NDA was a duck that laid no eggs : Congress

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New Delhi, May 23 (UNI) The Congress today came down heavily on the Opposition BJP for describing Dr Manmohan Singh as a "lameduck Prime Minister", and said the NDA was "a duck that laid no eggs".

"The NDA government was a big zero during the six years of its rule," AICC Spokesman Abishek Manu Singhvi told mediapersons, while listing out the achievements of the UPA government in the past four years.

He said the UPA government had substantially implemented the Common Minimum Programme (CMP)) in letter and spirit and whatever little remained was under active focus for implementation. "We don't have a magic wand, but the magic is working without a wand." Dr Singhvi asked why did the NDA not think about the kind of revolutionary and innovative schemes implemented under the UPA rule.

In this context, he cited the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, Bharat Nirman, National Rural Health Mission and the Urban Renewal Mission and social initiatives like the Domestic Violence Act "which changed the social mindset in six years." Dr Singhvi said the approach of the BJP was divisive while that of the UPA was inclusive.

"The NDA is an opportunistic political coalition which played no meaningful role in the freedom struggle and does not understand the rainbow diversity of India," he said.

He said the Centre had disproved the predictions of the BJP that the UPA was a weak coalition and it would not last. "They repeatedly painted doomsday scenario." On the BJP allegation that the UPA government was soft on terror, Dr Singhvi said "it was they who weakened the nation and national resolve to fight terrorism." They had also undermined the national consensus against terrorism by attacking the Prime Minister after the Jaipur blast.

Asked if Dr Singh would be the UPA's Prime Ministerial candidate in the next elections as an appreciation of the achievements of his government, Dr Singhvi said, "We are not obliged to the BJP. We don't prepare our policies on the basis of diktats of the BJP. We don't declare our Prime Minister candidate in advance as in the case of the BJP which suffers from insecurity pangs.'' When a scribe wanted to know if its inability to push through the Indo-US Nuclear deal was a failure of the government, he said "The whole country knows...The Congress and the UPA stood rock-steady behind the unprecedented negotiations." On the participation of the Samajwadi Party leaders in the dinner hosted by the Prime Minister on the occasion of the UPA's fourth anniversary last night, Dr Singhvi said leaders from wide political spectrum were present there. "It shows the strength and diversity of the UPA." Asked about the move to increase oil prices, he said it was true that international petroleum prices had gone up substantially. "The government is facing a difficult task. I believe some ways are being found. Let them work out a via media." UNI SH SB HT1928

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