Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge on Tuesday said there is "nothing new" in President Droupadi Murmu's address to the joint sitting of Parliament, asserting that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has done his government's "advertisement" through her.
He said if the government through the President is claiming that the country has progressed so much, then why the poor continue to suffer due to unemployment and high inflation, even as he alleged that the schemes renamed by the Modi government are not reaching out to the poorest of the poor.
Mr Kharge claimed that the new colleges and schools that the government claims has opened are all in the private sector as the poor people are unable to benefit from them as they cannot afford them.
"The President's address is the government's statement that has come through the President. It is not a new thing... It is only a routine matter and she has expressed those programmes and achievements which the government wanted her to say," he told PTI.
The Congress chief, however, regretted that he could not attend the first address of the President to the joint sitting of both Houses of Parliament, as he was in Jammu and Kashmir and failed to attend the same due to inclement weather.
"In fact, if those achievements are very good, then the people should not feel the pinch of inflation and unemployment. Even the investment is not coming.
"The government claims that it has removed corruption, but then how one man can dupe LIC/SBI and other banks of nearly 'Rs 1 lakh crore'. Now, nearly 30 crore people are suffering who have invested in LIC as that money has gone to one businessman who is very close to the prime minister. However, there is no action on such individuals and schemes which have duped the people of the country," he said.
Mr Kharge alleged that the Modi government has once again made "jumlas" before people by making tall claims of opening schools, medical colleges, which any government does routinely.
"We were hoping that the nation would be given some hope in the President's speech today. But the government seems insensitive towards issues like unemployment, inflation, border security as there was no solution in sight. When the Modi government is not ready to accept the pain of the public, so how can it solve them," he asked.
He alleged that this government probably only knows how to "hand over" the country's wealth to its capitalist friends and that secret is also being exposed.
"We are disappointed that such misuse of public money is not an issue for the government. This is a government of advertisements, Modi ji has used the President for his advertising. As always this government is of only propaganda and this was visible today," the Congress chief said.
He said the government announces schemes with new names, but they do not reach the common people.
He said there is nothing new in the President's speech, but all welcome it individually because the President is supposed to be impartial.
The Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha said after listening to the speech, one did not feel there is inflation anywhere in the country? "If the government is progressing then how is unemployment in the country the highest in the last 45 years?" Asked about the President talking about India emerging as a self-reliant, strong nation, and emerging as solution provider to the world, he said, "I do not blame her, but it is Mr Modi whatever he told outside, she is saying so. If it is so, why is there so much inflation, so much unemployment, why the money value has gone down and why is there so much hike in petrol/diesel prices." "The government talks of opening so many schools, colleges, medical and engineering institutes, they are all in private sector and the poor are unable to afford to go to such institutions," he said, asking the government to tell how many schools and colleges they have opened for the poor and their children.
"All the people who are suffering are realising this," he said.
President Droupadi Murmu on Tuesday said the country has a government that is "stable, fearless, decisive", giving thrust to 'virasat' (heritage) as well as 'vikas' (development) and working for all classes without any discrimination. In her first address to the joint sitting of Parliament on the first day of the Budget session, President Murmu spoke of the government's relentless fight against corruption, the "biggest enemy of democracy and social justice".
India by 2047, she asserted, has to be a country that is self-reliant and fulfils its humanitarian obligations. The Narendra Modi-led government has always kept national interest supreme, India's first tribal President said in her over hour-long speech.
"From surgical strike to a firm crackdown on terrorism, from a befitting response to every misadventure from LoC to LAC, from abrogation of Article 370 to triple talaq, my government has been recognised as a decisive government," she said.
The President's address reflects the views of the government of the day.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)