Shiv Sena chief spokesperson Sanjay Raut criticised Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the state of the economy and the handling of the Covid-19 crisis and said that winning the West Bengal election is not a “life-saving drug” that India’s economy needs.
Citing the example of late American President Franklin D Roosevelt – who had steered the US to economic recovery after the Great Depression – Raut said that Modi now needs to come out of poet Rabindranath Tagore’s role and get into Roosevelt’s role. He also slammed finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman over the economy and said India needs a “new Manmohan Singh” to revive the economy.
The Sena leader, in his weekly column Rokhthok, in party mouthpiece Saamana, equated the current recession to the slowdowns experienced after wars or the two World Wars. He added that the pandemic brought a dreadful recession across the globe and the economy of the country has collapsed.
In an attack on PM Modi, Raut wrote: “When leaders are self-contented and self-esteemed, this is bound to happen. For the economy to speed up, we need a Manmohan Singh. PM Modi first needs to come out of the role of Rabindranath Tagore and enter the role of F Roosevelt.”
Raut added that the production rate in the country has gone down. He said that people had lost jobs during the demonetisation in November 2016 and the remaining ones lost their jobs in the pandemic. The spending power has gone and the savings are kept to put food on the table in the future, he said.
“In such dire situation, we have to create a new Manmohan Singh to give the reins of the country’s economy. Today, 60% of the labourers are without jobs. The national income has gone down by two-thirds, but our leaders are listless and self-contented. PM Modi is a political person and in the past few years, many economists have left him. Modi has repeatedly said that “I am a businessman” but the businessman himself is sitting with his shop shut,” Raut wrote, adding that in October 1929, when the market collapsed in the US, it led to Great Depression but the then President Herbert Hoover told the Congress that everything was “prosperous”.
“A similar atmosphere is there in our country. Barring hospitals and politics, nothing is running in our country. There is shortage of logs in the crematoriums and space in burial grounds. These are not any signs of prosperity,” he said.
The Sena parliamentarian said that PM Modi and Sitharaman are not talking about reviving the economy or the steps taken for it.
“PM and finance minister are not uttering a work on what are they doing to bring the country out of recession. PM says that [Bengal chief minister] Mamata Banerjee will lose the Bengal election. But is this the Remdesivir required to restart the collapsed economy? Home minister Amit Shah says that Maharashtra government will collapse due to its own weight. But this too is no answer for the slowdown and unemployment. The finance minister of the country is not seen anywhere,” he said.
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) spokesperson Atul Bhatkhalkar said, “Even Uddhav Thackeray does not pay heed to Raut’s advice. Raut’s only job is to criticise Centre and Modiji day in and day out. He must have forgotten that during Manmohan Singh’s tenure India had double digit inflation. His tenure was marred with corruption charges, which now continues in the Maha vasooli sarkar. Indian economy was bouncing back, but due to the second wave that started in Maharashtra, the economy has been hit again. So instead of criticising Modi ji, Raut should advice his chief minister on how to tackle the pandemic.”