PM, Rahul go on offensive

Decisions taken in 1991 yielded results

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi on Sunday strongly pitched for economic reforms, especially FDI in various sectors and blamed opposition parties for misleading people on the issue.

Addressing a huge rally at the Ramlila Maidan in the national capital, called by the Congress to counter opposition parties and activists, the Prime Minister said India needs reforms for economic growth.

At the rally, which was attended by thousands of Congress workers, Singh said the decision to allow foreign investors and increase diesel prices were aimed at ushering in faster economic reforms that “will help the country to progress and earn more money to launch welfare schemes for the poor.”

Singh asserted: “FDI will open new job avenues. Those who are saying that it will harm small traders are wrong and they are misleading people”.

He stressed that “this is not for the first time that FDI is being allowed. In 1991 we took important decisions related to FDI, which yielded good results and everyone can see it.”

Speaking on the issue of corruption, Singh apparently targeted IAC activists and said the corrupt should be punished, but in the name of fighting graft we should not create an atmosphere where it becomes difficult for officers to take important decisions.

‘FDI will help poor’

Backing the UPA government’s decision on economic reforms and FDI, Rahul said it will benefit farmers, who are the backbone of our economy. “If the poor have to progress, then FDI is needed, the economic reforms are needed,” he said.

Meanwhile, Gandhi blamed the BJP for trying to allow FDI without safeguards, when the NDA were in power.

“It was the BJP, which first talked of FDI. They were weak- hearted. We are strong-hearted. So we did. But when we did it, they said no to it in Parliament,” the Congress general secretary said. “At a time when there is a positive atmosphere for the country and India has a standing in the world, the Opposition is engaged in opposing every measure of the government without giving it a thought,” said Rahul and reminded the BJP that the Congress had backed the then NDA government on the Kargil conflict, when the party was in the  opposition.

Rahul credited the UPA government in its fight against graft and said: “Opposition talks of corruption, we brought RTI, which is helping to reveal corruption. We are committed to Lokpal, which was opposed by the BJP in the Rajya Sabha.”

Appealing to the youth to join politics, Rahul said, “There is a need to change the system and this cannot be done until we open our doors to the youth.”

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