The Time Has Come To Address Issues

The election campaign is in full swing. On 10 April some 91 constituencies went to the polls and with the previous two phases, one fifth of the Lok Sabha, we can say, we have already voted for. Assuming that all these predictions by the various media are true, then the BJP and the BJP lead NDA is all poised to form a coalition Government with two, three or four partners. Ok, we had coalitions for the last 20 years. We can have one more. The worrying issue is something different. As long as you talk of corruption or law and order or wherever Congress has failed, it is all right. Probably a new Government can immediately bring the administration to heel so that things should fall in place. But there are issues which are bigger than this and it is not in the hands of the Government. First take inflation. It is all right to go on criticising the Congress for inflation. But has anybody analysed what are the causes of inflation? What will the BJP do to control inflation? They are pointing out in every advertisement that there is a lot of inflation. Then what will you do? Is inflation because demand has increased or supply has become less or because of hoarding? What is the reason? If it is because of hoarding then the BJP will not be able to do anything because most of the hoarders are from the community which supports the BJP. They will find themselves in bigger trouble. Inflation is a matter that needs to be addressed. The BJP should immediately announce a panel of five economists who can apply their minds and give a blueprint of what they want to do to control inflation.
Similarly, security concerns and foreign policy, the BJP has not even spelt out in its manifesto, which has come out so late, and they have not told us how their foreign policy is going to be different than that of the Congress. At least the Atal Bihari Government was frank enough to say that ever since Independence, the country has had a foreign policy which has not changed with the change of Government. When the Morarji Government came after defeating the Congress, they did not change the foreign policy. When Deve Gowda and the Gujral Government came they did not change the foreign policy. May be slight changes in emphasis but not a basic change. Here the BJP goes on the criticising the Congress saying that our relationship with Pakistan is bad. We are giving in to America. We are doing this, we are doing that. But they are not spelling out that what they will do. I do not know whether they realise that the options are limited. America is India’s biggest trading partner. What are you going to do with it? Will you stop trading with it or reduce trading with it? China is manufacturing and dumping goods on you at a speed which you cannot deal with. Your major foreign exchange leakage is to China. Narendra Modi is very fond of China. So what are you going to do? We are going to have this current account deficit year after year and then they say a dollar will come to fifty rupees or forty rupees. Which means what he is trying to say is that we will allow foreign currency to leak to China and we will have foreign investment from America in retail and other things. Retail, of course they are denying publically, but free flow of FDI.
So, we will have more and more American money in the economy and more and more loss due to unnecessary imports. I do not know that the people understand that we are importing seven billion dollars, about forty eight thousand crores of rupees worth of electronic goods like cell phones. We cannot manufacture cell phones in India? We need China to send cell phones here for which we pay in dollars. Nobody has addressed this. The Congress, of course for the last ten years has been following this policy. But the BJP, if they want to assure people that we are coming to power and we will do something different, the first thing Narendra Modi should say is that we are going to stop unnecessary imports from China. But he likes to visit China three times in a year. He is in love with China. Similarly, what is going to be our policy with our neighbours? Threatening and jingoism is all right. But Pakistan is a nuclear power and we are a nuclear power. So the war option is ruled out. Pakistan knows it very well. We also know it well. But it is very surprising, in some speech in Jammu, Narendra Modi said Pakistan is a threat to us. How? Even Pakistan does not think that they are a threat to us. Nobody in India thinks that they are threat to us. But he is saying that we have AK Antony, AK 47, Kejriwal AK49. He has at least given Kejriwal that much importance as if he matters to national security. We do not know how. He just won an election in Delhi where he did well and Kejriwal also does not talk about international issues. All that he talks of is corruption should not be there, police should behave properly and all that which everybody agrees with. What I am now worried about is in case this Government really come to power, where are we headed to?
The RSS will off course increase its shakhas. So that is the only ‘aim’ that will happen. From 57 thousand their shakhas have come down to 40 thousand. It will again go up. That also happened in the Janata regime of Morarji Bhai. What will happen to the country? The country is poised at a very very important turn in the world. We have a young population who can be put to work. It is all right to go on saying for election purposes that the growth has come down to 4 per cent, 5 per cent. People, who know the world economy, know that it is a very good growth rate. Poor Chidambaram is in trouble because of inflation and ten years of rule but I think he has done quite well as a Finance Minister. I do not know what Mr. Modi’s Finance Minister can do better than this. The world economy is in trouble in America, in the Euro zone. Compared to that India is much better off. The real problem is again different which Narendra Modi is not addressing — the high NPAs. The construction and building industry, the power industry, they have taken large loans from the banks. Their projects are not getting completed. They are not paying interest. They are not repaying the loan. What is the BJP’s philosophy? Most of them are cronies of the BJP. They are the first people who will offer their support to the BJP, which means we support you and we did not return the loans, please allow us to keep our loans to write off one day. The real problem is quite different and the problem was the same which Mr. Chidambaram was facing and which Mr. Modi’s Finance Minister will face. So, according to me, a time has come to address issues. For election purposes it is all right. You go on calling each other names — that will last till 12 May and on 16 May, we will know the result. But, I think a person who seriously wants to be the Prime Minister of this country should give a blueprint on how he wants to run the country for the five years for which he wants to get a mandate.

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