With just five days to go before the Karnataka polls, former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh slammed the Narendra Modi-led government over the lack of employment opportunities, the economic slowdown and the rise in petrol prices, despite the slump in international crude oil prices, at a press conference at the Karnataka Pradesh Congress office in Bengaluru.
"International crude oil prices have declined to 67%. In India, petrol and diesel prices have on average increased by 110%. Through constant increase in taxes, and at the cost of the common man, the BJP government is projected to have earned over Rs 10 lakh crore," he said.
Another case of economic mismanagement in the Modi government the ex-PM listed out was in the banking sector.
The proportion of gross non-performing assets has tripled since the UPA, he said.
Referring to the preventable problem of shortage of cash in several cities, Manmohan said, "Economic management of the Modi government is eroding the trust of the general public in the banking system."
Regarding financial distress among farmers, the ex-PM brushed aside the Modi government's promise to double farmers' incomes by 2020 as "wishful thinking."
"In four years, PM Modi has reversed the growth of the economy, agriculture export has come down under BJP govt. How does he seek to double the income of farmers? PM does not mention role of economist in liberalisation between ’91-’96.”
"Demonetisation and the hasty implementation of GST dealt a blow to the rural economy and to the common man," he said.
Hitting out on the issue of PNB scam, he said, “PM Modi has not held a press conference in the last four years. This is sorry state of affairs. It's easy to blame the Congress. As far as Nirav Modi is concerned, it is obvious that it happened in 2016.”
“In fact, the PM was in Davos in the company of Nirav Modi and, only a few days later, he ran away from the country. That itself is the reflection of sad state of affairs in this wonderland of Modi government," he added.
Adding to this, he also stated, "Fraud in the banking sector has almost quadrupled from Rs 38,416 crore in September 2013 to Rs 1.11 lakh crore in September 2017."
Regarding the issue of communal polarization, Manmohan said, “I am sorry the way the population is polarised. The PM has stooped so low ... No Prime Minister in our country has used the Office of the Prime Minister to say things about his opponent that Mr Modi has been doing day in and day out. It doesn't behove a Prime Minister to stoop so low and it is not good for the country as a whole as well.”
Praising the performance of Karnataka CM Siddaramaiah, Manmohan said, "The country can only progress with sustainable growth. CM Siddaramaiah’s Karnataka has shown the way by providing dynamic, development oriented and progressive leadership. I appeal to the people to strengthen Congress with their support.”
The ex-PM also stated that the “results of Karnataka elections will have impact on 2019 elections. Modi government is painting a rosy picture of the government.”