Mumbai: The BJP government, which completes 9 years in power, has been a "complete failure on all fronts", whether domestic policies, international affairs, security or the economy, and the recent withdrawal of the Rs 2,000 notes was "foolish", senior Congress leader P. Chidambaram said here on Monday.
Addressing the media as part of the Opposition's outreach all over India to "expose" the government on Prime Minister Narendra Modi's 9 years in office, he also expressed concerns whether the country's affairs are being run according to the Constitution or not. Touching on the latest move by the Centre to give the "pink slip" to the Rs 2,000 denomination currency, Chidam-baram questioned and lampooned the move, even as the Global Poverty Index says India has over 22.4 crore "poor people".
"The people had no need for the Rs 2,000 notes after the Rs 500-Rs 1,000 value notes were demonetised (November 2016). This horrendous spectacle of first introducing and then withdrawing the Rs 2000-note was foolish and has cast doubts on the integrity and stability of the Indian currency," he said.
On the Centre-State relations, Chidambaram said: "There a growing gap between the Central and state governments... The executive powers of the elected state governments have been curtailed and the Governors of non-BJP-ruled states are behaving like Viceroys. Natural justice is replaced by 'bulldozer' justice. These are the deep concerns before the country."
Referring to the political atmosphere vis-a-vis the Opposition parties, the Congress leader said that Parliamentary norms and laws are blatantly violated, while Central investigation agencies are let loose to destabilise the Opposition-ruled state governments, and peoples' freedom of speech and personal liberties are curtailed.
"The Opposition are being threatened by such probes on false cases, their leaders are being jailed. Major institutions which were independent pillars of democracy have been weakened by the BJP. This 'Banyan Tree' of democracy has been rendered hollow by the Modi regime," Chidam-baram said sharply.
He slammed the government for its "failures" on the sensitive defence and foreign policies owing to which India's relations with almost all neighbours like Pakistan, China, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka have soured.
"There is sufficient evidence that Chinese forces have encroached upon Indian-held territory and are still in control of it. China is expanding its defence infrastructure along the borders and building new settlements in the vicinity of the boundary. But since the Galwan Valley clashes of June 2020, Indian patrolling there has decreased," Chidambaram contended.
On the other hand, the China-Pakistan alliance has not only strengthened but spread the security threat to every part of the western, northern and eastern borders, and despite this, the parliament has been kept in the dark, he said.
In fact, Chidambaram claimed that in the past three years, security issues or threats to the country are not allowed to be discussed in the Parliament.
"The situation remains alarming even in Manipur with over 75 deaths so far, but the PM continues to remain silent. When that northeast state was burning the PM and the Union Home Minister (Amit Shah) were busy campaigning for votes in Karnataka," he said.
Dwelling on the economy, he cited the highest unemployment at 7.5 per cent, persistent inflation, growing inequalities, and the current economic status a far cry from the 9 percent average growth rate in the boom period (2004-2009) under the Dr Manmohan Singh.
Chidambaram was flanked by state Congress President Nana Patole and other leaders like Atul Londhe, Raju Waghmare, Charanjit Singh Sapra, and Charulata Tokas at the briefing.—IANS