Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Monday launched a scathing attack on the Congress, accusing it of indulging in “politics of confusion and fear.”
Prasad also questioned the role of former finance minister P Chidambaram in the contentious 80:20 gold import scheme and alleged that the scheme was passed to benefit companies like the Gitanjali group.
Prasad spoke at the outset about stressed assets. “Time and again, we have stated that not a single loan given under our government is an NPA (non-performing asset),” Prasad said.
“In 2008, the total advances to people given by the banks were to the tune of Rs 18.06 lakh crores. By March 2014, the amount went up to Rs 52.15 lakh crores. The stressed assets identified out of this were only 36 percent…now it has risen to 82 percent due to advances given by the UPA govt,” he added. “This means that on more than one occasion, the correct data could not make it to the records of the banks under the UPA govt,” Prasad said.
Prasad asserted that the banking system was derailed under Manmohan Singh. “Under the so-called economist, Manmohan Singh, the entire banking system went haywire due to all kinds of interference with it,” Prasad said, slamming the former prime minister.
North East election results
Ravi Shankar Prasad said that the BJP’s performance in Tripura and Nagaland marked a “tectonic shift in politics”. He said that the Congress had been defeated in Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Jharkhand and Kashmir, so the BJP expected that maybe they had a standing in the North East. “However the Congress was zero in Tripura and Nagaland,” Prasad quipped.
He also lauded the Bharatiya Janata Party in Nagaland for winning in 12 constituencies even though they just fielded 20 candidates. “This happened in a state with an 88 percent Christian majority,” he remarked.
The union minister also fired a salvo against the Grand Old party and former finance minister P Chidambaram for the controversial 80:20 scheme, and linked the scheme’s passing to the PNB scam. He said that the scheme, which was introduced in August 2013 and then repealed in November 2014, was passed on 16 May 2014, for the “benefit of seven companies.”
“The then finance minister gave aashirwaad to 7 private companies under the 80:20 scheme. One of those companies was Gitanjali,” Prasad asserted. “P Chidambaram and Rahul Gandhi must answer why this was passed on the day of the results to benefit these seven private companies.” he added.
“The Congress needs to give an answer. Who was lobbying for benefits of the 80-20 scheme to be given to Gitanjali, and how much of a cut did they get from it?,” he added.
The law minister also responded to criticism over the Rafale deal. He said that it is very surprising that the Congress, which is “drowning in corruption in Bofors”, is raising questions on the deal.
“Congress could not execute the Rafale deal for 10 years,” Prasad alleged, saying, “The NDA government under Narendra Modi has got the best deal in terms of price, effectiveness and weapon systems,” Prasad asserted.
Prasad also attacked Congress for “spreading lies and misinformation” about the Aadhaar scheme and the Financial Resolution and Deposit Insurance Bill, 2017. He also lashed out at Rahul Gandhi for meeting with Chinese Ambassador to India Luo Zhaohui when the Doka La standoff was happening.
“I have a clear accusation…the Congress is anti-reform, because whenever there is reform, there is transparency and accountability,” Prasad said at the press conference.
He concluded by saying that the Congress has planted so many “landmines” that they blow up every now and again, and then they question the government over it. “Rahul Gandhi does not do his homework before making such accusations, he should do his homework before tweeting,” the BJP leader said in another jab at the Congress president.
With inputs from agencies