Looking to convince people that their high expectations would be met by the NDA government, Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Thursday held a meeting with BJP spokespersons and television panelists to put across the Centre’s initiatives to counter the burning issue of inflation.
A communication gap had formed between the Centre and BJP, while Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s sweeping mandate had people hoping for quick deliverance from the UPA government’s failures.
With opposition parties trying to build the perception that the Modi government was still in “campaign mode”, Jaitley sought to oil the the BJP’s public relations machinery and impress upon common people, who are sweating under unrelenting summer, food inflation and failing monsoon, that it was committed to easing their burdens.
Jaitley held a meeting with Union ministers Ravi Shankar Prasad and Jitendra Singh, besides party spokespersons MJ Akbar, Abhimanyu, Sonkar Shastri, Meenakshi Lekhi and Nalin Kohli.
On the topic of inflation, Jaitley informed the party that the government had dumped 50 lakh metric tonne of rice, de-regulated fruit and vegetables from an Act that binds them from selling it to select markets. The states were told to initiate steps against hoarders of food items to contain a check on rising prices.
The finance minister also said that the NDA government had inherited a sagging economy, burdened with a voluminous fiscal deficit. He also conveyed to the party the government’s negotiations on freeing the 40 Indian hostages held in Iraq.
The exercise was meant to display that the NDA was more proactive in targeting problem areas as compared to the UPA.
In a bid to bridge the gap between the public, BJP and the Centre, Jaitley has worked out a mechanism to have regular meetings with spokespersons and TV panelists so that they may engage in an informed debate on pro-people issues.
Other ministers would also be involved in briefing the party publicity division so that cadres, too, are informed on government decisions.