Modi first PM to ‘lower dignity’ of public discourse, says former PM Manmohan Singh

Singh asserted that only Congress can ensure a growth-oriented progressive future where democracy and the Constitution will be safeguarded.

ByPTI

Published May 31, 2024 | 10:51 AMUpdatedMay 31, 2024 | 10:51 AM

Manmohan Singh.

In a scathing attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, his predecessor Manmohan Singh on Thursday, 30 May, accused him of lowering the dignity of public discourse and the gravity of the office of the prime minister by giving “hateful speeches” during the poll campaign.

In an appeal to voters of Punjab ahead of the seventh phase of Lok Sabha polls on 1 June, Singh asserted that only the Congress can ensure a growth-oriented progressive future where democracy and the Constitution will be safeguarded.

The senior Congress leader also hit out at the BJP government for imposing an “ill-conceived” Agnipath scheme on the armed forces, which he termed as a threat to national security.

“The BJP thinks that the value of patriotism, bravery and service is only four years. This shows their fake nationalism,” he said in a letter to voters of Punjab.

The letter was released by Congress leader Pawan Khera at a press conference in Chandigarh. Khera said there is a pain in the words of Singh as all the good work done during his tenure is being destroyed now.

Singh said those who trained for regular recruitment were woefully betrayed by the outgoing regime.

Also Read: Congress made election about ‘rich vs poor’: KC Venugopal

‘Will abolish Agniveer scheme’

“The youth of Punjab, the son of the farmer, who dreams of serving the motherland through the Armed Forces, is now thinking twice about getting recruited only for a 4-year stint. Agniveer scheme endangers national security. Congress party has therefore promised to abolish the Agniveer scheme,” he said.

Mounting an attack on Modi, Singh said, “I have been keenly following the political discourse during this election campaign. Modi ji has indulged in the most vicious form of hate speeches, which are purely divisive in nature. Modi ji is the first prime minister to lower the dignity of public discourse, and thereby the gravity of the office of the prime minister.

“No prime minister in the past has uttered such hateful, unparliamentary and coarse terms, meant to target either a specific section of the society or the opposition. He has also attributed some false statements to me. I have never in my life singled out one community from the other. That is the sole copyright of the BJP,” the former prime minister said.

“People of India are seeing through all of this. This narrative of dehumanization has now reached its peak. It is now our duty to save our beloved nation from these forces of discord.

“I appeal to each one of you to give love, peace, fraternity, and harmony a chance in India. I appeal to each voter in Punjab to vote for development and inclusive progress. I appeal to all young minds to exercise caution and vote for a brighter future. Only Congress can ensure a growth-oriented progressive future, where democracy and the Constitution shall be safeguarded,” Singh said.

Modi had accused Singh of saying that Muslims have the first right to the country’s resources.

Singh said the people of India are seeing through all of this.

‘Our duty to save our nation’

“This narrative of dehumanisation has now reached its peak. It is now our duty to save our beloved nation from these forces of discord,” he said in the letter.

The former prime minister noted that India is standing at a crucial juncture and in the last phase of voting, “we have one final chance to ensure that Democracy and our Constitution is protected from the repeated assaults of a despotic regime, trying to unleash dictatorship in India.”

Lauding Punjabis as warriors, he said they are known for their spirit of sacrifice and indomitable courage and innate belief in the democratic ethos of inclusiveness, harmony, amity, and brotherhood can protect our great nation.

“In the past ten years, the BJP government has left no stone unturned in castigating Punjab, Punjabis and Punjabiyat. 750 farmers, mostly belonging to Punjab, were martyred while incessantly waiting at Delhi borders, for months together. As if the lathis and the rubber bullets were not enough, none less than the Prime Minister verbally assaulted our farmers by calling them ‘Andolanjeevis’ and ‘Parjeevi’ (Parasites) on the floor of the Parliament. Their only demand was the withdrawal of the three farm laws imposed on them without consulting them,” he said.

Also Read: Congress placed new vision for country before people, says Rahul Gandhi

‘Eroded earnings of farmers’

Noting that Modi had promised to double the income of our farmers by 2022, Singh said his policies in the last ten years have eroded the earnings of our farmers and the national average monthly income of farmers is a meagre ₹27 rupees per day, while average debt per farmer is ₹27,000 (NSSO).

Singh said in the past 10 years, the nation’s economy has witnessed “unimaginable turmoil” and the “imposition of the demonetisation disaster, a flawed GST, and the painful mismanagement during the COVID pandemic has resulted in a miserable situation, where an expectation of a subpar 6-7 percent GDP growth has become the new normal”.

He said that average GDP growth under the BJP government has plunged to under 6 percent, while during the Congress-UPA tenure, it was about 8 percent (under the new series).

“Unprecedented unemployment and unbridled inflation have greatly widened inequality, which is now at a 100-year high. While the Congress-UPA, despite challenges, increased the purchasing power of our people, the misrule of the BJP Government has resulted in the depletion of household savings to a historic 47-year low.”

He also claimed that rural wages have witnessed a systematic fall, and wage disparity has led to widespread distress, while the youth is the most neglected section of society under the present dispensation.

“Innumerable paper leaks have cast a dark shadow on their future, even as they are forced to wait for recruitment for years,” he said, while listing out the Congress guarantees.

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