New Delhi, Aug 3 (IANS) When it comes to harming the federal structure, both the BJP and the Congress are two sides of the same coin, Trinamool Congress leader and Rajya Sabha member Sukhendu Shekhar Roy has said.
In an interview to IANS, Roy said: “When it comes to working against the state governments like West Bengal on debt issues, there’s no difference between the BJP and the Congress. It is sad that the central government is behaving like moneylenders.”
He charged the Narendra Modi government with “jugglery of statistics” saying the rosy growth figures make no difference to millions of Indians.
“These figures have no meaning,” said Roy, adding that such numbers cannot generate confidence among the people.
“There is no link to general prosperity of the people or adequate job avenues. If you have a growth rate which does not reflect the country’s reality, it is meaningless. They (the government) are simply indulging in jugglery of statistics,” he said.
India registered a 7.6 per cent growth rate in 2015-16 and officials say even higher growth rates may be attained in next two fiscals — 2016-17 and 2017-18.
These officials, as well as the finance ministry, say double-digit growth will be possible if issues related to reforms, agricultural policy, public investment and service sector are addressed. A favourable monsoon would also spur growth, they add.
The Trinamool MP said that increasing non-performing assets (NPAs) of banks, higher inflation and absence of jobs indicate that things are “not bright at all”.
He said the states continue to reel under financial crises and it does not augur well for the country’s overall economic scene.
“Our leader Mamata Banerjee has said that weak states cannot ensure a strong India,” Roy said in this context.
“But it is a fact that both the Congress and the BJP have no difference when it comes to their dealing with states and especially those ruled by regional parties,” Roy said, adding that the states in general and regional parties in particular need to work together for upholding the dignity of the states.
The debt crisis inherited by the Trinamool government in West Bengal from the previous Left parties dispensation is a testimony of how states should not be dealt with, Roy said.
“Since 2011, the West Bengal government has been seeking central intervention. Congress did nothing, and now it is the BJP. We did not ask for any charity. The state government only requested for a three-year moratorium on debt. The Bengal budget for 2016-17 was Rs 53,000 crore but we have to pay Rs 60,000 crore for loan payment,” he said.
Moreover, the previous UPA government at the Centre did not act against the Left regime in Bengal when they did not adhere to the Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management (FRBM) Act.
“The Centre should have used constitutional provisions and imposed financial emergency against the Left,” Roy said.
Asked whether the Trinamool Congress will be playing a major role to unite all regional parties against both the Congress and the BJP and whether Mamata Banerjee will be a PM-candidate for 2019, the Trinamool MP said, “Our Chief Minister has already stated that she wants to stay in her state and serve our people but we are keen for regional parties coming together to strengthen the federal structure.
(Nirendra Dev can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)