National

Pawar says UPA-II is weak in face of scams

‘UPA got another mandate in 2009 LS polls due to trust created by Manmohan'

The United Progressive Alliance's present government had failed to put up a strong front in the face of a spate of scams that changed the public opinion in the country, Union Agriculture Minister and Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar said here on Tuesday.

In an interaction with Marathi daily Loksatta, he said: “Under the leadership of Manmohan Singh, UPA-I created an atmosphere of trust. Therefore, in the 2009 Lok Sabha elections, the UPA got another mandate. However, as a series of scams began, the UPA became mired in controversy. Though there are differences over the exact loss in the 2G scam, the Comptroller and Auditor General's estimate of 1.76 lakh crore loss changed the opinion of the people of the government. In such a scenario, the Central government must be firm. But you don't see that happening. This has led to the judiciary and other systems asserting themselves.”

BJP sees uncertainty

Bharatiya Janata Party Maharashtra leadership was swift to react by alleging uncertainty among the Congress' allies. State BJP spokesperson Madhav Bhandari told The Hindu over telephone that Mr. Pawar was “trying to settle scores with the Prime Minister and Congress.”

He said, “The Congress blamed Mr. Pawar for inflation. He kept mum then, but this is his way of trying to settle scores.” The NCP chief was in the coalition out of “compulsion” and “convenience.”

Development hit

Mr. Pawar also expressed concern over the financial burden brought about by the Food Security Bill. “The yearly subsidy on fuel is Rs. 1.25 lakh crore and Rs. 80,000 crore on food grain. Another Rs. 40,000 crore is spent on the employment guarantee programme. If so much money is spent on subsidies, what will be left for development works?” he said.

India was not able to cash in on the opportunity provided by global recession due to the political scenario. Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar focussed on law and order instead of development. “Mr. Kumar is opposed to new technology in the farm sector,” he said.

Mr. Pawar, however, said Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi's initiative of welcoming newer technologies and experiments were welcome, if they benefited the State.

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Printable version | Feb 28, 2020 5:15:15 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/pawar-says-upaii-is-weak-in-face-of-scams/article2552662.ece

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