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“UPA’s Wrong Economic Policies Are The Reason For Price Rise” —Rajnath Singh

Updated: July 17, 2010 2:09 pm

Former BJP president Rajnath Singh’s simplicity, earnest, pro-active approach and down-to-earth manners have earned him reputation among the party cadres. Mr Singh was in Bhubaneswar recently to lead the BJP’s country-wide protest against fuel price rise. In an exclusive interview with Deepak Kumar Rath, he discusses why inflation is not coming under control. Excerpts:

What do you have to say on the spiralling price rise?

When the Congress alone or the Congress-led alliance forms government at the Centre, price rise issue comes to the centre statge. And the spiralling prices of essential goods are manufactured or created by it; it is not natural and there is no other valid reason for the spiralling prices. Ultimately, the common man bears the brunt and is forced to face a crisis in his daily life. Also the question arises: If price rise is due to global recession, why is it not there in any other countries? Why is price rise in India only? If growth rate is the cause for inflation, then in our neighbouring country China, where the growth rate is very high, why are there no spiralling prices? Why is the rate of inflation continuously increasing in India.

            My perception of increasing inflation is that it is due to the wrong economic policies of the UPA government, corruption and economic mismanagement. There cannot be any other reason for this acute problem and over 50 crore people in our country are forced to live below poverty line.

            In a country, which has such a large number of people living below poverty line, it is very difficult to maintain a peaceful atmosphere. So we can say that poverty is one of the major reasons for the growing Maoist menace and separatist forces in our country.

            Government should also think of a ‘welfare state’, that is expected from any government and it should not be insensitive to these types of serious problems of the society, like poverty. And it is a matter of concern that the Government has de-controlled the prices of petrol.

            For a welfare state, it is the responsibility of the government to make available products at a subsidised price, if it is available in the market at a higher cost. It is the responsibility of the government to take care of the people to live a normal life for a peaceful society. But unfortunately, the UPA government is not concerned for the common man, but is concerned for balance sheet of the petroleum companies so that they should not face deficit. In spite of crude prices hovering around the $40 to $80 mark in the last two years, the UPA government has repeatedly hiked the prices of petroleum products many times. The pro-rich and anti-poor polices have resulted in social upheaval. The BJP would ensure that there is a rollback on the petroleum price hike and would take up the matter in Parliament.

Both Dr Manmohan Singh and Dr Montek Singh Ahluwalia are eminent economists. Still you are alleging that the UPA is doing economic mismanagement. Comment.

See, being a big economist and having a theoretical knowledge on economics do not help one in governing a state or country. One should have practical knowledge of social situations and economic situations to govern a country and practical knowledge comes out of long experiences. Personally, I am not against Dr Singh, Mr Ahluwalia or Mr Pranab Mukherjee. Without any personal attack on any leadership, I found that this UPA government has failed on many fronts. I doubt how much free-hand Dr Manmohan Singh has got to handle the situation. We have raised the issue of inflation many times. And the Congress is repeatedly cheating and punishing the common man and this clearly sends out a message to the common man that the Congress is not worthy of seating in power. The Congress had given assurance to the public for a welfare society but now it’s all in vain.

How do you react to the recent visit of Chidambaram to Pakistan?

The Prime Minister had given assurance in the House that till the culprits of the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack are arrested by Pakistan or till Pakistan extended cooperation in arresting the culprits, India would not start any dialogue with Pakistan. So I failed to understand on what basis India started dialogue with Pakistan and what is the relevance of this type of dialogue. I feel there is huge international pressure from the US to start dialogue with Pakistan. Instead India, in its diplomatic skill, should pursue the US to look after the interest of our country or at least take cognizance of the Indian interest. After the nuclear deal both India and USA are strategic partners. Yet India failed to build international pressure on Pakistan. During the BJP-led regime Atalji had pressurised Pakistan to ban terrorist activities in the border areas and Musharraf had assured India that time to do so.

            Even the close relationship between Pakistan and China has posed a danger not only to the national security of India but to the whole South Asia. Everybody is aware of the fact about Pakistan’s integrity in non-proliferation matters. Also the news that the terrorists of Pakistan have got a reach to the nuclear arms of Pakistan is also a matter of grave concern not only to national security but also to global security.

            In Toronto, our Prime Minister had a detailed discussion with the US President Barack Obama, but Dr Singh did not discuss anything about extradition treaty to bring Anderson to India. Dr Singh should convince and exert pressure on Obama regarding the Bhopal tragedy.

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