Congress leader P Chidambaram called on his party colleagues to lead the opposition in exposing the Modi government's "utter mismanagement" of the economy. The former Finance Minister, currently in Delhi's Tihar Jail over his alleged role in the INX Media scam, picked up where he left off on Sunday, when he criticised the centre over the suppression of consumer spending data for 2017/18.
In a tweet posted to his official Twitter account, which has been maintained by his family since he was taken to jail, Mr Chidambaram, 74, demanded the government name one sector of the economy that was doing well.
"When parliament opens today, Congress must lead the opposition to expose the utter mismanagement of the economy. Which aspect of the economy is doing well? Not one," Mr Chidambaram's tweet read.
Government seems knowledge proof and refuses to accept valid criticism and genuine advice.— P. Chidambaram (@PChidambaram_IN) November 18, 2019
The Winter Session of the parliament opens today (and will run till December 13) amid concerns over growth of the economy, rising unemployment and the automobile sector crisis. Also on the opposition's radar are the lakhs of distressed farmers struggling with soaring loans and lakhs of acres of destroyed crops.
On Sunday Mr Chidambaram hit out at the government, which he said refused to accept dissent or criticism of its economic policies and agenda, after preliminary data showed a dip in (primarily rural) consumer spending for the first time in four decades.
A report by the Business Standard newspaper, citing unpublished data, said consumer demand in villages fell 8.8 per cent between July 2017 and July 2018.
The government has since said the above statistics will not be released due to "quality issues".
"The government seems knowledge-proof and refuses to accept valid criticism and genuine advice," Mr Chidambaram said today.
"Last year, data on employment was suppressed. Now, data on consumption is being suppressed. This is the right to information practised by the government," he said in an earlier tweet.
Meanwhile, the Congress has called on the government to allow Mr Chidambaram to attend parliament. Ghulam Nabi Azad, Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha, made the statement at a meeting of senior opposition leaders in Delhi last week.