Citing ‘unprecedented’ economic crisis faced by the country as a reason, the BJP on Friday petitioned the President Pranab Mukheree to ‘advise’ the government to go for a general election along with election to five assemblies in the next few weeks to end the ‘prevailing uncertainty.’
On a day the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had sharp exchanges with the Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley on the state of the economy, a delegation of the BJP led by L.K. Advani called on the President with a memorandum explaining why the party deems it necessary for Mr. Mukherjee to counsel the government for a snap poll.
Significantly the memorandum takes serious exception to the reported comments made by the Finance Minister P. Chidambaram passing the buck to his predecessor (who is now the President) and charged that Mr. Chidambaram has crossed `limit of irresponsibility.’
Emerging from the Rashtrapathi Bhawan after handing over the memorandum to the President Mr. Advani said Mr. Chidambaram was blaming Mr. Mukherjee, who was his predecessor before being elected President, for the mess in which the country's economy was.
“If the country is rid of the present government and people are given a fresh opportunity to elect a new government it would be in the best interest of the country,” he said.
Mr. Advani said the BJP was aware that the government was unlikely to listen to the President if asked to hold early polls but they would be under public pressure if Mr. Mukherjee made the move.
“The country can ill-afford at this moment of crisis a government which is paralysed, a Prime Minister who never speaks, a Finance Minister who wrongly blames his immediate predecessor who is unable to defend himself, a supreme leader who does not care about where the money will come from and a bureaucracy which is frozen and unable to act.
“The Ministers of this government are unbridled and working at cross-purposes. The relationship of the government of India with the State governments, specially the non-UPA ruled States and with the opposition parties, is at its nadir. We have come to urge you, therefore, to end the prevailing uncertainty by advising this government to seek a fresh mandate at the earliest and not later than the State Assembly elections due in the next three months,” the memorandum said.
It maintained that the fundamentals of the Indian economy have been ruined during the tenure of Mr. Chidambaram who held the Finance portfolio. Mr. Chidambaram moved to the Home Ministry after the November 2008 Mumbai attacks and Mr. Mukherjee moved to the Finance Ministry.
“The Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management Act was thrown out of the window in 2008-09. The fiscal deficit of the government was allowed to rise exponentially in that year by the then Finance Minister who also happens to be the Finance Minister today from 2.5% of the GDP in 2007-08 to 6 percent of the GDP and the revenue deficit from 1.1 percent to 4.5 percent.
“This splurge in expenditure in 2008-09, most of which was consumption expenditure and not investment expenditure is wholly responsible for the present crisis. Fiscal deficit and revenue deficit have stayed at unsustainable levels year after year since then,” the memorandum claimed.