Gandhinagar, Dec 8: The new avatar of former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who has recently developed a flair for public speaking, is really a delight to watch for. The former PM during his rule at the Centre from 2004-2014 was severely criticised for speaking less on important issues pertaining to the nation.
He was called as 'Maun'mohan Singh by none other than his successor PM Narendra Modi. In Hindi, "maun" stands for silence.
Probably, Modi and his teammates should not have insisted Singh to speak up, as he has decided to do so now in order to attack the Modi government at the Centre. Singh on a frequent basis is targetting the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government at the Centre for its failure on the economic front.
As the economy is Singh's first love, he has been sharp, to the point and accurate in all his criticisms against the BJP government on the demonetisation and the Goods and Services Tax (GST).
In the recent times, we have seen Singh attending meetings in poll-bound Gujarat and targetting the Modi government for its failure on various fronts. Gujarat will vote for the first phase of Assembly elections on Saturday. The second and final phase of Gujarat polls is scheduled on December 14.
On Thursday, during his visit to Rajkot, the noted economist explained in details why the much-touted "Gujarat model of development" is a failure.
The former Reserve Bank of India (RBI) governor said that the people of Gujarat have seen through the "lies" propagated by the BJP during its 22-year-rule in the state, and took a dig at the ruling party over the "Gujarat model of development", saying it only benefited the top one percent of society.
He added the "achhe din (good days)" promise made by the BJP was "nowhere to be seen". "Twenty two years is a long time, and now the results are there for all of us to see. The Gujarat model of the BJP has only benefited the top one percent of the society," he said.
Singh claimed Gujaratis have seen through the lies and the BJP's "Gujarat model" was being openly challenged on the streets of the state.
"Every community and class, except a few rich businessmen, are raising their voice against the inequality and injustice of the Gujarat model as operationalised by the BJP over the last 22 years," he said.
He said that in many critical areas of human development, Gujarat has "regressed in the last 22 years".
"On every social indicator, it has fallen behind states including Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu," he said, noting that if the Congress formed the government in Gujarat, it would change this.
"The Congress party has a vision for the people of Gujarat," he said. Singh also attacked Modi over the demonetisation and GST rollout, saying, "Modiji has betrayed the trust that the people of Gujarat had reposed in him."
The Congress leader also demanded that the Centre should release relevant documents and files relating to note ban. "We must demand that the government release all the relevant documents and files related to demonetisation in the public domain and Parliament for security. We must avoid the repetition of such blunders in the future. India cannot afford such mistakes," he said.
He said the note ban and GST have damaged the economy and caused a loss to the GDP, even as China benefited with 23 percent year-on-year increase in India's import from China in FY 2017-18.
On the Ayodhya issue, Singh refused to comment saying that it would be inappropriate for him to discuss the matter as it was sub judice.
"The issue is in the Supreme Court and I feel that it is not appropriate to discuss it. We (the Congress) will accept whatever verdict the court pronounces on the matter," he said.
He also welcomed Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi's nomination for the top party post and expressed confidence in him saying that he would take the Congress to newer heights.
The Congress veteran also slammed the Modi government for "not taking any action to curb corruption". "It should take action, just like the Congress-led UPA government had taken," he said.
On the Centre's Jammu and Kashmir policy, Singh said that he was not aware of the government has achieved anything on the issue.
A Congress leader from Gujarat on condition of anonymity said that Singh should have spoken during his term as the PM too.
"It would have helped him and the Congress a lot. He is a brilliant man and an apt administrator, but he failed to take his work to the voters because of which the Congress lost badly during the 2014 Lok Sabha elections," he added.