslim unity, Mr V.P. Singh said the RSS’s political wing sought to play the “greatest fraud on the people of the country.”

Questioning the role of the BJP during the country’s independence struggle, Mr V.P. Singh wanted to know the name of a single person associated with the Sangh Parivar who had contributed towards the cause of freedom or made any sacrifice.

On a question regarding his crusade on the Bofors issue, the former Prime Minister appeared “a little offended”. The questioner could read his article written sometime ago in a leading English daily, he quipped.

Asked whether he regretted getting the support of the BJP in running his government in 1989, Mr V.P. Singh said, “Yes, after the Gujarat incident I do regret.”

On who should lead the alternative government at the Centre, Ms Sonia Gandhi or Mr Mulayam Singh Yadav, he sought to avoid the question saying if he were the panch (referee), he would have been in a better position to tell.

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