Press Trust of india

PM is hoodwinking the country: Congress

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New Delhi, Aug 12:  The Congress today accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of hoodwinking the country by playing with statistics on job creation and claimed that he wants people to believe his “failure” to follow through on his promises as “achhe din”.

Reacting to an interview of the prime minister to a national daily published today, Congress spokesperson Pawan Khera said Modi was asked to point out three big achievements of his government but he “refused to enumerate” them.

“He said he can’t. That is the only honest admission in these interviews. He could not speak about his three achievements even after four years in power. He is the prime minister, he can not hoodwink the country like this. Do not play with statistics,” Khera told reporters.

He said the Modi government has no major achievement to show to people even though it is just nine months short of its five-year term. And the prime minister has given himself an extension of 48 more months by pushing the deadline to deliver the projects by 2022, he added.

The Congress claimed that there is a difference of opinion among the Union cabinet members, pointing out that while the prime minister says his government has given jobs to one crore people, his cabinet minister Nitin Gadkari says there is no job.

Responding to reporters’ questions on an agitation by Marathas for reservation in Maharashtra last week, Gadkari had said that reservation will not guarantee employment as jobs are shrinking.

“How can the government mix the statistics of EPFO with job statistics,” Khera asked, referring to Modi’s claim in the interview about creation of lakhs of jobs based on EPFO data.

Quoting international agencies CMIE, the Congress said it is now being said that 1.26 crore people lost their jobs after sudden demonetisation of high-value currency in November 2016.

The party said the ILO data has said 77 per cent Indian people would either loose or would be at the verge of loosing jobs by 2019.

“The prime minister never challenged the data,” Khera said.

He alleged that the government having failed to deliver on its main schemes such as ‘Swachch Bharat’ has pushed the deadline wand wants people to believe that its failures are the “achhe din” the BJP had promised to people during its 2014 election campaign.

“In 2014, Shri Modi promised a lot of things but now all his ‘so-called targets’ are to be fulfilled in 2022 (108 months) now – a self-extension of 48 more months,” Khera said.

The Congress leader said his party would like to tell Modi categorically, that his govt should not last beyond the next nine months.

Says govt catered to self-interest in Rafale deal

New Delhi, Aug 12:  Targeting the Centre on the 2015 deal to purchase 36 Rafale fighter jets from France, the opposition Congress today accused the Narendra Modi government of ignoring the national interest and catering only to its self-interest.

It quoted from the 2016 annual report of Dassault Aviation and a press statement of Reliance Defence Ltd, the local partner chosen by the French firm to meet its ‘offset’ obligation under the contract, and alleged Prime Minister Modi had made the announcement of “off-the-shelf” purchase of the fighters in Paris after paying an “extra amount”.

“Rafale is a scam and the government is in scam. Indians feel deprived while the BJP ensured that crony capitalism thrived. Instead of protecting India’s interest we have the Modi Sarkar protecting their self-interests,” Congress spokesperson Priyanka Chaturvedi said in a statement.

“The prime minister announced off-the-shelf purchase of 36 Rafale aircraft in Paris on April 10, 2015 for euro 7.5 billion (Rs. 1670.70 crore per aircraft which is Rs. 60,145 crore for 36 aircraft,” Chaturvedi said.

India signed an inter-governmental agreement with France in 2015 for 36 Rafale fighter jets in ‘fly-away’ condition.

The president of the ruling BJP, Amit Shah, on Friday rejected allegations of corruption in the Rafale deal, saying credence should be given to Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s statement.

Shah said Sitharaman has said the base price of Rafale fighters negotiated by the government is less than what was finalised by the previous UPA dispensation.

But the Congress leader said when the international bid opened on December 12, 2012 for Rafale jets, the price negotiated by the UPA government was Rs. 526.10 crore per aircraft for 126 aircraft. As per the UPA deal, the price of 36 aircraft would have been Rs. 18,940.

Chaturvedi demanded an explanation on why an extra amount of Rs. 41,205 crore of the public money is being paid for the jets. She claimed that by announcing the deal in 2015, Modi had violated the mandatory “Defence Procurement Procedure”.

She asked why the prime minister and the defence minister were averse to placing the details of the commercial purchase price before Parliament.

The government has said that a secrecy clause in the 2008 pact between India and France prohibits it from disclosing the pricing details in the purchase of the Rafale fighter jets.

Experts describe the Rafale as a twin-engine “air-dominance” aircraft. In French, “Rafale” means a gust of wind.

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