Accusing the ruling BJP of failing to fulfil its pre-electoral promises of reviving the economy and generating employment, Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra today claimed that its policies were instead driving the country down a one-way road to ruination.
"I have seen newspaper advertisements put up by tea estate unions and mill associations that say: 'We are sinking, save us'. Our economy has declined to such an extent that we are now reduced to putting out advertisements to reveal our plight," she said during a visit to Raebareli, her mother and interim Congress president Sonia Gandhi's Lok Sabha constituency in Uttar Pradesh.
Priyanka Gandhi, who happens to be the Congress general secretary for East Uttar Pradesh, had met workers protesting the "privatisation" of the Modern Coach Factory in Raebareli earlier in the day. She also visited the residence of local MLA Aditi Singh, whose father Akhilesh Singh died on August 19, to offer her condolences.
Her brother, former Congress chief Rahul Gandhi, had also launched a scathing attack on the ruling BJP over the state of India's economy this morning. "The Prime Minister and Finance Minister are clueless about how to solve their self-created economic disaster. Stealing from the RBI won't work -- that's like stealing a Band-Aid from the dispensary and sticking it on a gunshot wound," he tweeted, referring to a move by the government to draw a record Rs 1.76 lakh crore payout from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) in order to revive the economy.
The RBI's record payout comes at a time when there are signs of severe stress in several criticial sectors, including housing and manufacturing. Last week, US rating agency Moody's had lowered India's GDP growth forecast for the 2019 calendar year to 6.2 per cent from a previous estimate of 6.8 per cent. The Moody's Investor Service report also cut India's GDP growth rate for 2020 by a similar 0.6 percentage points to 6.7 per cent.
The automobile industry hasn't been doing that well either, with domestic passenger car sales in July plunging by 35.95 per cent to 122,956 units against 191,979 units sold in the same month last year.
The issue of privatising the Modern Coach Factory, a railway coach manufacturing unit at Lalganj in Raebareli, was first raised by Sonia Gandhi in the Lok Sabha on July 1. Claiming that such a move would lead to thousands of employees losing their jobs, she said: "This is against the objectives for which the plant was set up. The real concern is that they have chosen the Modern Coach Factory for the experiment."
Railways Minister Piyush Goyal admitted a day later that the government was indeed moving towards corporatisation of production units, but maintained that it will generate jobs, bring investments and ensure growth. Workers of the factory have been agitating ever since.