**New Delhi:** The Congress on Tuesday attacked Prime Minister Narendra Modi on his television interview on the New Year Day, saying the reverse countdown for his government has begun and that he is a “defeatist PM” who cannot even say for sure whether he would be contesting the next election.
Addressing a press conference soon after Modi’s interview aired on Tuesday, Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala accused him of peddling lies and said his interview was a monologue around “I, me, mine and myself”.
Surjewala attacked Modi on a range of issues including jobs, economy, Goods and Services Tax (GST), national security, corruption and agrarian problems and said that he is PM only for 99 days and will be ousted in the Lok Sabha polls in April-May this year.
“A defeatist PM who is even not able to tell where he is going to contest the next parliamentary polls from or whether he is going to contest at all. So, with defeat written on his face as also in the arrogant words of ‘I, me, mine and myself’, the first interview of 2019 has put entire future in perspective that now there are only 99 days left to say ‘bye-bye people of India’,” Surjewala said.
Modi was asked whether he would re-contest from Varanasi or shift to Puri in Odisha, to which he gave a cryptic reply that media persons should also get some work.
Surjewala said the “monologue interview” of Modi turned out to be much ado about nothing.
“Modiji your ‘I’s and lies’ have destroyed India’s societal fabric and India’s economy,” he said, adding that Modi has “trampled upon constitutional institutions as also rights of individuals and snatched livelihoods”.
“We expected that in 2019 you will at least express regrets for policy blunders that you have committed but you are peddling lies…that is indeed unfortunate. The country suffers as Modi dithers,” Surjewala said.
He said the next Lok Sabha elections is public versus “thagbandhan” (alliance of crooks).
He said people want to know answers to 10 key promises made by Modi.
“Where are Rs 15 lakh that was promised in each Indian’s bank account by you? Rs 80 lakh crore of black money that was to be brought to India within 100 days from abroad? Did it come? The truth is that not a single rupee has been brought back,” Surjewala said.
The Congress leader said Modi had promised to create two crore jobs a year.
“It would have been nine crore jobs in 55 months, but could you create even nine lakh jobs for India’s youth? You promised cost plus 50 per cent profit to India’s farmers, but today they are forced to sell their onion crops at 50 paise a kg. Farmer distress and farmer suicides rule the roost (sic),” he said.
He alleged that GST has become “Gabbar Singh Tax” and its flawed implementation has “destroyed small and medium businesses”.
“The nation wants to know the demonetisation disaster, the scam and the people responsible for it. Rs 3.5 lakh crore were lost due to the demonetisation disaster. 12O people died in bank lines. People lost all their earnings. Women of India lost their entire ‘stri dhan’. Yet you continue to justify the DeMo scam and disaster,” he said.
Touching up the issue of national security, he said: “It (national security) has been deeply imperilled. In 55 months, 428 jawans were martyred in Jammu and Kashmir alone as 278 civilians were lost to terrorism. Naxalism cost us lives of 248 jawans and 378 civilians,” he added.
Responding to a question, Surjewala said that if anybody had questioned the Army’s valour it was Modi and not the Congress.
“Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Ganhdi appreciated the Army when surgical strikes were conducted. But what did the Prime Minister do? He threw in the dustbin all the surgical strikes done by the Army since 1947 till September 8, 2016. If anybody palyed with the valour of the Army, it was none other than Prime Minister Modi,” he said.
He also questioned as to why the Modi government did not make a noise when the Chinese were building motorable roads and bunkers in North and South Doklam and reached “within 100 feet of our Army lines”.
“Is it not a fact that China has openly built motorable roads till the Chicken’s Neck and can potentially cut off our northeastern states from us? But the Modi government did not make a noise. It did not dare stare in the Chinese’s eye. At least he (Modi) should have been honest on the national security in his intreview,” the Congress leader said.